A&E premiers its newest series "Fix This Yard," where homeowners are confronted by their friends, family and neighbors about the way their home looks in the neighborhood. Hosts Amy Devers and Alan Luxmore help these homeowners give their yard a make over in one weekend.
The idea behind 'Fix this yard' is not a new one; it uses a proven formula already used by several other shows.
The premise goes like this: In this show, neighbors and/or family members apply for the homeowners whose backyard needs fixing. The show's hosts interview everyone in the neighborhood, including the mailman, about what they think of the unkempt backyard. This is my first negative point: This seems really awkward, as these people, while having the right to their opinion, seem like they're not minding their own business. This sets the tone for the whole episode. -- MEETING THE HOMEOWNERS The hosts then go meet with the homeowners. This is where it gets weird: They ask the homeowners to fork over huge amounts of money, in the thousands mark (6000 thousand on average in the shows I've watched). The problem is this: These homeowners are not trying to sell their house. Often, it's the neighbors who want to raise the value of their house, or will use the update to help sell their own house. So basically, these homeowners are asked to spend huge amounts of money to please their neighbors, and help raise these neighbors' houses' values. To convince the homeowners to invest such a big amount of money (that they probably don't have lying around - more debts), they dangle the big raise in value their property will get from their investment in front of their face like a carrot. --THE NEW YARD They fix the yard on a short period of time, sometimes repainting the house or repaving the driveway as well. The end result is often very underwhelming: Some grass, some small plants here and there. Nothing like something you'd see in a landscaping magazine. --THE END RESULT To make the homeowners feel better about their breand-new debts, they give them the new value of their property. It is typically increased in 30% value. While being no expert, this feels overly optimistic, especially in today's market. And the catch: While homeowners are asked to spend all that money, the budget sometimes inflates to three times the initial amount. For example, one couple had an estimate of 5000$, but ended up paying 14000$. The yard was very small, and so was the house. It was a lot nicer in the end, but mostly because of the accessories, cleaner patio, and a new porch. --LASTING IMPRESSION I cringe just thinking about some of the shows I've watched. It seems like it's all about the neighbors, and I can't help but wonder if the relationship between the homeowners and neighbors will go down the toilet once the show is done (their relationship already appears strained and forced on the show itself). This makes the viewer uneasy throughout. Other shows like 'Sell this house' use the formula way more efficiently: A complete cosmetic overhaul of the house's interior, for an incredibly low price, and the results are often amazing. And of course, it's the homeowners' choice to be on the show, not someone else's. In this respect, 'Fix this yard' is more like a junkie's intervention - a more negative, difficult experience. The viewer will also learn very little from watching the show. Final score: 4/10.moreless