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The Good Life

Television Star Garth Hystad 's faith inspires him to guide and shine as a truly effective Leader

At 9:00 on a sunny spring morning, Garth Hystad, owner of Masterpiece Outdoor Living, walks into his Castle Pines showroom. Dressed like the cowboy he is in a black polo shirt embroidered with the company’s logo, jeans, and cowboy hat and boots, he scratches the heads of a few office dogs and makes sure he individually greets each of the employees who are already busy at their desks.

“I view all the people that I add to my life as my employees as my family I get to pick,” Garth says. “My motto is, if I like you, you won't work here. I have to love you. And really, I can't just like somebody, I really have to love them. I feel like that's the basis to start with, you know? So, I'm kind of picky about the people I choose. They're my treasure.”

Garth has other treasures, too…namely his horses. On his ranch in Franktown, he breeds, trains, and rides horses competitively. “I love my horses,” Garth says. “And the thing about a horse is, it's the same as the connection with my team. First of all, you have to have the right horse, not just any horse. Then you have to establish the correct roles. If you want to ride, you have to become the leader. And there's only one leader, right? You can't both be leaders, that doesn't work. So that relationship has to be established.”

It's not surprising that Garth is his own boss and a man who likes to be in control. After being removed from his drug addicted parents by the state of Washington and surviving a childhood in the foster care system with no say in where he lived or the foster parents he lived with. Garth revels in the freedom of doing what he wants, the way he wants. “I literally was abused. But, you know, living through that is what makes you who you are, too.”

Living through that made Garth Hystad a survivor—and a leader.

Spending so much time as a little boy trapped inside a room also created an intense desire to be outside. “Through the window in that room, I could see the trees and hear the birds and so many things in nature that people don't really pay attention to. Being deprived of those things actually made it so that I am more attuned to the sights, sounds and smells than most people. I didn't have freedom, but I had the freedom to look out that window. I could only look out the window and see kids out there playing and wish I could out there with them. And I
knew that one day I would do something outdoors. Fortunately, I live in the perfect state to do that.”

After taking carpentry classes in high school, Garth was inspired to study architecture. He had reunited with his birth mother and was living with her in Black Forest while attending a local community college. And that’s when he decided to start a deck business. More than 30 years later, Garth is nationally known for designing and building luxurious, all-season outdoor spaces. “I’ve made it my lifelong commitment to really create these outdoor living spaces that bring families together. And that time together wouldn't be dictated by the season, or by the wind or the sun, or by the weather, because it's too random. And so I started developing products that would maximize the time families could spend in their outdoor space.”

And Garth likes to go big and dramatic—opening walls, installing large expanses of glass, and integrating high-end features such as kitchens, fireplaces, wine bars, and comfortable spaces for entertaining family and friends. “When these spaces have all the features the homeowners love, it draws them outdoors,” Garth explains. “And now they have something almost live a picture frame that makes the most of what they love about their property. When I
transform these homes, I also transform the lives and my clients.”

His talent transforming a simple deck or concrete patio into a luxurious, all-season space that looks like it was part of the original structure has brought him national acclaim. Beyond the many magazine articles and television interviews, Garth was offered the opportunity to host Mega Decks, a home design show that ran for five years on the DYI Network. “It was a great experience and the show was very successful, but after five years, I wanted to move on to bigger and better things. I wanted to create a TV show that inspires people and shows them all
the possibilities with my inspiring outdoor spaces in Colorado, but I also want to share the beauty in life. My team, my horses, the work we’re doing with foster kids. We're doing beautiful things.”

His opportunity to do something “bigger and better” happened when acclaimed producer and director Honnie Korngold approached him with an idea for a new TV series. “Honnie understood what I wanted to do—to have more interesting storylines that tell my story. The spaces I design, yes, but also my horses, my childhood. The whole story.”

Scenes for the pilot were recently filmed at his ranch, Warren Performance Horses, just in time to introduce viewers to his new colts. “We got see all the babies we've had this year, which I think was about 20, as they were led out in the pasture for the first time in their life. They were born in January and we filmed in mid-May,” Garth says. “And just wow. It was such an amazing moment.”

Another scene was filmed at an outdoor space he’s currently building as the series, “Deck Country,” attempts to bring together all the parts of the incredible life Garth has built from the pain and heartache of a horrendous childhood. The series pilot is set to air in 2023, but Garth will be sharing footage on his website (masterpieceodl.com) and his social media channels for anyone who wants to get a sneak peek.

“I have so many stories that are miraculous,” Garth says.“I believe they’re inspiring stories about what I had to go through, and how they made me the man I am today. And I want to share them.

“When I was stuck in that room, I just dreamed of what could be. And I would read these Louis L'Amour and Zane Grey books and escape my room by reading. I dreamed of being outdoors and being on horses, and, you know, all of those things became real for me. Now I live my life doing those things I envisioned so long ago. It’s a good life.”