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the block 2020 george and sarah curved outdoor dining table in backyard

Inside The Block 2020 Backyard Reveals (And the Final Week of Chris’ Critiques!)

Say it isn’t so you guys! The Block 2020 backyard reveals is my final recap of the season. I won’t know what to do with all the spare time I’ll have on my hands now that I won’t be writing this post each week.

I can’t thank you enough for stopping by to read my critiques. Each year the readership gets bigger. I see the stats every week; thousands of you hit the blog of a Sunday and Monday to read my take and share your own thoughts. And I have to say, it’s really been quite amazing to connect with you this way.

There’s been such a nice community built off of the recaps this year, especially because of Covid. I’ve loved writing them and I’ve loved that we’ve all shared our opinions with one another, even if we don’t always agree.

It’s also been good to receive messages from Blockheads (current and former) saying thank you for the honest critiques, thank you for saying what everyone else is thinking, and thank you for keeping it real. Sometimes it gets me in hot water and sometimes it can get awkward.

But I’ve always pretended I’m in the spaces with the judges each week giving my honest (unfiltered) thoughts. And that’s bound to ruffle some feathers. I always keep it respectful though. I never bash the judges or the contestants, I always keep it about the design, and I welcome your opinions even when you think I’m wrong.

So again, thank you for reading along. It doesn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated. And I can’t wait to do it again next year (with The Block and House Rules). But for now, let’s grab the Kleenex and get on with the final judging of 2020!

the block 2020 sarah and george backyard the block 2020 sarah and george backyard curved dining table

Sarah and George Deserved First Place

Jesus, Mary and Joseph (plus the apostles, three wise men, and all the other biblical characters I no longer remember); this backyard is pretty much perfection and I need to stop, drop and roll around in it immediately. I’m truly gutted they didn’t do media walk-throughs this year (thanks Covid) because I would love to sit at that divine curved dining table in person and knock back a Savvy B. 

There’s only a few small things I don’t like about this space, which we’ll get to, but so much of it is phenomenal. I said it toward the start of this season that Sarah and George were developing an amazing style, a consistent style. It’s a style that feels very moody, very Melbourne. And they’ve wrapped up the season delivering a backyard that feels much the same way. Its connection to the indoor space is obvious and admirable, plus they gave us so many zones that can be used in so many ways. 

In the backyard the brickwork doesn’t feel anywhere near as dominant as it does in the front yard. In the front, it felt like an eyesore to me; way too imposing. But here, thanks to all the warm timber, lush greenery and sleek metal, it looks beautiful. I also really enjoy the entry to the studio and the way the plants frame it, and can we talk about the heater hovering above the dining table? Need it, want it, gotta have it.

There are Only Three Small Tweaks I’d Make

It’s near-perfect but you know me; I like to be constructive, and when it irks me it irks me. 

Firstly, the lack of grass is a bit unfortunate. I know, most of the yards are small and you can only pack in so many inclusions. But there’s a section on the way to the pool that is very tile-heavy when I feel it could have been a small path with lush grass around it, just to add some softness. 

In the pool zone, I need to lose the stick on mural. It’s a bit naff. Sarah and George are Sydney Westies (like I am, Westies for life!). So think about it… would they do a Sydney Harbour Bridge mural in their backyard? It’s gotta go.

The final thing I’m not crash hot on is the blue and white pool tiles. They’d be better black and white. The blue and white don’t really speak to their moody Melbs aesthetic.

Overall though, Sarah and George just got better and better this season and I’m so keen to see how they clean up on auction day.

the block 2020 sarah and george pool area the block 2020 luke and jasmin

Luke and Jasmin Came in Second

Like with every parent, I have my fave contestants each season. Every parent likes to pretend they don’t, but we all know there’s a golden child in every family. I’m the favourite in mine (der right!?) and Luke and Jasmin are my fave on The Block 2020. They are undeniably the best when it comes to style, consistency, delivering a product the market is after, and also showcasing a few new and interesting design ideas.

So it’ll come as no surprise that I was eating their backyard up like it was pizza and I was, well, me. Me during Covid especially. Seriously, if I eat another pepperoni pizza it will be too soon. And yet if I was asked right now if I want a pizza, I’d say ‘yes please, pepperoni’. I need to be stopped.

Speaking of pizza, the pizza pit they executed this week was a stunner. Love the entire zone. I also love that the back deck is big enough that you could put a larger rectangle table there if you wanted to and move the lounge area to the grass. And on that note: grass! Praise be! Honestly, even just a little bit of grass goes a long way, and here it definitely does.

