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Landscaper works behind the scenes of home improvement TV show

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Landscaper works behind the scenes of home improvement TV show
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

Jeremy Hodgden hopes time he spent as a behind-the-scenes landscaping consultant for a home improvement TV show will help him make his way to the front of the camera.

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Hodgden, the owner of Northland Retaining Walls located on U.S. Highway 71 between Park Rapids and Menahga, finished donating his expertise during the filming of the show "Sweat Equity."

The TV show, hosted by Amy Matthews, shows how a homeowner can increase the value of a home with home improvement projects. It is part of the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Network, www.diynetwork.com.

Hodgden had the opportunity to help out with the show after being asked by someone at Granite Designs out of Longville, where he buys most of the materials he uses for his landscaping business.

The show was filmed in Woodbury over a few days during the last five weeks.

At the beginning of the show, the homeowner, Girish Ballolla, meets with a realtor and the show host to determine what the home value is and what projects could increase its value with the most return.

Before filming began, Hodgden met with the homeowner and helped look over a landscaping plan to figure out what materials were needed. He ended up prepping some of the landscaping off-camera to save time on-camera, he said. For example, he set up a waterfall, then the homeowner started adding blocks to it on-camera. Then, Hodgden set up more blocks off-camera so the homeowner could add the last block to show progress without filming the whole project.

After the project, the realtor determined the house value increased about $90,000, although only about $22,500 was spent. To clarify, Hodgden said many of the materials were donated because it was a TV show. If Hodgden had been hired to do the project, he said it probably would have cost between $35,000 and $45,000.

"It was a lot of fun," Hodgden said.

The experience did open up some doors with the possibility of working on other TV shows and maybe getting on camera, he said.

He probably won't end up on camera when the show airs but his name should be in the credits for helping, Hodgden said. The TV show Hodgden helped out with will probably air in the spring on DIY Network, he said.

Hodgden was surprised the project increased the home value by $90,000, but said he knows most landscaping projects are worth it.

"It goes to show that landscaping does pay," he said.

A lot of times, people are concerned about spending money on landscaping but Hodgden said "whenever you can add square footage to the outside of the house, it is increasing the value."

He specializes in patios, waterfalls and retaining walls. He works with others locally if someone wants to add plants to the landscaping, he said.

Smokey Hills Wilderness Retreat is one of Hodgden's largest projects, he said.

"I'm pretty known for my waterfall landscaping," he said.

Hodgden also works on smaller home projects. He said now is the best time to start planning for a landscaping project next spring or summer. If materials are purchased now, they are often cheaper than in the spring, he said.

Hodgden can be reached at 218-831-3609 or jeremy@northlandretainingwalls.com. His Web site is www.northlandretainingwalls.com.

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