GARDENS MISSION, US STYLE
Jamie Durie is ready for a rumble in the jungle. The 45-year-old landscape designer has been tasked with fixing some of America’s most rundown back yards, and that spells danger.
Outback Nation is Backyard Blitz on steroids. We’re talking alligators, rattlesnakes, and, in one priceless scene, a skunk.
Durie’s list of injuries as he hacked through neglected bush around family homes with his machete included broken fingers, a fractured shoulder and fractured ribs.
“It’s definitely the most dangerous show I’ve ever worked on,” Durie says. “These gardens have all been neglected for a decade or two.”
It is Durie’s job to work with families to clear away the mess and design and build new outdoor areas. Families camp out in their own back yard to gain a better understanding of the task ahead.
Often, Durie is helping these families heal in some way. The Renshaws, from California, have money troubles. Dad Jon’s job at a printer is in jeopardy. Mum Christine is working three jobs. With two teenage daughters to raise, the back yard is the last thing on their mind.
“If you scratch the surface there has usually been some sort of trauma or turmoil within the family that has led them to neglect their gardens,” Durie says.
“The idea is that they have to face their fears and then learn to fall in love with their own back yard again.
“It is an educational process. I want them to know where the sun rises and where it falls. I also want them to know where the best areas are in their garden to hang out.
“Generally speaking they were happy to let me do what I want ... They’re more than overjoyed to see me when their back yards are in those states.”
Durie’s makeovers include everything from an artist retreat to a cabana, mini golf course, day bed and vertical garden.