HGTV has two shows that I always try to catch, The City Gardener and Urban Outsiders. Both of these shows are hosted by a British guy named Matt James. What I love about his shows is that he always takes a decidedly modern approach and aesthetic to his garden solutions. Both shows center around urban/suburban yards and the results are consistently inspiring. The City Gardener, is an import from the UK (all the homes featured are in London.) While watching these episodes, in the back of my mind, there was always that "Why does the UK always get the good stuff!?" but then came Urban Outsiders. Urban Outsiders found Matt James coming stateside and tackling small gardens in our very own Los Angeles area and some in New York. This series ran last fall, and one of the episodes was actually shot very close to me, here in Orange County, which is shown below.
The yard in question was a typical small rectangular one that you find in a majority of new developments. They called it a "mud pit." Matt James provided a great solution by adding pavers on a diagonal, which created a visual pathway and made the space feel larger. It also created little resting areas to place a barbeque and a small bench. Read more about the whole process with slideshow here.
Unfortunately, it looks like HGTV might have pulled both shows from its current lineup, but I found that the website still has archived summaries of all the episodes, with accompanying photos of the before and after. The City Gardener series is here. And Urban Outsiders is here. It looks like they still are broadcasting episodes of both shows, but only once a week and at odd times, so probably wise to just set your Tivo. Also: One of the homeowners who had their home on the show blogged about the whole experience. It's a lot of fun to see how it all went down from an insiders point of view. Read about the entire process here. Has anyone ever seen this show? All images from HGTV.com