HGTV, DIY host Chris Lambton crashes Austin Home & Garden Show with tips –

August 22, 2016 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Uncategorized

A landscaping client submitted Chris Lambton’s photo to the ABC show “The Bachelorette.” That one act changed the life of the HGTV and DIY Network host.

His client had been asking why Lambton hadn’t found the right girl. And then she took his picture.

A month later, he started getting calls from the show. His first reaction: “Oh, God, no. I don’t want to do this.” But soon his thoughts turned to, “OK, I’ll give it a shot.”

“That was the best decision in my life,” he says. “It led me to finding my wife. I landed my dream job.”

The people in HGTV offices were watching “The Bachelorette,” and they began calling the landscaper, which turned into his work on DIY Network’s “Yard Crashers” and HGTV’s “Going Yard.”

Friends from his “The Bachelorette” experience also connected Lambton to his now wife, Peyton, who was a contestant on “The Bachelor” in 2007. They were married in 2012 and are expecting a baby in November.

Lambton, 39, who lives on Cape Cod, will be in Austin this weekend for the Austin Fall Home & Garden Show. He’s not a stranger to Austin, though. He’s filmed “Yard Crashers” episodes in Austin and worked on the 2015 HGTV Smart Home built here. He’s looking forward to seeing live music and eating Tex-Mex, especially queso, and barbecue from the Salt Lick and Franklin Barbecue.

At the Home & Garden Show, he’ll offer ideas for taking what you see on “Yard Crashers” and creating your own “TV-worthy backyard.” The difference, of course, is that it won’t be a $35,000 yard paid for by the show.

One of the biggest questions he gets asked is “Can you crash my yard?” Surprisingly, no. Despite what you might hear about home improvement TV shows being set up, Lambton says he really does go to stores and approach random people to crash their yards. “We try to do it as realistically as possible,” he says. “… We don’t set anything up. … That to me is the most fun part.”

When “Yard Crashers” came to Austin, Lambton’s goal was to find a cowboy. He found a man wearing a cowboy hat and a University of Texas Longhorns shirt. “Please tell me your backyard is terrible,” he asked. It was, and an episode of “Yard Crashers” was made.

Sometimes people are not buying what he’s selling. “People think it’s a scam and run away from me,” he says.

When Lambton is not shooting “Yard Crashers,” he’s a real-life landscaper who followed in his father’s footsteps. Growing up, he and his brothers always worked during the summer with their father. “My first garden was when I was 7 and growing tomatoes in the backyard,” he says. “I always loved being in the backyard and getting my hands dirty.”

After graduating from Providence College, he taught and coached basketball at a New York City high school but decided in 2007 to head home to Cape Cod and join the family business.

When we talked to him last week, he was doing a patio and water feature for a client. The biggest difference between what he calls “in real life landscaping” and “Yard Crashers” is that the show is done in two days. The patio and water features will take him three weeks. “It’s a slower pace,” he says. “I don’t have the cameras in my face. I can listen to music. It’s much different.”

Right now, Lambton says the biggest trend in backyards is creating spaces for people to live in. A lot of his friends are buying their first houses, he says, and first houses are not usually people’s dream homes. First homes tend to be 1,500 square feet to 1,800 square feet. That means people need more space, and the natural solution is to build decks and outdoor living rooms. “It’s a place to entertain friends and to have a place for kids to run around,” he says.

What he wants homeowners to stop doing is using dyed mulch. He tried it out. “It dyed my hands, it dyed the truck,” he says. “Use regular much. Dyed mulch doesn’t look good, and that dye can’t be good for you.”

He also encourages homeowners to plant what grows where they live. “I love hydrangeas in Cape Cod, but you’re not going to get hydrangeas in Austin,” he says.

Instead, Central Texans can use a lot of succulents and native, drought-tolerant plants. The cool thing about doing “Yard Crashers” is he gets to travel around and work with plants that he wouldn’t use on Cape Cod.

He also wants homeowners to ask a lot of questions of their contractors, check out their work and get references. He’d love for homeowners to ask about what kind of insurance a contractor has. It’s something Lambton spends a lot on and uses. After all, he’s cut himself plenty of times and stepped on a nail that went through his foot. Yard crashing has its hazards.

Lambton’s hardest project to date is his own backyard. He’s drawn the plans for it about a dozen times, but each time he works in someone else’s yard, he gets a new idea and changes those plans. “There’s always things I want to steal and put in my yard,” he says. “It’s hard to pack everything in it.”