North Texas properties featured on Desperate Landscapes show

Posted Wednesday, Apr. 09, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

Desperate Landscapes

• 9 p.m. Wednesday

• DIY Network

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Jason Cameron, host of Desperate Landscapes, says he wishes he could travel through time.

If he had that ability, he would go back and save homeowners a lot of grief by preventing them from making some exceptionally bad design decisions.

“Usually people have good intentions,” Cameron says. “But I would love to be able to talk them out of the poor choices before it’s too late.”

The popular reality/home repair show, a staple on DIY Network, recently rolled through North Texas to perform a few one-day makeover miracles on local structures. One of the Desperate Landscapes disasters encountered, a mid-century modern home in Dallas’ White Rock Valley neighborhood, is featured in the season premiere at 9 p.m. Wednesday. Center stage is the home’s entrance, which, for mystifying reasons, previous owners had hidden behind an uninviting brick wall.

“With mid-century modern design, it’s all about an open floor plan and spacious areas,” Cameron says. “But this particular house felt more like it was a fortress.”

Or the Alamo.

“It felt like it was blocked off from everybody else,” he adds. “That wall needed to go.”

The area was so ugly that the homeowners’ guests appeared in the episode wearing paper bags on their heads to protect their anonymity. Soon after, Cameron & Co. arrived to give the house the Jericho treatment.

It’s remarkable how quickly a property can be improved by one major change. Once that wall went down, the facelift was completed with a composite deck and strategically-arranged furniture, artwork and plants plus a water feature. Suddenly, the eyesore became a showplace.

Cameron and his team also visited the Fort Worth Stockyards to create a new entrance for the educational center and pen.

That episode isn’t on the DIY schedule yet, but it will air later this season.

Says Cameron: “Without giving too much away about that one, the Stockyards was a situation where there’s a lot of history and they get a lot of visitors, a lot of tourists, a lot of classrooms coming through. There’s a lot of foot traffic, but they had no nice entrance. People were walking through where the cattle had walked — and walking through what the cattle left behind. So we helped them out.”

Cameron used reclaimed brick to create a new walkway with a basket-weave pattern, then spruced up the landscape with native cacti, grasses and shrubs.

A carpenter and licensed contractor, Cameron is no stranger to North Texas. In April 2012, he came to Arlington with the team from a different DIY show, Man Caves, to remodel Casey’s Corner, an upper-level suite in right field at Rangers Ballpark (now Globe Life Park).

With every home fix-it show he does, Cameron says he has two goals.

“No. 1, we want to entertain people,” he says. “But ultimately we hope to inspire people. And we try to provide some insight and information so they can take on a project themselves. That’s why we try hard to walk people through the process, to show everyone the right from the wrong way.

“If someone watches one of the shows and says, ‘I’ve got an idea how I can use that in my own landscape,’ that’s what it’s all about for me.”

On rare occasions, Cameron has returned to past Desperate Landscapes sites to see what became of the property over the years.

“In fact, we actually made an episode out of that one time,” he says. “One of the properties reverted back to what it was before we got there. The owners had dogs, if I remember correctly, and they let the dogs go crazy and destroy everything.

“But most of the owners did a good job maintaining everything. I was pleasantly surprised by that, because you can’t be sure what will happen. We always tell people, it will look amazing when we leave, but it can’t be zero maintenance. You still have to do a little work to keep it nice.”

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