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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?

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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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Comments

58 Responses

  1. I agree with your comments 100%. But I’d go a step further: it’s ALL bogan aspirational, derived rubbish. ‘Trying’ to emulate a period is simply bad taste. And they’ve all failed. That ugly, dangerous stone/cactus garden is hideous: as an adult, you can’t be ironic for very long and it will look ridiculous from about now onwards. I get that the show is for the mass-market (and whose ‘design’ tips will be followed by thousands across Australia), but seriously, are we so backward here that we need these TV shows to tell us what is good vs. poor design? PS. The winners house (Tam and Jimmy) is simply bizarre. Uncontextualised design, random ‘pops’ of the 50s – it’s an impractical house and not designed to be lived in at all. No wonder the first buyer fell through, it was bad value at any price

  2. 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

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