Scripps Networks, NBC Seek America's Ugliest Backyard

In time for the spring gardening season, Scripps Networks'

DIY Network

is teaming up with NBC's Todayon America's Most Desperate Landscape Search, a contest to find the nation's most awful yard.

The NBC morning show will feature the four most offensive yard-owners and award the winner a makeover from DIY host and licensed contractor Jason Cameron.

Candidates can upload photos and videos of their sorry yards to DIY's Web site through April 21. Cameron will appear in segments through May 8, when the four finalists will compete in landscaping challenges. The winner will be announced June 5 with before-and-after footage of the renovation.

The stunt will promote DIY's Desperate Landscape series and is part of a burgeoning partnership between the do-it-yourself cable network and Today. Earlier this year, DIY premiered Today Show Tips, a compilation of the show's best home-improvement segments hosted by its co-anchor, Natalie Morales, as well as Amy Matthew, a licensed contractor and DIY host. The show is produced by NBC News unit Peacock Productions.

For DIY, aligning with Today is part of an ongoing effort to raise the network's brand awareness. Over the past year, DIY has grown its distribution to nearly 50 million and its ratings by 50% in total day and primetime as it has eased out all in-studio, how-to programming and ushered in entertainment-based shows.

The latter includes like the docu-soap Under Construction, which follows a Brooklyn construction company, and Yard Crashers, in which host Ahmed Hassan ambushes customers in home-improvement stores and makes over their landscapes.

DIY said it is benefiting from the sluggish economy. Tough times and a slow real estate market have led Americans to invest in improving their current homes, rather than sell at deflated prices.

“The goal is growth, pure and simple,” DIY general manager Kathleen Finch said. “Our goal is not to make DIY something you need, but something you want.”

For Peacock, the DIY pairing is part of an expansion over the past 18 months that has led to deals with some 30 networks. What started as mainly an in-house production company for the NBC-owned networks has grown to make programming for A&E Network like Intervention in Depth: Heroin Hits Home and TLC's Dateline: Real Life Mysteries.