Sure, I'm sometimes hard on HgTV – the lower-case G reflects their disappearing gardening content – but truth to tell, I'm still watching. And lately I've explored some of the home improvement shows that get videotaped after my gardening shows on Sunday morning (hi, Paul!), and it turns out they have plenty of episodes about outdoor and in-the-garden projects, and some of it's downright watchable.
My first discovery was a show called Don't Sweat It starring Steve Watson, on the left in the photo. He's so damn natural and believable as a carpenter I feel like I've hired him and my project is in very good hands. He actually has a remodeling business in Los Angeles, where he's also been a struggling actor for many years. But don't worry – he's no pretty boy spokesmodel like some of them. You know, the ones who call plants "greenery" or refer to "trees and plants".
But with Steve at the helm I was fascinated by the projects and even learned a thing or two. Here's a selection of his outdoor episodes:
- Flagstone Walkway and Trellis Gate
- Building a Horizontal Plank Fence
- Floating Decks and Flagstone Walkway
- Installing Rain Chains
Another show I'm surprising myself by actually recommending is Carter Can with Carter Oosterhouse. That's Carter with the bare, hairy chest. I can't really remember what his show was about but I know I enjoyed watching him it.
Alas, the final fix-it show gets a big ole thumb's down, no matter if the star was one of People Magazine's "Sexiest Men Alive!" That would be Over Your Head with bottle blond Eric Stromer. My notes say, verbatim: "Stupid. Lots of high 5s and 'Awesome!' Ugly designs."
Well, it's basic cable, after all, and two out of three is better than the networks do.