Locals compete in holiday TV show

By: Lauren Gibbs, The Placer Herald
-A +A

It took more than 30 hours, a crew of about 150 people and lots of creativity to make two Rocklin yards camera ready.
The scene was for an episode of DIY Network’s “Turf War,” a show in which the redesign of two backyards is put to the test of time and judging. The winning homeowner not only earns bragging rights, but $10,000 and a set of Craftsman tools worth $2,500.
Construction on the two Rocklin homes began last week and finished at 3:30 p.m. last Thursday, thanks to contractors, landscape designers, welders and volunteers.
Four teams took over the redesign of the two Rocklin yards – a backyard landscape team for each house and a front yard design team for each house.
For a day and a half, it was the design team for Christienne and Tom Lynn’s house versus John Kluenker’s team.
The winner will be revealed on the show, which is set to run in November of 2011 for a special holiday episode of “Turf War.”
As Kluenker was assisting with projects in the side yard, he said the experience was fun, but exhausting.
The neighborhood, off Aitken Dairy Road in Rocklin, was the set to four cameras, lots of local contractors and holiday cheer as the dueling teams were on a mission to revamp their outdoor living spaces.
Thursday afternoon — about three hours until the clock stopped — both houses’ teams were scrambling to finish.
At Kluenker’s house, the front yard transformed into a type of winter wonderland with faux raccoons and a bear near a stream-like water feature. In the back, flagstone covered the cement walkway and a fire pit, horseshoe pit, barbecue and entertainment area were being constructed.
Down the street, at the Lynn residence, cutouts to look like melting snow lined the roofline, replica pine trees were scattered across the front yard, a heap of wrapped gifts laid on the grass and snowmen decorated the lawn.
According to Jody Pribyle, coordinating producer for local TV production company Idea Factory, 14 tons of snow was brought in for the unveiling.
All the preparations were judged by unbiased neighbors scoring the finished yards based on originality, functionality, holiday cheer in the front and use of the wildcard or secret building material.
The teams each had to incorporate two sleds into the design and tra nsform it into something other than a sled. At the Lynn house, the two sleds were welded together to form a seesaw.
Different design teams led each house – Darren Crawford of Crawford Construction led the Lynn house, while Dean Summers of Earthscapes led Kluenker’s yard.
The revamp is at no cost to the homeowners, except for their promise to help.
“Blood, sweat and tears – that’s what it costs,” Pribyle said.
Pribyle said a casting call was held in Citrus Heights. She said there are specific criteria they look for in not only the homes but also homeowners.
“The homeowners have to be do-it-yourselfers,” Pribyle said.
They also have to be energetic and comfortable in front of the camera. Their two houses must be close to each other and have similar sized backyards as well.
Kluenker said his neighbors, the Lynns, chose him to partake in the yard redo for the show. Kluenker said he purchased the house last year and the house had been a foreclosure. The water had been shut off for two years and his yard was in need of some work.
“Nothing but dirt, weeds and a few trees,” were left in Kluenker’s back yard, he said.
Now, the weeds have been removed, sod was planted and a fireplace, outdoor TV and grilling area fill the once dirt-filled space. Kluenker said it was down to the wire to get the yard finished in time.
“We had an hour left and hadn’t put the sod down,” he said. “It was down to the last second.”
The episode, hosted by landscape designer Ahmed Hassan, will start airing November of next year on the DIY Network.

For more photos: Rocklin neighbors revamp yards for 'Turf War'