Also, bravo to them for the amount of curves in this space. It’s a consistent theme across the property and I’m loving it. There are more curves here than on that Kim Kardashian Paper magazine cover and I’m absolutely on-board.

But it’s Not All Good News

Now, I applaud Luke and Jasmin for their novel ideas. They do take risks with design. And how good is it to finally see risks on The Block 2020 when so many prior seasons have been so same-same? I mean, if I see one more velvet headboard – especially with tufted buttons – I’m going to go battier than Britney on Instagram.

That said, I can’t approve of the gnarly skate park daybed. I know kids these days no longer use words like gnarly, but it’s the only term I still have on file from my early-nineties childhood and I’m going to use it.

I’m not sure I even like the look of it, but for me the worst part is the function. I’d need to book an appointment with Sven for some major masseuse work after sitting on it for more than a minute. Love that they pushed the envelope, but I see this structure gathering dust.

Overall though it cannot kill my love for Luke and Jasmin. And I can’t wait for auction day when the money rolls in for them.

the block 2020 luke and jasmin curved daybed in backyard the block 2020 luke and jasmin pool area the block 2020 jimmy and tam side courtyard the block 2020 jimmy and tam backyard

Jimmy and Tam Landed in Third

I know, we’re at the part where you expect me to rip into Jimmy and Tam’s design. It’s become a little predictable hasn’t it? I’d honestly love to find some really good elements in this backyard so my critiques weren’t so repetitive. But like with the rest of their rooms this season, this space has left me wanting so much more. I’m struggling to find something I’m excited about.

The courtyard to the side of the property, which the judges entered first, took the term minimal to all new levels. I mean, if that is ‘minimal’, what’s ‘barren’ or ‘underdone’? It’s a pretty empty area with two chairs and a side table in it. The only thing I did enjoy was the bamboo, which is honestly the best large tree for privacy in a space like this. So I’ll give them points for that.

Then they painted the blocks a bright coral. Which I have to say, at least ties the outdoor space to the indoor one. I’m not on the same journey as Shaynna when it comes to embracing Jimmy and Tam’s neon orange bathroom, but that’s a destination I’m never going to travel to.

In terms of a positive, I do think it was a great idea to install a proper barbecue area. A potential buyer will appreciate that. Both Luke & Jasmin and Harry & Tash did a wheel-in barbie and it was not a good look. 

That Pool Area Though

Um, can we call it a pool area? I don’t want to exaggerate the function. I know all of the contestants delivered small pools but this one really takes the cake. It’s more large bath in the ground than it is a pool. It’s that small that I’m not sure I’d even bother. At what point does a pool zone become so ridiculously small that you just abandon ship on the idea altogether?

What’s worse is that they could have made it longer. They’ve got two large sun lounges in there where a longer pool footprint could have been. And that bench-seat-behind-door situation. What is going on there? Why is it there? When will it go away? I have so many questions. 

Yes, I have been hard on Jimmy and Tam’s designs this season. I do not think they are terrible designers though. As I’ve said in previous recaps, they’d work wonderfully on a series like House Rules, where the homes are forever homes that aren’t needing to sell. But, who knows; the world will probably serve me up some humble pie and one kooky buyer will love everything in the property and they’ll come first at auction. Stranger things have happened.

the block 2020 jimmy and tam lap pool and banana lounges the block 2020 daniel and jade courtyard magpie artwork

Daniel and Jade Came Fourth

Daniel and Jade’s biggest issue this season has been inconsistency. I never know what they’re going to serve up, and I rarely see a room that speaks to the space they revealed the week before. It happened again with this backyard and it’s such a shame because some of their rooms are good. They just don’t make sense with the other rooms in the property.

The courtyard to the side of the home was not good though. It was, as the judges pointed out, kinda empty. The furniture was too small. Lovely, but too small in the space. It just felt plopped on top with nothing to ground it. A large outdoor floor rug would have worked nicely here.

What did look amazing was that magpie artwork. I don’t know who did it, or how it came together, but it looks freakin beautiful. I want something like it for my balcony. I wonder if it comes with a wine glass symbol instead of a bird.

I also love, love, looove the sculpture Daniel and Jade put in the garden out the back. I adore an architectural moment like this, and I have to say I think it’s D&J’s greatest moment of the season. They saved the best for last. And hey, we have a patch of grass too. I think this is the biggest patch of all five, so I’m grateful they included it. But to be fair, on a rainy day the journey from garage to inside the house would not be a cute one for the shoes.

Overal a Bit Meh

It’s not a Block backyard to write home about, that’s for sure. I wouldn’t even email home about it. I might text the emoji of the person shrugging their shoulders. That’s all I can muster up for it.

