Mississippi Makeover: America's Most Desperate Landscape 2018

Jason Cameron and crew head to Florence, Mississippi to help a family rescue one truly desperate landscape, replacing a gaping backyard sinkhole and collapsed pool with a spectacular new patio and deck — and some amazing outdoor features.

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Photo By: Matt Blair

Contractor-in-Chief

Every year DIY Network poses the question "what's the most desperate backyard landscape in America?" and every year the candidates come rolling in — pictures and videos of yards ranging from downright drab to undeniably embarrassing to positively frightening. Once the worst of the worst is selected, James Cameron and crew surprise the winning homeowners with a complete landscape makeover —with plenty of bells and whistles.

Meet the Watkins Family

This year's recipients of DIY's dubious 'Most Desperate Landscape' title is the Watkins family from Florence, Mississippi — Dywayne, Shonda and their two sons, Garrett and Tristan. Shonda and Dywayne are owners of a trendy coffee shop in the charming deep-southern small town of Florence, Mississippi. But prior to the renovation, their backyard was not only desperate, it was downright dangerous.

Just How Desperate?

The Watkins' backyard had seen its share of better days. It had become bad enough that Dywayne and Shonda were avoiding having guests over out of a deep sense of backyard shame — not to mention fear for the safety of guests. The rutted lawn and eroded patio seen here barely scratches the surface of the problems.

Before

The old patio and deck represent an ambitious attempt to create an ideal space for outdoor entertaining, but things got sidetracked to the point that it's now it's a "ramshackle mess of broken dreams" and a "patchwork of DIY Don'ts" — complete with a crumbling outdoor kitchen and a tired tiki bar.

Before

Without question, the thing that helped clinch the title of ‘Most Desperate Landscape’ is the gaping crater-like hole just off the patio. The collapsed structure — resulting from an earlier and failed attempt to add an above-ground pool — is both unsightly and unsafe.

Before

Problems began with poorly executed construction, then torrential storms eventually collapsed the pool, stone path and portions of the fence. "We’re at a complete loss to know what to do here," said Shonda. The situation is so bad that the neighbors, despite their cultivated Southern graces, had begun to talk.

After

After a thorough demolition — and multiple truckloads of dirt brought in to fill the gaping hole where the “pool” had been — the Watkins' backyard is now completely transformed with a new patio area, fire pit and 20-by-50-foot deck to create a massive entertaining space.

Mega-Deck

The new multipurpose deck includes a new pergola and incorporates an outdoor kitchen and grilling area, serving bar, a separate lounge area, outdoor fireplace and a semi-enclosed spa nook with hot-tub. The kitchen area seen here features gray concrete countertops and bar seating.

Outdoor Lounge

The spacious pergola design with two-tiered roof and three distinct zones, separated by a center breezeway, provides an inviting space that’s custom made for relaxing and entertaining. The pergola is constructed from cypress for added strength and outdoor durability.

Outdoor Lounge

The new seating and lounge area includes a 6-foot outdoor fireplace with brick-panel surround. The fireplace is a modular construction with pieces pre-cut for precise fit.

Perfect View

Above the fireplace is one of the renovation's very special custom features — a rotating panel for mounting the weather-resistant outdoor TV. The panel, secured within a box housing, is attached using center-mounted swivel plates that allow it to spin laterally so the TV can be turned to any angle for ideal viewing.

Private Retreat

At the end of the deck opposite the kitchen is a hot-tub nook with privacy screen made using decorative landscape panels. The TV can be swiveled 180 degrees so that the TV can be viewed from this area as well.

Order Up

The former tiki bar is replaced with a functional outdoor kitchen,  grilling area and serving bar. The kitchen features a flush-mounted sink, gas grill and tile countertops.

Swing Time

The bar-side swings were made using reclaimed lumber from the old pool deck and provide a whimsical take on additional bar seating.

Statement Lighting

A custom chandelier, installed in the breezeway between the seating area and outdoor kitchen, is constructed from repurposed cypress wood, stained and protected with a coat of polyurethane, and features vintage style bulbs in a variety of shapes.

Totally Zen

Outdoor lanterns, decorative plants and a Buddha statuary help suggest a resort-spa feel.

Patio Style

Adjacent to the house is a new paver patio flanked by custom benches. The renovated patio is now an outdoor dining area that''s ideal for family gatherings and informal entertaining.

Patio Detail

This comfy chair and ottoman positioned in the corner of the patio makes for an inviting reading nook.

Patio Detail

A living wall hanging is created using reclaimed wood and live succulents.

Patio Detail

Patio Detail

Patio Detail

Fresh herbs in decorative pots provide a touch of green on the rustic wood console.

For the Birds

A whimsical bird house that looks like it might have come from the mind of Dr. Seuss accents one of the flower beds.

Gather 'Round

The fire-pit with circular gravel pad and Adirondack-inspired seating provides a welcoming spot for chilling out at the end of a day.

Warm Up

The rustic firepit will help extend the usefulness of the outdoor spaces during cool weather.

Before

After

The once forgotten firepit has been rebuilt and revitalized.

Practice, Practice

As a bonus for the Watkins kids, both avid soccer players, the team installed a soccer practice area with goal and synthetic-turf field.

Soccer-centric

Garret Watkins and some neighborhood kids make use of the practice field. 

Soccer Kids

Tristan Watkins shows off his soccer chops as well.

Share the Love

Jason initiates a group hug with the Dywayne and Shonda Watkins, now proud owners of a the least desperate landscape on the neighborhood.

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