My backyard is pretty basic. I don’t have the creative mind, time, or patience needed to change it into the oasis I deserve. If you can sympathize with my pain, there is a show that just might be able to lift our blues. Peacock’s Backyard Blowout offers hope for those families whose backyard deserves some fun and tender, loving care. However, this show comes with a twist. It’s up to the children of the family to plan, organize, and deliver a renovation that will knock the socks off of their parental units.
These children come up with some wild ideas, from zip-lines to underwater tree houses. It’s up to the show’s hosts, Sana Garner and Jonathan Kidder, to guide them into creating a space that the whole family can enjoy. What better way to use children’s imaginations to foster family bonding?
Garner, a San Francisco Bay Area native, is a whiz at transforming the mundane into innovative living spaces. BGN spoke with Garner via telephone about pushing creativity, maintaining enthusiasm, and how caring kids can be.
How do you spark creativity for the kids to get their ideas rolling and get them excited about the renovations in the backyard?
Kids, in general, have so much enthusiasm. They know the premise of the show, so these ideas were percolating in their minds. I try to hype up kids. My background used to be dance, so I get really wiggly and we start jumping around. We just start getting extremely silly, and then I begin asking them all kinds of questions. Then I ask them even more over-the-top questions. I help them make up really, really ridiculous over-the-top ideas to push their thinking farther and farther. Some of the kids did think a little bit too practically, and we had to push them to go bigger.
When you do push them to go bigger and they have these grand ideas, how do you reel that back in without dampening their excitement?
That’s a good question. We talk to them about the experience of what the backyard is going to be like for their family. You know, how it’s going to bring their family together and all the different elements that are there to support their parents individually, their families together, and that gets them really excited. The kids are really empathetic to their parents’ needs and wants too. Once we framed it in the context of, “We loved your ideas and we’re going to incorporate some of these, but we would need years to do this right,” they understood and they got on board. It was really great!
Did the kids naturally consider how to make the area fun and inviting for the whole family?
They did! It was really touching to see how much the kids were dialed into their parents’ needs, and really humbling, too, because I’m a mom. I would love to raise such an empathetic child. It was really sweet.
Are the parents often worried about what their children might do to their backyard?
If they were, they didn’t communicate that to us. More so they would sometimes hear sounds in the backyard, and then they’d ask, “Are you guys using power tools?” The kids would definitely, definitely not tell their parents they were using them even though everything was super safe. [Laughs.] It was more worrying about safety than what was happening to their backyards.
How much time did it actually take to complete these transformations?
Each backyard was remade in a week.
Did you have any families that were not that thrilled about what was done?
All of the responses were super positive. I think it was because, again, these ideas came from their kids, so it wasn’t some outsiders telling the kids what their ideas should be. The parents were really proud that their kids took on these large-scale design/build projects and had them actually materialize. They were excited about the designs and the kids were dialed into the families, so it was a win-win for everybody.
If I borrow someone else’s children, can you come renovate my backyard?
Oh, we did make a doggy obstacle course! If you’ve got little furry kids, we can go wild. [Laughs.]
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Celestial Holmes is passionate about the power of prose, and she uses it to uplift her people for various Afrocentric outlets. She is also a published author, writing under the pseudonym Mbinguni.