GAR­DENS MIS­SION, US STYLE

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY TV -

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.

Jamie Durie.

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