1. Home
  2. Blog
  3. News + Media
  4. Chris Judges The Block 2020 Front Yard Reveals: Divine meets Disaster
the block 2020 daniel and jade front yard house facade and garden

Chris Judges The Block 2020 Front Yard Reveals: Divine meets Disaster

I have to admit, front yard reveals on The Block are usually my least-fave to watch and recap. But in 2020 things are different, because there truly are a few shocking moments we need to talk about.

Normally, due to the fact that I’m an interior designer (not an exterior one), I find front yards all a bit boring. No cushions, no candles, no gasp-worthy tiles or dining chairs to drool over. It’s the reason I moved from a townhouse to an apartment last year; I don’t want grass to deal with, and you know how bad I am at keeping greenery alive.

Fear not though; this has not stopped my truth bombs from dropping this week. I may not design exteriors, but I know what works and what doesn’t in a luxury Melbourne market. I work it in after all, so you’re getting the truth from someone who’s on the front line. And when it comes to this week’s reveals, there’s honestly no other way to say it: the scores were batsh*t crazy and I need to talk it out with you. 

the block 2020 jimmy and tam front yard gate the block 2020 jimmy and tam front yard verandah outdoor furniture

Jimmy and Tam Took Out First Place

Someone must have dropped Rohypnol in my Sunday night wine. I seem to have travelled to a parallel universe where creating a desert wasteland can see you take out top score on The Block.

Actually, this front yard is less desert wasteland and more bin area out the back of a rundown block of flats. You know, the area where everyone dumps their rubbish and the drug deals go down. I swear a guy named Dagger is about to jump out and either shiv me or offer me a bag of meth.

Honestly guys… what is going on here? I try hard to not bag out contestants (because I don’t know them) and I try really hard to not bag out the judges (because I respect their opinion). And I’ve done a good job all season of not crossing that line. I’m no internet troll. But honestly…

This Feels like an April Fools Joke 

Look at the picture below for a minute. Just look. This is the view you have from the front of the multi-million dollar home you just bought. Get a load of the serenity; concrete slabs and some gravel. I’ve seen prison grounds with more warmth and charm, and shopping centre car parks with more visual appeal.

And too bad if you’re keen on gardening. What are your options here? I guess you could water the gravel and prune the rocks. Oh and if you have kids, they’re going to love climbing the cacti and dodging the prickly pear. Once again, Jimmy and Tam have not thought about the market they’re selling in. It’s completely innapropriate.

There’s not one single thing outside of the outdoor furniture that is redeemable here. And I’m in complete shock that all three judges not only liked it, but awarded it top score!

the block 2020 jimmy and tam front yard garden the block 2020 sarah and george front yard house facade the block 2020 sarah and george front yard path

Sarah and George Also Came First

I’ve woken up from my acid trip and I’m ready to tackle the rest of the spaces. Bring on some charming front yards that scream Brighton, blend new and old, and give you a hint of what’s to come when you walk inside the home.

Sadly, Sarah and George didn’t deliver that for me this week. By no means is it (or could it ever be) as heinous as the front yard Jimmy and Tam delivered, but I’m still very surprised it landed them in first place too.

The colour palette of the boards and window frames is lovely, I’ll give them that. I get Brighton from that, I get old world charm from that. And look, we have some lawn and we have some greenery. So I’m also giving them kudos for that as well. But honestly, these are pretty basic inclusions for a front yard, so let’s not get too carried away.

This is Not a Winning Exterior

The major issue I have with this facade is the dark, dominant brick. It’s heavier and more overbearing than me during lockdown (it’s been a tough four months on Menulog you guys) and doesn’t work with the rest of the facade.

There’s a huge disconnect for me between the subtlety of the cladding and the brutal nature of the brick. They’re fighting like The Real Housewives of Potomac. And it’s made the whole exterior feel confused, as if they ran out of money and couldn’t afford to do anything to the brick. I’m not feeling welcomed by it, nor does it feel charming.

I also have to admit, the tiles on the steps don’t work either. The tiles, the cladding and the bricks are not working in perfect harmony by any means.

