Skip to main content

HGTV’s Matt Blashaw Shows Us How To Update Our Homes and Yards

HGTV's Matt Blashaw is ready take on a great home renovation challenge.
Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for DIRECTV

It’s no secret that home renovation and property improvement have become top priorities for many Americans. With the housing market booming at an astounding rate and thus tons of renovations taking place, homeowners have begun to tackle projects inside and outside their homes. The Manual sat down for an interview with HGTV star Matt Blashaw to discuss all things home renovation and lawn improvement.

Naturally, getting into the construction and home improvement game can be exciting and fun, but it’s also daunting to build up the skills it takes to tackle many projects. That’s why we asked Blashaw just how he got involved himself. “I started back when I was 16 years old, so I’m close to 30 years now that I’ve been building. I just love kind of building and seeing things materialize.” But Blashaw carried his passion all throughout high school and college. Later, he got his contractor’s license and real estate license. By 2008, he was on HGTV and started DIY. “I’ve been doing years, almost 13, 14 years, 550 episodes with them,” Blashaw explained. It’s a love of the homestead that continues to drive him. That’s why Blashaw’s latest advice and partnerships strive to help people achieve just that feeling at home through smaller, more manageable projects.

Related Guides

Renovating Your Home Without Hiring Contractors

During the pandemic, people were forced to stay home far longer than anyone would have liked. This resulted in a huge uptick in home renovation projects and outdoor improvements to make the most of people’s time and space at home. “We just had a moment to take a breath on Earth, right, and say, ‘Where are we?’ So, yes, I think people are realizing, ‘OK, what’s my space?'” Blashaw said.

The answer to that question for a lot of people was to renovate, redesign, or optimize their space, which ultimately led to so many more people seeking out contractors. “Contractors are like a year out now on a lot of stuff, but I’m trying to empower people to do some stuff themselves, which I know that they can, for them to kind of reimagine their space, and then to also care about the space,” Blashaw said. But there are some projects that are just off-limits to the average homeowner. “I think you want to stay away from electrical and plumbing, right,” Blashaw joked.

Instead, Blashaw believes people should start with something more practical. “I’ve kind of empowered people to put their own pavers down. It’s a lot of work, but when it’s done, that’s something easily attainable that they can do,” Blashaw said.

To lay your own pavers, you’ll need to start by digging out a space that is the same depth or deeper than the pavers so that they lay flat. Use paver sand and a level to raise any low points to ensure a perfectly flat surface. Finish the project off by simply laying the pavers onto the prepared ground. You can similarly build a backyard fire pit by digging out a trench before building up a circular stone wall that’s later filled with sand to cover the bottom.

“It’s really important that we take little small steps at a time so you’re not getting overwhelmed because nothing is better than getting the positivity that that one project brings when you complete it and then working onto the next one,” Blashaw said. Some small-scale projects you can easily do at home to get started include painting a room, changing out cabinetry hardware or light fixtures, or even installing molding. All of these are easy to achieve with a quick visit to your local hardware store or a day of shopping for fixtures or hardware online. “Whether it’s interior or exterior, just take it off in little chunks, and try something new,” Blashaw added.

Just make sure you shop smart and invest where necessary. Buy quality gear to get the job done and remember to properly prep before taking off with any of these beginner-friendly projects such as painting the molding before adhering it to the ceiling.

Read more: Best Furniture Brands

How to Renovate Your Lawn

HGTV's Matt Blashaw woodworking with a DeWalt tool.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

As we spend more time outside now compared to the past year, it’s also easy to get started with your own home improvement outside. One home project that will instantly improve your backyard space is staining the concrete pad that is the patio. “Instead of just tearing it up, you can really beautify it with some amazing stains that are out there, semi-transparent stuff. You can bring some warmth or even kind of tone it down with some gray tones for some modern kind of appeal,” Blashaw recommended. Just like painting inside your home, you’ll simply need to prime, stain, and seal the concrete with whatever color you settle on.

