Garden renovation series with Charlie Dimmock and garden designers the Rich brothers. The team tackle an unloved and overgrown garden in Bedford.
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With her can-do attitude, love of simple gardens
-and decades of experience...
..Charlie Dimmock is one of Britain's best-loved gardeners.
Looking good, boys.
But the new kids on the gardening block are the Rich brothers.
We want to be the brothers that change people's perceptions
Winners of multiple medals at the Chelsea Flower Show...
-Oh, look at it turn.
-That's amazing, isn't it?
..the boys have become known for their dramatic outdoor spaces.
Now, these two different generations of gardening are going head-to-head.
I know they've got a gold medal, but I can come up with a few ideas.
They're meeting frustrated garden owners across the country...
The photos made it look tiny.
-It is, isn't it?
-I'm sure you've seen larger.
I don't know what to do with it.
..and will each pitch them a design based on their needs...
That looks really exciting.
It doesn't look like it could be our garden.
-..brings their design to life...
Hold on! Hold on!
-Sweet as a nut.
-..and the loser has to help them build it.
Oh, I'm getting irritated now with faffing around.
This is what happens...
-Does he ever get irritating?
-All the time.
..when different styles collide...
-Who chose these?
-One, two, three.
-This looks like your design.
..to turn garden dreams into reality.
Open your eyes.
It's amazing. It's beautiful!
So, whose garden will Charlie and the Rich brothers
be battling over this time?
This garden belongs to...
Sam and Amy.
Sam Head and her daughter, Amy,
are a mother and daughter team making a new start.
They've recently moved back into a house in Bedford
that Sam had rented out for a number of years.
Sam basically rented the house out for five years,
and although she loved the garden as it was, it sort of got away
with people that were renting it, didn't quite look after it.
I see. That's a bit of a shame.
So, she really wants to restore it back to...
-It's former glory.
She got sort of a Japanese feel, she said it had before.
I bought this house and the garden was beautiful when I moved in.
It had a lovely pond with slate stone round it.
It was a well-maintained garden, I didn't need to do much.
Obviously, things have changed now. It's just totally overgrown.
So, yeah, it just looks a bit of a mess.
Five years of neglect has left the garden in a terrible state.
There's a giant cotoneaster, wild wisteria
and a looming leylandii to deal with.
But the team are excited by its potential.
Some amazing surrounding trees, aren't there?
I mean, that one looks like it encroaches a bit on the garden,
but it's still nice and green, isn't it?
And then you've got all these big conifer...
A few more deciduous ones down here, which look really beautiful.
Now I'd like the garden to be a fun place to be,
and I'd love to see a trampoline for Amy.
Right now, though, the deck's dangerously slippy
and the grass is in an awful state -
not exactly a playground for a six-year-old.
For me to have somewhere to sit and just watch nature and the birds,
that would just be ideal.
The types of planting I'd like is Japanese.
I love the acers, but I also love colour,
so I guess it's a mixture of cottage garden and Japanese.
It's clear just what this garden could mean to Sam and Amy,
but with renovations to do inside the house, her budget is tight.
Budget wise - only £1,300.
-Sounds like quite a lot of the budget could go on the trampoline.
It would be nice to have a bit more, but we can't, so...
I guess if we can save on grass and save what I have got in the garden,
then that's great.
OK. So, it needs to be a garden for both of them.
So, for Amy to exercise, that's key for that,
but also somewhere for Sam.
Sam to relax and sort of get home from work and just chill out.
-Get it back to what she had before.
Briefed on the scale of the task ahead,
it's time for Charlie and the Rich brothers
to see this project in the flesh.
They both have to come up with a design for Sam,
so we'll be looking for clues that might give them the edge.
While Charlie gets to know Sam,
David and Harry are employing a different tactic.
They believe a garden should work in unison with the house,
so they're poking around inside.
-A very homely feel.
My kind of initial thought was maybe it's quite tight in here.
I think that was my first impression walking through the hallway to here.
I think if we can give her a space out on that decked area there,
-then you're kind of creating that indoor-outdoor feel.
