Arkansas Landscapers talk about excitements and challenges of being on HGTV
A landscaper’s work is always on display.
Whether it’s a large commercial site with thousands of visitors, or it’s a backyard family barbeque, the spaces draw crowds.
An Arkansas landscaping company is getting eyes from a more unique audience though, the TV audience.
Ground Effects Landscaping is the key outdoor contractor for the HGTV show “Fixer to Fabulous”.
The show is set in Northwest Arkansas, where Ground Effects has been working for about 25 years.
Owner and president, Tyler Burns, launched the company through a lawn-mowing gig while he was in high school.
The Northwest Arkansas area housing market boomed during that time and Tyler connected to many new homeowners and construction companies.
He quickly grew his clientele through area referrals, and Ground Effects was born.
The group manages large and small residential properties.
Tyler is an old-school designer, typically hand drawing ideas alongside clients to help brainstorm and develop a vision.
He often incorporates custom welding, metal, and stonework details.
“I try to put as many little touches to a project as I can,”
Tyler leads a close-knit team that often builds backyards with outdoor living features like patios and fire pits.
They are also certified paver installers who build driveways and pool decks.
Ground Effects even installed a courtyard inside the Crystal Bridges Art Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Despite the team’s long project history, they’ve never tackled something quite like Fixer to Fabulous.
The show is similar to HGTV’s Fixer-Upper, featuring people who want to redesign the common spaces and exteriors of an older home.
The project’s minimal budget is always $100,000.
Fixer to Fabulous found Ground Effects Landscaping online in 2020.
By the end of 2021, the the group will complete more than a dozen episodes.
Tyler says the toughest part of the show is the turnaround time.
“We typically knock out the project in two days. It can be stressful sometimes, it’s something we were not used to initially. We got comfortable with it though as we connected with the producers and film crew.”
Tyler says the show takes a tremendous amount of coordination.
Professionals from other trades, like painters and interior contractors, are working as Ground Effects crews are landscaping.
They also have to design with filming aspects in mind, like weather, lighting, and camera angles.
“For example, sometimes they want to film as the sun is setting or rising. A lot of the finishing shots of the home take 7 or 8 hours to film and edit, so we have to finish several days before the reveal.”
These aspects can change what materials are used for a project and where the materials are placed.
“So a shrub might be put in front of a window so you can see it from the inside of the living room. I’ve never had to paint grass before working with the show! Sometimes things get torn up during construction, so we will paint the grass to make it pop on camera. We’ve had to cover up logos and tape across branding on equipment. Last season we had to cover the brands on all of our shovels and the planting pots.”
Producers often ask for these small adjustments, but for the most part Tyler takes the lead on the outdoor designs.
He works closely with the show’s lead contractors, Dave and Jenny Marrs, to develop his plans.
Fixer to Fabulous has brought more coordination within Ground Effects as well.
Tyler used to split employees into several different crews, but now everyone works together to meet the show’s deadlines.
“The stress of the show has definitely brought us closer as a company. Being able to work together, all on one crew, and coordinate something really quickly really brings camaraderie. We realize that when we work together we can accomplish a lot.”
The team has also gotten used to having a camera filming their work.
Film crews will place gopros or drones around the outside of the home, sometimes an actual camera operator will get close and personal.
“Even if we’re doing something basic like planting a shrub. It is a little weird, we’re getting used to it though!”
Despite these challenges and adjustments, Tyler calls the show a fun experience! He even hopes to get more camera time with Dave and Jenny this season.
Keep an eye out for his speaking debut this season on HGTV’s Fixer to Fabulous.