Want to make more of your outdoor spaces? Landscaper and home improvement TV star Chris Lambton will be in the Twin Cities next weekend to offer ideas and insights at the St. Paul Home & Patio Show.
Lambton, a former runner-up on “The Bachelorette,” learned his yard skills working alongside his father, who started a landscape business in the early ’90s. The TV personality still works for the family company in his hometown of Dennis, Mass., but he’s also hosted and appeared on the DIY Network shows “Lawn & Order and “Yard Crashers,” as well as HGTV shows, including “Going Yard” with his wife, Peyton, an interior designer. “I try to bounce real-life landscaping here on Cape Cod with TV landscaping, where I fly around the country. So it’s kind of a fun mix,” he said. We talked with Lambton about his next TV venture, his recent foray into local politics and his surprising advice for how to add curb appeal to your home:
Q: How did you go from “The Bachelorette” to the DIY Network and HGTV?
A: When I was on “The Bachelorette,” they say your name and your occupation. So they said that I’m a landscaper, and people at the HGTV office watch “The Bachelorette,” just like I guess a lot of people do, and they saw that I was a landscaper and they asked me to come in for an interview.
Q: How did you end up on “The Bachelorette” in the first place?
A: “The Bachelorette” is something I never thought I’d go on. It was through a landscaping client and someone who thought I’d be good on it and should take a chance in my life. And I’m very thankful I did because it led to me finding my wife, Peyton, and to getting a few different shows on HGTV and the DIY Network.
Q: What shows are you working on now?
A: The first show I did was “Going Yard,” with my wife, and that was here on Cape Cod. So we did a few seasons of that. And then from “Going Yard,” which worked on front yards, backyards ... general landscaping makeovers, to “Yard Crashers,” which was all backyards and taped all over the country. … From there I went to “Lawn & Order,” which focused on curb appeal. And now my wife and I are working on a show together called “Inside Out,” where we’re blurring the line between inside and outside.
Q: Where will you pitch that show?
A: Right now we’re pitching to Magnolia network, which is going to be the reincarnation of the DIY Network.
Q: How would “Inside Out” be different from your previous shows?
A: My strength is outdoor landscaping, hardscaping, making your outdoors an extension of your indoors. Peyton, her passion and her forte is turning the inside of a house into a beautiful home. ... The main point of that show is, if you utilize your backyard, and make it accessible and flow from your house, you can double the size of your living and entertaining area because most people’s yards are twice the size of their house. And if you can make the backyard an extension of your house, it’s a great way to entertain.
Q: What’s the best way to add curb appeal to a home?
A: The answer may surprise you, but the best way is actually the most inexpensive way, and that is just by edging the beds in your front yard and then putting 4 to 6 inches of mulch down. Mulch is such a great finishing touch in a front yard, and it can clean it up so well.
Q: What will you be presenting at the Home & Patio Show?
A: I talk a lot about what I’ve learned from TV. I show some “before” and “after” [photos] and give some takeaways from what I’ve learned working in these people’s yards. And then what you as an audience member can take from these yards and bring into your own backyard.
Q: What landscape projects are good for DIYers, and what’s better left to professionals?
A: No. 1, if you’re doing any type of electrical, like putting in landscape lighting, leave that to an electrician. I don’t play with electricity, and I don’t recommend homeowners do. If you are going to be doing a lot of digging, always make sure you call first. [In Minnesota, homeowners are advised to call Gopher State One Call, 1-800-252-1166]. But as far as what a homeowner can do to save money, buying and planting your own plants is a great way to do it. Mulching, again, is another easy thing that a homeowner can do.
Q: Last year you ran for and won election as a selectman in Dennis. Why did you decide to do that?
A: I’m the only one on the board with young children. I’m the only one on the board that was born and raised in this town. And I just think that it’s important to have that next generation be represented in local government because local government is where most of the important decisions are made.
Q: What questions do you get asked a lot?
A: One of the big questions, especially in a climate like Minnesota’s, in which you have the four seasons, is that people want to know what to plant in their yard. … You can get color year-round, and that’s the most important thing that people overlook. You can still plant things that give you life in the backyard [in winter], whether it be a blue spruce or an American holly with red berries.
Imani Cruzen is a Minneapolis freelance writer.