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Home improvement reality series takes over North Auburn neighborhood

“Yard Crashers” redoes backyard of Sacramento firefighter’s family
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Lights! Camera! Start digging!

North Auburn homeowners Zach and Brooke Taylor rose early Tuesday to begin work on a backyard makeover for the reality TV series “Yard Crashers” that will see them put in two days of toil for 15 minutes of fame.

The Big Table Media production team from Sacramento was already assembling at 5:30 a.m. for an all-day shoot that continues today. Show host Matt Blashaw and a crew of contractors are intent on transforming what as late as Monday night was a patch of weeds and raw earth into a thing of backyard beauty.

By mid-Tuesday, the Taylors were keeping their enthusiasm at “American Idol” levels as they dug out rocks, drilled holes and looked forward to Thursday.

By that time, “Yard Crashers” will have departed and they will be left with a reborn backyard that “Yard Crashers” is promising will include some spectacular water features, patio space and new flora.

And they’re looking forward to watching the transformation on TV, when it is telecast in prime time (check your local cable listings) Aug. 18 on the DIY Network.

Residents of a quiet cul-de-sac near Atwood Road for just more than two years, the Taylors submitted photos of their barren backyard and were contacted by “Yard Crashers” to take part in the show, now in its 13th season. Production teams out of Illinois and Minnesota give the show a solid national base of options for “Yard Crashers” to show off cutting edge innovations in creating outdoor living and recreating spaces. But the show started in the Sacramento area and local families continue to reap the benefits of a free makeover.

Families are given a chance to tell show researchers what they would like but ultimately sign off on what “Yard Crashers” creates.

“We had no idea,” Zach Taylor said. “It’s amazing and we couldn’t be happier. It’s being transformed from a backyard with weeds to something beautiful and designed in two days.”

Host Matt Blashaw serves as on-camera ringmaster for a two-day frenzy of home improvement. With contractors in an assortment of trades moving around the yard in what Blashaw describes as almost a dance, the Taylor’s four children – daughters Bella and Tori, 11, Shaylee, 7, and 6-year-old son Wyatt – were trundled off to grandma’s house nearby.

“It’s crazy what we ask contractors to do,” Blashaw said. “And we ask them to do it in two days. That’s amazing.”

Roseville landscape and garden designer Kat Bowers provided much of the artistic inspiration. Bowers said a key was to tie function and esthetics together on a 1,000-square-foot property. And while the work is done at a lightning pace, the thought is for something more lasting, she said.

“We want to create something to make them happy for the long run,” Bowers said.

Auburn’s Clean Cut Landscape was onboard during the production. President Todd Larimer said he appreciates the opportunity to take part in a project that showcases his work.

“We get to do what we love and be creative,” Larimer said. “And we get to do it on national TV.”

Helping the crews and the Taylors were at least 15 family members and friends. Brooke Taylor said the experience of being on TV would be a first for her and her husband, a Sacramento Metropolitan Fire Department engineer.

“I love the design and all the details they’re adding are beautiful,” she said. “It’s crazy around here today but we feel super fortunate.”