Photography: Heather Pollock
Carson Arthur, the host of HGTV's Critical Listing, reveals the latest outdoor decor trends.
Having spent the past 15 years transforming lacklustre landscaping on television, Carson Arthur's mission to redefine the backyard has only just begun. "We can all picture what an English garden looks like, but what's a Canadian garden?" he asks. "Flowerbeds running down one side of the fence, across the back, up the other side, and a big lawn in the middle? We've got to be able to do better than that."
We grilled the host of HGTV's Critical Listing on exactly what it takes for an outdoor space to earn his seal of approval.
Brett Walther: What's the biggest mistake we make in our backyards?
Carson Arthur: "Planting flowerbeds. These are a liability when it comes to a home's resale value, because as soon as prospective buyers step into the yard, all they can see is a lot of hard work and maintenance."
BW: What's the alternative?
CA: "I'm encouraging my clients to go smaller on the lawn and beds and bigger on the patio, to use that extra space on the patio to grow plants in containers."
BW: What's the biggest trend in container gardening right now?
CA: "Pairing colourful containers with green plants. For example, you might have a bright red container and fill it with a lush, full Boston fern. You're not relying on blooms to give you that shot of colour—it comes from the container itself."
BW: Many of your landscape designs forego grass altogether. Why is that?
CA: "We have a water shortage in Canada, which is scary considering that we have so much of the world's available fresh water within our borders. I'm trying to move people away from water-consuming products, like grass. Plus, what do you use grass for? If there aren't kids playing on it, a lawn doesn't really have a purpose."