Dean Marsico And Derek Stearns On Transforming A Backyard Into An Oasis

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From hosting HGTV and DIY Network television shows to now creating a beautiful Miami-inspired backyard oasis for NHL player and Massachusetts native Brian Boyle, former TV hosts Dean Marsico and Derek Stearns of "Rock Solid" and "Indoors Out" have designed some impressive luxury projects.

From Mirbeau Inn & Spa in Plymouth to the newly revamped Merchant's Row project in Hanover, they and their team at Hingham-based Plymouth Quarries have worked on some impressive projects. We caught up recently with them to learn some tips on transforming a yard into a luxury oasis and find out the biggest mistake homeowners make.


How did the opportunity to host "Rock Solid" and "Indoors Out" on the DIY Network come about?

Derek: My cousin is the idea man.

Dean: It only took me 40 years to get that title [laughs].

Derek: To make a long story short, we made a videotape and submitted it to every network and got rejected. DIY took a chance on us and we landed the show, "Rock Solid." Then we got "Indoors Out" and shot 200 shows. We were exhausted from traveling so we decided to take a break and do our own podcast.

Now you have your own podcast "Under Your Roof & In Your Backyard."

Derek: Nothing happens overnight, but our radio experience started way back. The idea had been in the back of our minds for some time and then we decided to go with Cumulus Media.

What are some key things you look for when transforming outdoor space into a luxury oasis?

Derek: One of the biggest things to focus on first at the front of the house is the curb appeal. The whole outdoor experience starts at the front of the house. It's what brings the most value. We do a mixture of concrete with natural stone products. A lot of people are afraid to mix. You can still have the durability, but it gives it color and helps with insulation.

How do you help guide customers in making the best choice for the home?

Dean: I live in a farmhouse in Norwell, so if I decided to go with a contemporary look, it would hurt the value. You have to decide what is the right product for the house.

Derek: Within a situation like that, the problem actually becomes the solution. We find out why they want a certain look, take ideas from that and find a solution without going away from their original idea. It's like marriage counseling [laughs].

What has been one of the biggest mistakes you have seen homeowners make when starting a new project?

Dean: It is very important to find the right people to do the work. Most top companies are booked into the fall and winter. People make the mistake of thinking they will be here to start the project on Monday. If someone can show up three days later, chances are they are not a top company. We tell people to find a top supplier and ask for a referral list. If you find a top supplier, you will educate yourself, too. At Plymouth Quarries, we are a supplier, but also a resource place as well. We have classes, help on design, offer advice and educate them. Education has become a big resource.

Derek: One big mistake people make is putting in a pool. They decide in March they want one and then they want it open by Memorial Day. It turns into an absolute disaster because they pushed it. You really should give yourself a two-year window. A lot goes into not only the planning, but the design. Many people in New England are putting heaters in their pools so they can use it from May to Thanksgiving. It really has to be thought out and planned well in advance.

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