That’s two spaces so far that have failed to impress, and yet they won?! I need a Bex and a good lie down.

the block 2020 sarah and george front yard garden the block 2020 daniel and jade front yard facade and gate the block 2020 daniel and jade front yard house facade and garden

Daniel and Jade Came Joint Second

We’ve finally arrived at the first of two front yards that deserved the win this week. What Daniel and Jade delivered is glorious on all front and I need answers as to why they didn’t come first.

And you know me; I’ve had many issues with the rooms inside this home. They’re hodge-podge to say the least. But this front yard and the facade of the home was anything but confused. It feels right at home in Brighton, it’s a wonderful blend of new and old, and it does actually give a nod to the vibe of the living room and kitchen inside the property. They’ve made some mistakes, sure, but this is not one of them.

The colour palette here is very successful; a great blend of cool and warm. And if you look at the zoomed-out photo above, it’s the one home where the external brick wall speaks to the home facade perfectly. No other team got this as right as Daniel and Jade did.

They Were Robbed of the Win

The plants are divine, the spatial planing is lovely, there’s grass for kids to play on, there’s a spot for the parents to sit and have a bevvie (love the table and the chairs). Someone please tell me where the faults are.

Yes, I watched the judges critiques and I get their point about seeing the hardware that’s holding up the steps and the catwalk. But that’s why Daniel and Jade planted shrubbery there; it’ll grow and cover it. And seriously, this is nothing in the grand scheme of things. 

No potential buyer is going to walk into this front yard and say “oh no, honey, we can’t buy this home, I can see some steel under the steps”. But what they will say, in Jimmy and Tam’s yard is “Where are the kids going to play?”.  Honestly, I can’t let this go! 

the block 2020 daniel and jade front yard path decking the block 2020 luke and jasmin house facade and brick fence the block 2020 luke and jasmin front yard path up to front door

Luke and Jasmin Came Joint Second Too

The other team that deserved a shared win this week was Luke and Jasmin. There’s only two things I can fault in this front yard but to be fair about 90% of it is delicious and I want to go there immediately.

This is a yard and facade that blends old-world charm with modernity beautifully. I don’t want to take anything away from Daniel and Jade, but with them the success of their yard feels more fluke. But with Luke and Jasmin I feel it’s more intentional. They came in with a game-plan and an aesthetic this season, and they’ve delivered it again with this front yard reveal. 

I knew it was their exterior the moment I saw it. And it gives such a nice hint of things to come inside the home. I adore the plant pots on the verandah. I adore the two chairs and side table there too. And the external wall light is them all over. It’s a really beautiful colour combination, a great mix of materials and clever spatial planning.

I’m with Mr Whitaker Though

There are only two things that I’m not loving in this front yard, and one of them Neale rightly pointed out. The water feature seems at odds with the vibe of the home and the garden. It’s a little bit generic and a little bit dated. I’m all for a water feature but something more delicate would have worked better here. It needs to be lighter in both colour and profile.

The only other thing I noticed was the orange brick wall at the front of the property. It too feels at odds with the beautifully light, bright and white facade of the home. They went dark with the front door and pavers, they could have gone darker here too and I feel it would have looked more cohesive. 

Can I say how much I love the curve they put on the pit in the yard though? Absolutely genius, and it speaks so wonderfully to the curved inside the property.

the block 2020 luke and jasmin front garden curved pit the block 2020 harry and tash front yard house facade the block 2020 harry and tash front yard paving and steps

Harry and Tash Came Last

I’m sure you’d have guessed by now that I don’t think Harry and Tash should have come last. We know who should have come last. That said, there were a number of issues with their garden and the facade.

I’m not sure who made more of the design decisions here, but it feels like Harry. So much of the vibe here feels old and outdated. There’s a gaudy feel to some of the choices they made, and it reminds me of an early nineties home in the ‘burbs. If I saw a lion statue, or an eagle, or even a gargoyle I would not be surprised. This is not a good sign. Are they going to fully concrete the backyard?

The centre of the yard works, that’s what pains me. They were onto a good thing but it really fell apart somewhere along the way. The little verandah and balcony off both front rooms are really charming. The arched window is cute. I like that there’s lawn and I like that there’s some decent plants in the mix. I do feel a bit of an emotional connection.

Some Good, But a Lot of Bad

So, some things worked. But a lot didn’t. 

