Front Paige News: Backyard Envy 1

I’m not typically a “reality show” kind of person, sure I’ve been sucked into the Dance Moms world in the past, of course there’s Drag Race, and yes, most recently I have become obsessed with Below Deck on Bravo but for the most part, it’s just not my thing. And I never watch home makeover shows, mostly they just make me feel bad about the current status of my bank account and lack of homeownership. But recently I sat down to watch the new Bravo show Backyard Envy – an LGBT driven backyard makeover docu-series produced by World of Wonder – and I am here to make it clear: I am hooked.

As I mentioned, I have recently fallen into a Below Deck abyss and have binge-watched all 6 seasons on Bravo’s app, during which I saw about 40 billion ads for the new home (or rather backyard) makeover show, and I was intrigued. The show follows 3 friends: James DeSantis, Garrett Magee and Mel Brasier and their business “Manscapers New York” as they travel around New York City and surrounding suburbs to create stunning backyards, rooftops and terraces for their clients. Coincidentally, I then had the chance to speak with the trio, and the opportunity only solidified my newly found love of this show.

Front Paige News: Backyard Envy 2

Photo courtesy of Bravo

Unlike many of these shows, the three are actual friends who started their business, Manscapers, in 2013. They have a chemistry that is palpable on the show and even more so in person. 

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Photo courtesy of Bravo

James: We can all run a project from start to finish on our own, what we bring to the table is our personalities.

Garrett: James and Mel motivate me; we all lift each other up.

While each of the three is able to work projects in their entirety, they each play a specific role in the business and on the show. James is the businessman, crunching the numbers and most often handles the budget. Garrett is the plant man, creating the beautiful gardens and beds of color for each client and Mel is the badass construction lead. As a woman, one of my favorite aspects of the show is how hands on and talented she is in a male dominated career.

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Photo courtesy of Bravo

Mel: Prior to Manscapers, I worked in construction and would often go weeks without seeing another woman on the job. To young girls and women I would say: own who you are, don’t be afraid to make mistakes or ask questions, that’s how you grow.

The show is set in and around New York City, unlike most shows of it’s kind, and the team likes to call New York the “4th character” of the show.

James: The city is really what sets the show apart; we bring a very suburban task to an urban setting.

Now, if you’re like me and have never had a plant survive more than 3 days, you may watch the show and think “that’s cool, but I could never have a garden that amazing.” With that in mind, I wanted to ask Garrett for any tips he may have for those of us… less green-thumbed than others.

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Photo courtesy of Bravo

Garrett: Everyone has had a plant die on them, even me. If a plant dies, don’t let that hinder you from trying again! Try a low maintenance plant, and if it doesn’t work, try a different one.

Another refreshing twist on the norm, Backyard Envy is NOT a gimmick show. All of the clients featured on the show are real, and they all pay for the projects out of pocket. Bravo does help with some of the final staging before the “big reveal” (i.e., put that throw pillow there) but James, Garrett, Mel and their team do all of the work themselves and in a realistic budget and timeframe. They 100% value the quality of their work over anything else.

Which brings us to the final thing the cast wants to make clear: because all of the clients featured on the show are actual Manscapers clients, there is NO application for the show. If you live in or around New York, and want a chance to be featured on the show, or just to have your backyard, rooftop or terrace re-done by this truly genius team, you will have to schedule a real live consultation through their website,

In the meantime, I strongly encourage you to catch up on the series on or Bravo On Demand, where the first few episodes are streaming now. Just be prepared to have the overwhelming urge to run out and buy something green!

Also be sure to follow them on Instagram for regular updates and landscaping eye candy @manscapersny!