But if you want to liven up the yard, start with gardening projects. “I love making what’s called pot scapes, and making this beautiful pot scape I think is something that people can do as well. This is the time when you need to start beautifying your backyard, and that’s a simple way to beautify their backyard,” he said.

To improve your outdoor space with potted plants, you can simply buy pots of different or the same sizes and colors. Then simply fill them with plants that will thrive in your environment. You’ll likely want one to fill in the base of the pot, and have one plant that will spill over the side, and one eye-catching plant to make up the mighty trio known as the “fill, spill and thrill” effect. Together in one pot and in the larger collection of plants, you’ll find adding more greenery and design through plants to your backyard can really make it feel homier.

Related Guides

While pots are an easy starting place, the lawn takes far more care than more people realize. “Tending your lawn is probably one of the most maintenance-heavy things that you’re going to put into your yard, but it looks beautiful when it’s done right. People look at if they’re watering it too much or too little, or if it doesn’t look good, let’s just fertilize it. Well, you need to go above and beyond,” Blashaw explained.

For those who really want to master their exterior, Blashaw firmly believes Spectracide should be in your arsenal. “It’s great and very effective. And especially if you’re going to be using all of these products and putting that time and effort into it, make sure that you’re teaming up with a company that’s going to make sure, just like Spectracide, that it’s actually going to work on the first-time application,” he said.

So take a word of advice from one of television’s most reputable home contractors and sources for home improvement before setting out on whatever your next goal is. You might not want to trouble yourself with finding a contractor at the moment, but you also might be surprised by what you can accomplish on your own. So start small and use the best tools on your toolbox to get the job done well the first time.

Molly Harris
Molly Harris is a freelance journalist, cyclist and outdoor enthusiast. Her work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, Lonely…
These are the best Disney Plus shows to add to your watchlist in July
Disney nostalgia and awesome new shows to stream
The Mandalorian looks out over the sun

Disney Plus has finally created a competitive library of original series that can compete with other services like Netflix and Max. It is also a treasure trove of Disney nostalgia for anyone who grew up in the 90s and early 2000s. On top of all that, the streamer has released a few of the most popular TV series to come out in recent years, and those series, on top of the deep catalog, make a Disney Plus subscription worthwhile for any viewer or Disney fan.

With content from Star Wars, Marvel, and the Disney channel all available to stream right now, there's something for everyone, whatever you might be into. If you're looking for movies, take a look at our must-see list of Disney Plus movies. Now, keep reading and check out the best Disney Plus shows you can stream this month.

Read more
The best shows on Max to stream in July
From new originals to the best shows in HBO history, these are great shows to stream on Max
Scene from Succession

HBO Max was one of the most popular streaming services in the world due to both the volume and the quality of the shows and movies on the platform. You've probably noticed when you log into HBO Max that the platform has been replaced by Max. What does this mean? WarnerMedia and Discovery have merged all of their content into one convenient location. You can still enjoy all of the shows like Succession and The Sopranos that were available on HBO Max, and this new streaming service also includes the kinds of reality shows that were available on Discovery+. Essentially, the libraries of the two services have been merged.
Whatever kind of show you're looking for, you're likely to find it on Max. From iconic dramas to some of the funniest comedies ever created, every show on this list is a must-watch, whether it's 30 years old or just came out this year. Here are the best Max shows.

The Wire (2002)

Read more
The best shows on Amazon Prime to binge in July
An ultimate list of the best shows available to stream on Amazon Prime
Alan Ritchson in Reacher.


Even if you've picked a streaming service, it can be impossible to narrow down what you're really looking for. If you've run out of the best Netflix movies and Netflix original series to watch, you'll need to find somewhere else to turn. Fortunately, Netflix is far from the only game in town. Anyone who uses Amazon Prime to get packages delivered to them quickly also has access to a library of fairly impressive shows and movies.

Read more