There was no outdoor dining table, which was a huge miss. And the shower was in such a dumb spot. There were some nice elements but it needed to be taken to the next level. Neale was right when he said the cake was good, it just needed some icing. I’d have to agree with that analogy.

It’s a shame because I absolutely swooned over their front yard. Sadly the vibe didn’t continue ’round back.

the block 2020 daniel and jade back verandah the block 2020 daniel and jade backyard

the block 2020 harry and tash backyard side paved area

Harry and Tash Landed in Last Place

I have a real soft spot for Harry and Tash. I don’t really see much of them because I only watch the reveals, but it seems they’ve had lots of tears the last few weeks. I also believe there were some budget issues here, which explains why the backyard is so lacklustre. It’s a shame, because their living and dining room were so successful. To walk from those spaces out to this one is a definite step down.

It’s a small, narrow section of yard to make something of, which isn’t the most ideal footprint. That’s why I have to agree with the judges about them erecting that wall between the front and back yard. Such a bad idea! It prevented what would have been a wonderful sense of flow from taking place, but it also looks quite dominant in what is already a hard and overbearing space. No grass, all concrete; we’re not onto a winning strategy here.

At least they have that gorgeous tree, and at least they zoned the small sections. One area was for dining, another area was for lounging. 

It Needed Way More

The wheel-in barbecue and mini fire pit are so representative of why they came last this week. It all feels a bit pedestrian for The Block 2020, where these homes are selling for millions.

The pool area felt sad and depressing too, and a bit dirty and unfinished. I also believe that if you know the styling is going to look really small and underdone for the zone, don’t style it at all. That sad and lonely hanging chair in the pool zone with a Kmart basket under it is just not luxury. It really would be a letdown for a potential buyer to walk through the home and end the journey here.

That said, I know Harry and Tash will still do well at auction because so many of their internal spaces are wonderful. All is not lost, they unfortunately just went out with a whimper instead of a bang.

the block 2020 harry and tash backyard the block 2020 harry and tash pool area

Parting is Such Sweet Sorry!

The Block 2020 backyards recap is my last of the season. What will we do now on a Sunday night? What blog will you go to for your weekly fix? Well, this one. The answer is this one. There’s no need to stop coming here for interior design inspo and truth bombs. I drop at least three posts a week.

I really do want to thank you again for stopping by each week to read my thoughts on The Block this year. I’ve loved it, and I hope you’ve loved it to. 

Drop me a comment below and share who you think will win at auction. I’d love to know what your take is.

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Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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11 Responses

  1. I’m just one of the thousands who have loved reading your weekly critiques. Sometimes, actually quite often, I enjoy your reviews more than the show .
    I don’t know you (obviously) but I like you a lot and I loove your crazy funny sense of humour. And I think you’re always on the money . Thanks Chris, take the Gold Star and pin it on your lapel. You deserve it ⭐️

  2. What a shame that the show is finished, not because I love the show but because I love your blog every week. I’m not going to comment this week because when there’s such a difference in money spent it’s not a fair situation. It’s been obvious to me that over the weeks the ‘foremen’ and ‘judges’ on set have had favourites and that has affected the outcomes. I look forward to the auctions because as in past series of the block the underdogs will come out winners. If it’s going to come back next year it needs new faces – something like what has happened with MasterChef.

  3. Chris, I’ll miss these recaps … it gave me security like a warm hug after reveals as your praise worthy opinions invariably was mine and your critiques had me nodding. Wishing you all the success in what I’m sure is a wonderfully successful design career .

  4. Great recaps again Chris.
    I don’t get why so much lovely furniture is out in the weather. As for the “pools” what a waste of money, a beautiful 8 person jet spa would have been much more inviting and they could have done wonderful things in design to make them work.
    the choice of trees was beautiful but they are nearly all deciduous so leaves on those pale tiles and gardens will be a nightmare.

  5. Thanx Chris, I love your humour & skills, and I mostly agree with you also…however, its good we all have points of view in general or we’d end up looking like McDonald’s..lol.

    Luv your entire site & updates, thanx again…Ill keep following

  6. Each week I wait eagerly for you to drop into my mailbox. You have added a balanced, and humorous, slant to the judging. Thanks for making a rather lacklustre block series fun.
    Looking forward to hearing from you next series. Oh, and I will continue to follow you!!

  7. Thanks for your recaps Chris, you’re so insightful. I love watching the auction tonight, and so happy that all the contestants walked away with something amazing. Well done to Jimmy and Tam whose house found that one buyer who just loved the results of all their hard work. Every contestant deserved these fantastic results.

LET’S GET DECORATING!

I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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