An open letter to: DIY Network, Desperate Landscapes, Jason Cameron

By Allyn Paul, filed under Observations.

I am a fan of home improvement TV, but DIY Network’s “Desperate Landscapes,” hosted by pretty boy, Jason Cameron, is pile of misleading crap that only masks an underlying problem.
Here is a description of the show from their website:

“A little peer pressure goes a long way when you’ve got a dull and Desperate
Landscape! Watch as Jason Cameron and his team of experts visit homeowners
nominated as having the worst front yards on their block, then help them to make
incredibly dramatic changes in just one day. “

First off, the host, Cameron, is NOT a landscape architect. He’s also NOT a landscape designer. Finally, he’s NOT even a landscape contractor. Yet he is billed as a “pro” when he meets and works with the homeowners throughout the show. Interestingly enough, the statement above leads you believe that he is accompanied by a “team of experts.” However, in the show’s video intro, it says, “Jason Cameron, landscape pro and all around handy guy takes…”

Is Cameron a professional or not? Some of you may think I am splitting hairs here, but in my opinion, this degrades the landscape trade. It makes it appear as if anyone who happens to be an all around “handy-man” is already qualified to install hardscapes and plantings. This is misleading to the would-be do-it-yourselfer.

Here is Cameron’s bio from the DIY Network website:

“A native of Toledo, Ohio, Jason Cameron is experienced in carpentry and home
remodeling, as well as being an outdoorsman and sportsman. He is a familiar face
to home improvement fans, having been lead carpenter on the TLC series, While
You Were Out. Jason worked his way through college as a carpenter while
attending Northern Michigan University. He is also certified as a personal
trainer, specializing in strength and conditioning. In his spare time, Jason
enjoys working out at the gym, playing volleyball and basketball, and of course,
doing carpentry projects. He currently resides with his wife, Mary Ann, in New

Once again, nothing about landscaping in that bio. It looks to me like the main reason he’s qualified is because of his big biceps.

Secondly, the work done on the show is second class. While I will give them props for using a decent variety of plants, and for displaying the the correct pricing, the work Cameron does is poop. In one episode, (see video here under “rustic paver walkway” ) they install cement pavers on top of an existing, unlevel sidewalk. To combat the heaved cement, Cameron decides to use a sledge hammer to remove some of the high areas, yet leaves the cement sidewalk intact in other spots. He then proceeds to scrape a layer of sand across the whole thing and set the pavers. For the record, this is a crime against all hardscapes, and it is dangerous! You NEVER NEVER NEVER install hard pavers on top of an existing cement slab. The reason the existing sidewalk is out of level is due to an improperly prepared base. By adding pavers on top, you will do nothing but make the problem worse. After the first hard freeze, those pavers will move and become unlevel themselves, causing a major safety concern.

The only proper way to lay cement paving stones is over a properly excavated footprint that has been layered with limestone crush to a depth of 4-6″ and thoroughly tamped.
(I’ve lost some of you here I’m sure, so just know that Jason Cameron is an idiot)

Another reason the show is misleading goes back to it’s basic premise: that being the “desperate” landscape itself. Folks, landscapes are desperate because their owners are not.

Think about this: Caesar Milan has a show called the “Dog Whisperer,” and his claim to fame is that he “rehabilitates dogs, and trains owners.”
Caesar says the problem is not the dog, but rather the owner. The dog lives by instinct and breeding, and it’s up to the owner to be the “pack leader” and steer the dog in the right direction.
Same with landscapes friends! Trees and shrubs, and grass and weeds, are going to grow as the rain falls and the sun shines. It is up to the homeowner to train these elements and keep them under control. Just because a crew from DIY Network swoops in and installs an entirely new landscape doesn’t guarantee a lazy homeowner will decide to take care of it.

To sum it up: a landscape that Jason Cameron saves from being desperate, will be desperate again in under 2 years.
Maybe we should start a DIY show on educating homeowners about taking care of their lawn and land, instead of replacing it? Or maybe they should all just come to this blog and learn for themselves. Finally, I would love to see what these landscapes look like a couple years after their makeover. I don’t think Desperate Landscapes has been in production long enough, but if any of you readers know of someone who has been on the show, please drop me a note here.


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20 Responses to “An open letter to: DIY Network, Desperate Landscapes, Jason Cameron”

  1. Bryan Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    What you’re saying makes sense. You know your stuff. You did a great job pruning my trees for me.

