BY LAURA MULROONEY, Neighborhood New Bureau
ST. PETERSBURG — It comes as a surprise that a person who’s taken it upon herself to travel the country and beautify bustling cities would ever live in an environment that she’d be embarrassed of.
Ya La’ford, artist and educator, and her husband Victor received a dramatic outdoor renovation from DIY Network’s “Desperate Landscapes” after being nominated as having the ugliest yard on the block.
“I never saw a yard so in need of attention,” said Eric Vaughan, friend and neighbor. “The inside of their house is fabulous; it’s as if they ran out of money to fix the outside.”
They didn’t run out of money, they just couldn’t keep anything green alive confessed La’ford.
After a grueling application process where the couple sent in photos and a video describing their yard as a sandbox with unfinished pavers and a dull appearance, “Desperate Landscapes” agreed their landscape needed to be resuscitated.
Soon boxes of furniture, plants, pavers and more started to arrive. Then came the T.V. crew, the contractors, the backhoe and family and friends. Within 24 hours their environment had become everything they imagined. The designers even incorporated La’ford’s iconic interconnecting lines in the design of the pavers.
Bold colors, that La’ford admitted would have been a risky move for her to do herself, were splashed throughout the yard via a tree hung chandelier (unsurprisingly welded by La’ford herself), a decorative metal yard divider and a variety of plants that set the stage for an outdoor living room.
The renovations also include a synthetic turf yoga zone, seashell paver walkway and a new patio.
Every time she describes their new space she smiles broadly and without restraint.
They are both humbled and blessed by the opportunity to create such a magical space with their family and friends.
“It was a gift to me that I think I give to other people with my artwork. I think this universe works itself together, you get what you give and this is definitely an example of getting what you give,” said La’ford.
The episode is set to air on DIY Network at 1:30 p.m. on April. 30.
Laura Mulrooney is a reporter in the Neighborhood News Bureau at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.