GLInorcal Landscape Construction

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What Is HGTV Disease?

We've been hearing the term from time to time in our industry -- HGTV Disease -- and recently several of us at GLI Norcal were in the office trying to figure out precisely what that meant.  We did a little search and talked to a few folks, and we seem to have an answer.  And the really interesting part is that the concept far predates HGTV and the Internet.

Original Image by Aernoudts Jean

So here is the general definition as we have been able to put together:

HGTV Disease
[HGTV dih-zeez] 

  1. The mind succumbing to the myriad of home improvement information, resulting in a belief that one can get a million dollar look for $50 bucks.

Okay, so maybe not $50, but you know what we mean.  Most of us have been under the spell at some time or another.  (Yes, me too.  Darn those amazing images over at!)  This really isn't a new issue at all, and predates the internet.  Remember Bob Vila and "This Old House?"  Back in 1990 some light was shed on the true cost of the projects.  Many of the shows did not claim the cost of the supplies from commercial sponsors, and in time producers had to start including small print on the end-of-episode credits.  In this one example, a refurbished home cost $200,000, but really was closer to $440,000 with free supplies, labor, etc. (You can read more about it here)  

Because of things like this, we often have an inflated idea of what a dollar will buy us in home improvement.  Which is not to say that you can't do a lot with a small budget!  But I feel bad for friends and clients when they are totally blindsided by what a project actually costs.  And I think to myself that this not only hurts the clients, but my industry as well - trust is a major component of a relationship between a contractor and client, and having this be the start point is difficult.  

So I think we should start being really up-front about costs in demonstrations, online, in print, and on TV.  This also makes a new niche for programs that can show what you can truly do with a small budget.  Will I get a garden that looks like Versailles for $500 in under a week?  Nope.  But on the other hand I won't die of shock when I see the price tag because I was well educated about costs from all my media sources.  What do you think?


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