  2. Chad Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    They’re just in it for the ratings! They don’t care if the show is actually correct or not. As long as you, the viewer, think it is. Why do you think they called is “Deperate Landscapes?” Sounds like “Desperate Housewives” maybe? Hmmmmm……..

  3. lilbilly Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    Put in your resume!

  4. Allyn Paul Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    lilbilly, yeah I wish I could put in a resume. Problem is, I am a normal guy with below average looks. While I may have the personality to be on TV, I have a face for radio (or blogging) and that is not what DIY and TLC are looking for. :(

  5. Josh and Sarah Cox Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    All those home improvement shows make it seem that all that work can be done in a matter of a few hours. Nothing is farther from the truth. Just to clear out a room takes a good 45 minutes to an hour. Oh well. I guess I’ll never be an interior designer after all….crap.

  6. Bonds756 Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    Wow! That was awesome! You need your own show, Bob Villa aint nuthin much to look at!! Great one Allyn you better let me run one of your cameras on your show….. “ALanscaping” !

  7. benbminnich Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    first off, his number one problem, and also the biggest warning for people, is that he is a native of T-town (that would be Toledo, OH for all those not in K.N.O.W.). Cause have you seen the lawns in this city, horrible, absolutely horrible. Well that is my quarter sense (I can never give two…sorry).

  8. 4loveofacuppa Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    nah, I think you could do TV Al…Anyway, then we could all live vicariously through your fame lol

  9. 4loveofacuppa Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    But I will agree that Jason Cameron is quite pretty…;)

  10. Julio Medina Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    I think you should start your own youtube channel. Ef the DIY network. If some homo can make himself famous by making a video that said “Leave Brittney alone” Anyone can have self made fae if you are interesting and have good content. Just like a Blog. It is all about ratings.

  11. Mary Comaduran Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    Wow, talk about sour grapes. Jason Cameron is very handsome and has a hot body, so what, It looks like he works at it. I like the show. I get lots of tips from his expanations, and now my plants aren’t all dying. If he landscapes, he’s a landscaper. Get over yourself.

  12. Allyn Paul Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    Thanks Mary, May I have another? LOL
    I appreciate your comment, but I think you missed the point of the article.

  13. Mia Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    Sounds to me like you are quite jealous. Jason is very good looking (handsome but not pretty) and he has the ability to carry a show. Instead of complaining about him why not pitch your ideas. Who know they might hire you for behind the scenes technical advice since you seem to think you are not good-looking enough to appear on tv.

  14. Allyn Paul Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    Mia, great idea! Thanks for stopping by; I’ll call the producers of Desperate Landscapes when I get to the office in the AM. I’m good friends with Stu Billet, and he can point me in the right direction.

  15. jstep Says:
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    He reminds me of David Putty from Seinfeld. “That’s right. Feels like an Arby’s night.” Nothing worse than a guy who buys t-shirts two sizes too small…. on purpose!

  16. Allyn Paul Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    that’s funny stuff. I can definitely see the Putty attributes, “Hi Five”

  17. Noelle Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    I like this show. I learn a lot about different types of plants and trees and where they are appropriote. The show also shows how to landscape to compliment the style of your home. He really does transform the yards that he works on too. I’m sure they do cut corners for the sake of TV (24 hour deadline). Every episode they have at least 30 people working and unlimited supplies. For 2 people to do the same work it would take 15x’s longer, you have to do the math and realize these things do take time. A lot of these people are just in over thier heads in fixer-up projects and don’t have the time or money to get it all done. Yard upkeep is a lot easier that landscaping it in the first place. That’s why people hire landscapers. I would like to think that these yards don’t go back to being desperate again in 2 years. I’m sure you know what you are talking about, but I think you are missing the point of the show. You don’t need to be a landscaper to fix up your own yard and house. You can do it yourself!

  18. julie Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    It sounds to me that you are a little jealous and that you can not find a job in your field! Jason is awesome – he has the charisma, the looks and does what he is good at as well as enjoying it – wouldn’t we all like that!? Get a clue!

  19. Margie Buckner Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    Jason, If you are ever in Farmington, NM, please let me know. I am in desperate need of a front yard makeover. This will be a big challenge for you and your crew. My husband and I have be working on it and I am starting to think it is a hopeless case. I don’t know what to do with it. I need your help or advice.


  20. Marcela Soderberg Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    Hello Jason, I just want to let you know the I love all your shows. I do not have any landscaping or interior to do, but if you ever dowm in Ft. Lauderdale Florida area let me know if you need any help. I will love to work with you or help you an any project if you are in town.

    Marcela Soderberg

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