Father Nature: 3 Lessons Learned from Working with HGTV

Business press coverage can be an interesting way to market your business and offer potential consumers and business investors a look behind the curtain. It’s why channels like HGTV are so popular. You get to watch these huge teams of professionals – usually one inside and one outside – create a dream space in a fabulous home, and see firsthand all of the details that go into the work.

It’s an honor to be singled out by a well-known media brand, but it does present some unusual challenges. This year HGTV featured a gorgeous home in the Pacific Northwest landscaped by Father Nature’s Tacoma, WA branch. The results were stunning. Brothers and President and Vice President Andrew and Daniel McCurry, have come up with three practical business lessons franchisees can learn from their experience working with video production crews and press outlets over the years.

Stay on your toes.

Andrew said a job that comes through a media outlet doesn’t always have the same defined boundaries, budgets and expectations as a traditional job. So, you have to be creative in solving problems, and learn to work effectively on the fly with a large production company.

“You aren’t working directly with a homeowner,” he explained. “The communication and creative process is different. Budget restrictions are different, and someone will be critiquing your work because the mass population will be looking at it.”

Marry your ethos and culture with the media entity.

“The way we think about design, our whole ethos and culture, we design for the family,” said Andrew.

But for the HGTV project Father Nature wasn’t actually developing the space for a specific person. The house was to be a prize in a sweepstakes. Father Nature didn’t know if children would live there, or a couple. They didn’t know anything about how the homeowners would actually live in and use the space. Therefore, that very thorough understanding of the family’s needs could not inform and direct the design work. Instead the challenge became, how can we make this property functional yet appealing to as wide a range of people as possible?

“Our goal is to try and get the family that lives in that house to live in their outside,” said Daniel. “For some people that might be a veggie garden or a cutting garden. For some it might be a fireplace and a TV. Working on a TV show, there’s less structure and more adventure. You have to take more chances.”

Design a landscape for all seasons.

Andrew said it’s important to consider when something will be shot. For instance, if a landscape photo shoot happens in winter, that landscape needs to have really good bones so that it still looks architectural without flowers and vibrant greenery to flesh out the emotion in the space.

Also, it’s okay to have a little bling – or to follow a popular trend – as long as you marry it with practicality. Keep in mind, trends can be overused. Originality endures. “When Daniel and I are looking at very well designed landscapes the best ones are extremely simple,” Andrew said. “They might have layers, but there’s no –”

“Tricks,” said Daniel.

“Yeah. Don’t try to pull all of your tricks on one job. That’s a design no no. Some customers want that,” Andrew explained. “You’ve gotta try and reel them in and educate them so their design still looks sophisticated.”

To learn more about franchising opportunities with Father Nature, click here.