Let’s start with the entire right-hand side of the front garden. What’s with the pet cemetery pebbles? It honestly looks like a burial ground. Not only that, but the bench seat they put on top of it looks more completely uncomfortable. I don’t think a buyer would look at this area and think, I can see myself here. Not unless the vision is of them Googling ‘how to cure numb bum’. 

The left hand side was OK. The white brick steps are fine (not amazing), but things really fall apart when you get to that horribly dated archway. These are the kinds of eyesores Charlie on Selling Houses Australia would pull down immediately. Who let them do this? Whose idea was it? I’m betting it was Dad’s but Tash needed to step in and stop this plan from seeing the light of day.

the block 2020 harry and tash front yard garden lawn

What Do you Make of The Block 2020 Front Yard Reveals?

Has the world gone mad or have I? I’m happy to accept that I could be in the minority here. Perhaps Jimmy and Tam’s front yard is absolute garden goals and I’m just behind the times. I’m keen to hear what you think on the subject.

Drop me a comment below and let me know what you made of the yards this week; which was your fave and which let you down?

Share

Share on pinterest
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter

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

Related Posts​
Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

57 Responses

  1. I can’t help but wonder if Luke and Jasmin and Daniel and Jades front porches meet building standards. I can see little ones spearing head first off the front porch into either the garden or onto the concrete pavers. It seems like disaster waiting to happen….. as is the cactus debacle. Recognising the vagaries of the cutting room floor, I must admit I feel as if there has been consistent and unashamed bias for Jimmy and Tam from both the judges and Scotty and the front gardens and facades have been no different.

  2. My order would be Luke and Jasmin, Dan and Jade. Harry and Tash, George and Sarah, Jimmy and Tam.
    They are not in Palm Springs they are in Melbourne, Australia.
    The already too tall cacti will get chopped down in a COUPLE of years as will some of the other spiky plants.
    The only other thing i really couldn’t see the point in is the white pebbles on the right, it should have been lawn.
    The varieties of plants were willy nilly and not consistent in balance. Where were the landscapers minds did the weather have an effect on decisions?
    Also i liked reading Neale’s comments to you. Feed back is good.

  3. I think house 5 has one of the most ugliest gardens I have ever seen on The Block or anywhere else to be honest and I’m sure the Aussie backyard didn’t look like that in the 1950’s.I have no idea what the judges are doing but I score them a one this week.

  4. Shayna went on and on about the our t of lawn in front garden of House 1, commenting on it when looking at Houses 2 and 3, but then gushing over the garden of House 5 which is a waste land. No wonder Tash broke down after hearing that level of criticism repeated over and over. Not at all constructive.

  5. Love reading your reviews and your turn of phrase always gives me a chuckle. I’m not a fan of gravel, i really dislike it. It ends up everywhere, horrible to walk on. Great to hear from Neale, and a good point he made re comments ending up on the cutting room floor. Contestants have done such an amazing job in such a short amount of time, and considering all the difficulties Melbourne has faced during lockdown, they’ve done very very well.

  6. I LOVE the garden and facade Harry and Tash created ,except the brick archway . JIMMY AND TAMS was boring ,ugly and not appealing at all .They should not have won this challenge .A Palm Springs inspired garden could have been wow with over $50000 to spend .I was so disappointed for Tash and Harry . Then 2ND PLACE LUKE AND JASMIN !! The time to do a bigger garden and the cost should really be factored into the score .Maybe they should ratio $ for square meterage. Seems a lot fairer to me .

  7. Watched the show last night.
    Spent many hours and money covering exposed brick over the years ugh!
    I loved your very funny comments!
    House 1 should have won, I loved it!!

  8. I understand respecting an era of a house but so many of these homes have elements that are simply outdated and aesthetically horrible. Jimmy and Tam’s garden is ugly but someone will absolutely love it and pay good money for their house purely for it’s originality and points of difference. I have not enjoyed this Block series anywhere near as much as others because of the home styles and briefs and there has not been enough drama!! I absolutely love room reveals and gain many new ideas from them (and the commentary) but viewers also crave drama. I like all the contestants and judges and think it’s fantastic that Neale reads your blogs and took the time to respond and offer a fair and professional point of view. Horses for courses always.

