Home TV: 'Battle on the Block' Pimps the Patio
Once again it was three neighboring couples competing for a $10,000 prize and bragging rights forever (or until someone moves). HGTV's designer Genevieve Gorder, wearing what looked like outdoor dominatrix duds, spelled out the mission: to see who can best transform a ho-hum patio into a dreamy retreat in just three days. Each couple gets $5,000 in cash, $10,000 in merchandise, access to a tool truck and a one-third share of a professional contractor's daytime hours. The couples, however, can work all night, and we get to see the true meaning of sweat equity as everyone gets down and dirty in their respective backyards.
The first couple, the Boatners, Carrie and Barry, are DIY champs who expect to take home the prize and leave their neighbors in the dust. Literally. Their elaborate makeover plans include a daybed for lounging, new landscaping, granite countertop, new iron railing and so on. Funny, it was the first couple last week that had the biggest plans, but somehow you don't root against the Boatners this week. They aren't annoying in their grandiosity, just a little bit cocky.
The second couple, the Manleys, Nada and Kevin, want to take an outdoor space that's doing nothing and create an enclosure for an outdoor kitchen with some new patio furniture. Right away, we see that she's a big spender -- the woman has 500 pairs of shoes -- so will she stick to the budget? (Spoiler: She doesn't.)
And finally, there are the Akers, Will and Dee, who are so laid-back and mellow, you figure their parents must have been hippies. They have a nice backyard pool but a really ugly screened enclosure that they'd like to tear down and replace with a summer kitchen. They start out strong; ripping up stuff is easy. But as the battle builds, those nice Akers play dirty!
They double-up on tools so the Boatners can't work. So the Boatners take all the lights and no one can work in the dark.
Nada Manley runs amok shopping for patio furniture and soft goods and when time comes to buy the big-ticket items, she's shocked to learn the cash has run out. (She has to take back a bunch of stuff.) After spending so much time shopping, the Manleys have to get busy. While hacking away at overgrown shrubbery she says, "Physical labor is really, really hard." Well, duh.
Barry Boatner runs amok with a Bobcat and pretty soon the Boatner backyard is nothing but rubble. Carrie is worried. Genevieve is worried. She does an OMG-you-can't-possibly-finish. Barry's exhausted but battle-hardened. He will persevere. He and Carrie are bickering, though. "You're frayed," says Genevieve, switching to couples-therapist mode, explaining that the stress is impacting the relationship.
In the Akers' backyard, Will turns his wife on with his vigorous demolition skills. So that's a good thing. Unfortunately they have a case of wood rot. A bad thing.
Well, of course, we know that in spite of the wood rot, the wrong materials showing up, and so on, everyone more or less finishes the patios.
The Boatners win. He has pulled off the victory by taking the broken pieces of concrete and laying them down in a kind of crazy-quilt design.
What We Learned:
1. Estimate the cost of your renovation and take care of the big ticket items before you splurge on soft goods.
2. An intensive DIY project can really strain a relationship.
3. Beware of wood rot when you dig up stuff.
Read more Home TV updates including about past episodes of "Battle on the Block."