Backyard Envy's 'Manscapers' Share Their Best Gardening Tips in Honor of Season 2 Premiere
Backyard Envy season two premieres Tuesday night on Bravo — and the trio behind the magic couldn’t be more excited to bring a little beauty back into viewers’ lives.
The reality show, which first premiered in January 2019, follows James DeSantis, Garrett Magee and Mel Brasier as they turn rooftops, terraces and yards into glorious living areas for their luxury exterior design/high-end landscaping firm Manscapers.
All three founded the company together, and work out of Williamsburg, New York City; DeSantis is the business relations expert, Magee is the self-proclaimed “plant whisperer,” and Brasier is the construction manager.
Season two of the show returns on August 4 at 10/9c, and viewers can expect more drama than ever before (think: health scares, firings and engagements) as well as bigger and better projects — including a jaw-dropping, million-dollar “floating meadow” installation for Maison St-Germain. Brasier tells PEOPLE the project for the elderflower liqueur company was “the biggest scale” and “the biggest budget we've ever worked with.”
“I am excited that in this crazy pandemic time we can give people a little bit of a comic, outdoor, garden relief,” DeSantis says of the new season, noting that he doesn’t think it could come at a better time. “A lot of people are redoing their homes now, so I think us having our show on the airwaves again can give people tips on what they can do on their own.”
“So many of our clients have just wanted to create a staycation in their backyard,” Magee agrees. “So I'm really excited to give them something that they can watch to get some ideas, get some tips and be able to get outside in a safe way.”
In honor of the premiere, the trio shared some tips with PEOPLE on how readers can create a thriving quarantine garden in their own backyard — whether they have a green thumb or not — while riding out the coronavirus pandemic. Read their top tips below:
When buying plants, look to your neighbors
If you’re not an avid gardener, look to someone that is — even if that means looking over your fence!
“A lot of people are intimidated buying plants, especially on their own, if they're new to gardening,” Brasier says. “We say start with native plants — look at what your neighbors have and what's doing well in your neighbor's yard. That way you’re not reinventing the wheel, and can see what does well in your neighborhood and climate.”
Start with one section first
When you’re just starting out on a backyard project, the Manscapers suggest starting small, and then going big.
“You don't have to think about the entire yard — you can pick one section,” DeSantis says. “Maybe you just start with the patio and redo that. And maybe that's just adding a couple large statement plants in pots and starting there.”
Magee agrees, adding: “If you have a really big yard and you don't know what to do with it, start close to the house and address those areas, because they're the areas you're going to use the most.”
Changing up little accessories can make a big difference
“Not everyone's in a position to do a huge overhaul on their space,” Brasier admits. That’s why she suggests making little changes — like adding or switching out patio accessories — to change the feel of your backyard.
“It's not about buying or needing new furniture, but maybe switch it up with just some inexpensive throw pillows or a new, inexpensive rug,” Brasier says. “Little things like that can really freshen up a space.”
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Choose a few statement plants
When it comes to buying plants for your garden (especially as a newbie), the Manscapers crew always advise starting small.
“Start with some statement pieces,” Brasier says. “We don’t suggest hundreds of small plants, but maybe just a few items that will really define the space and set the tone for your yard.”
Some of their favorites that are easy to keep alive? “A boxwood, as simple as that sounds,” DeSantis suggests. “It's an evergreen and it's super hearty. And then I always like to add a few different, fun perennials.”
Take advantage of the space you have
Just because you don’t have a big backyard (or any backyard, for that matter…) doesn’t mean you can’t be a gardener. The Manscapers suggest taking advantage of any space you can let things grow, whether that be a patio, window box or even fire escape.
“My first garden was right outside my window,” Magee says, explaining that he used the fire escape outside his small New York apartment nearly 10 years ago. “I set out about five terracotta pots and I would just spend every morning watering and tending to my plants. Honestly, it totally changed my entire mood, just being able to have a little tiny sliver of a garden outside.”
Season two of Backyard Envy premieres Tuesday, August 4 at 10/9c on Bravo.
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