  9. House 5’s front yard (because by no stretch can it be called a garden) looks like a giant kitty litter tray while Sarah and George’s garden is inoffensive but boring. I am beginning to think that the judges are on an acid trip – it is the only explanation for the very dodgy judging.

  10. I agree with your comments about Sarah’s and George’s facade and garden. The bricks are totally at odds with the house itself and the plants are underwhelming! I wonder if the judges were swayed because it is a Dave Franklin garden??

  11. Agree agree agree agree agree. Personally I feel that because J&T’s house/garden is such a wildcard (100% agree with comments) the judges ott LOVE is just marketing to sell the niche home. (The other houses will sell easier)

    I would have personally loved to see an Australian 50s modernist inspired garden for their house. Agave’s, lush grass etc.

  12. I’m both a very keen gardener and a lover of old houses. Just a few points of the MANY that I could make!
    * Worst choice of the week by far was the ugly brickwork on the Sarah and George facade. It should have got zero for complete inappropriateness. I love old bare brick in places, but on this delicate facade it’s an absolute travesty. Neale Whitaker – what were you thinking???
    * Second-worst was the archway on Tash and Harry’s house. An arch connects two things – here, it’s just kinda ‘Whaaaat???’ Bloody bizarre, truly.
    * Seems no-one actually looked at beautiful old houses in Brighton; if they had, all the chosen fountains would never have made it out of the shops from which they were bought. In front of weatherboard houses you need something light and elegant, possibly beautiful wide urns, not this 2010 stuff.
    * Jimmy and Tam’s vision of Palm Springs is limited and corny. You can do a great 50s garden without cactus. While the breeze blocks are fabulous, what on earth is the point of the wall they built next to the front gate? It’s like the archway in Harry and Tash’s place – just ‘Huh??’ A few cacti, some gravel and a palm tree do not Palm Springs make.
    * As someone above said, on busy New St you won’t want to spend much time sitting outside; the emphasis should have been on lots of greenery to create generosity, shade, noise abatement, restfulness.
    * What the f…. is that curved thing in Luke and Jasmine’s garden? If it’s meant to be a conversation pit, as Chris implies, how do you get into it? Just looks daft, and closes the garden in rather than opening it up.

    I could go on, but that’s enough. All of them were major fails for different reasons. Only decent one is Jas and Luke’s, which gets 6/10 from me.

  13. I watch a lot of renovating shows courtesy of 9 Life and one dedicated to Palm Springs. I can’t say I’m a fan generally, until they modernise their theme. I’m afraid that I find Jimmy and Tam’s garden, whilst true to the period perhaps, totally boring. The large palm was definitely underwhelming in that space, such a waste and way too much concrete and white. As a child I hurt my foot on a cactus and was still picking out the needles weeks later. No child is safe to play out there and yard space when fenced is premium. I thought the bricks at Sarah and George’s home overpowering, as much as I love them personally. They needed something else to tie them in, balance them out or something. Loved all the other facades. I’d really love to see more of the building and judges comments in the edit and less drama. Scoring is tight and unfinished paintwork will never win, sadly for Tash & Harry. Almost there…!!!

  14. Firstly. I agree with everyone’s comments.what struck me was I didn’t particularly like anyone’s fence but that’s an easy fix..secondly.a garden is for peace and relaxation so upkeep should be enjoyable not hard work weeding tiny paved areas or snipping..it’s always lovely to have a shade tree also for softness and privacy.. Harry n Tash need to pull it back..I loved the others except for house 5 I was looking for roller blades. And a big brolly and the zinc! for those hot days not attractive in my view whatsoever it a felt completely uninviting and the chimney stack was so the wrong colour brick!.!!…
    They will all be no doubt magnificent homes..I would like to see more promotion on solar power rainwater tanks and water friendly showers and baths for our Country is still in drought so let’s remember that too please.thank you for reading.:)

  15. I don’t like any.
    They are all so wrong
    I am in total agreement with Kathy McClean
    What I do like is
    *the fenced veranda/ large pot( with plants not watering a different position)wired plants and grass – Harry & Tash
    *cut out brickwork and name- Jimmy & Tam
    *colour scheme, grass and external brick- Daniel & Jade
    *Door and font steps, grass Luke and Jasmin
    *grass -Sarah and George

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!

Latest Articles