And they've got quite a lot of glass as well,
so I think it's quite important opening those vistas up
into the garden.
Nice, we can definitely grab some inspiration from this.
Right, let's get upstairs.
Well, Sam, why do you want it redesigned?
Well, I've had the house rented out for the last five years
and I don't know what to do with it, really.
But what do you want from the garden?
Well, it's a north-facing garden,
so this area is actually not really in the sun, certainly in the winter.
In the summer, I get a bit of sun. But I want it to be a social garden.
I want it to be my haven, but also I want a garden for my daughter.
-Do you spend a lot of time out in the garden, then?
Well, the house being quite small,
I want this to be an extension of the house
and for us to spend quality time together.
-Do you work?
-Yes, I work full-time,
but I'm also doing a degree as well
and I'm a single mum, so to actually have the time
to design and do the garden myself was going to be hard.
But once it's done, I can maintain it and I will absolutely love it.
-It will change our lives.
-And you'll enjoy that time, bonding time,
-with Amy in the garden.
Nice. Well, Dave, I reckon this is your favourite room.
Yeah, how did you know?!
-It's quite small.
-So, again, I think we try and put a lot of emphasis
on little Amy and try and give her a real nice little area outside...
-..where she can play, you know, run around, jump around maybe.
Probably about my size, isn't it?
With limited space inside the house,
making the garden a fun and active place for Amy is critical.
But it needs to be safe because she suffers from a mild form
of cerebral palsy.
I'd really like a trampoline.
-One with a net round it?
-I don't like the net...
No, neither do I. Not in a garden.
-..but I need somewhere for her to be safe...
-..so she can't fall out,
so I'd really like it sunken.
-The in-ground ones?
-That's the budget gone then!
Charlie may be discovering what's on Sam's wish list,
but inside, the boys are more interested in her taste.
-So, I think this is Samantha's room.
-Ah, yeah, must be.
-Really light, isn't it? Kind of airy.
And also on the way in, I saw this little guy here.
So, again, I think we're going to have to draw on that Zen feeling.
The idea that the garden maybe isn't... There's nothing too bold
-or in-your-face, it's quite gentle.
-Reconnection to nature.
-All of the above.
-Yeah. Right, I think we're done.
I think we've got enough, haven't we?
Do you have a style?
Do you like wild and woolly or do you like formal...?
-I don't want wild and woolly.
-Not wild and woolly?
I do wild and woolly so well.
I do like Japanese. I lived out there for three years.
A bit cottagey, a bit shabby chic, a bit new...
-It's sort of everything.
-The garden's not that big.
It's clear what this new garden could mean to Sam and Amy,
but putting in a trampoline, a tranquil space for mum
and rejuvenating the overgrown areas all for £1,300 is going to be tough.
So, our rival designers get down to business.
Each of them has to come up with what they believe
will be Sam and Amy's perfect garden.
They will then go head-to-head and pitch their ideas.
Whoever loses has to help the winner turn their design into reality.
So, who will Sam choose?
Here we go.
Charlie clearly understands how the garden could be a special place
for mother and daughter.
Right, so, this is our design.
But this garden has to work with the house.
And that definitely plays to the boys' strengths.
The garden I want to give you design-wise is informal
but with a very strong shape to it.
So you can see, there's big sweeping curves.
Charlie's going for a bold design
that works against the rectangular plot.
But the boys are trying a different tactic.
They're focusing on what Sam and Amy need from the garden.
We really wanted to give individual spaces to the garden.
So, give yourself more of an entertainment space
where you can relax and then give Amy a kind of space at the end,
so she can have the trampoline and enjoy.
Plant wise, thinking Japanese -
Acer palmatums because you've got the contrast of foliage, colour
and the lovely mound shape.
Acers are something that I've always loved in gardens.
I've never owned any, which would be amazing cos I love the colours
and it brings back the memories of Japan.
We've got one here,
one here and one at the end of this walkway with a rock underneath,
-so there's a nice view.
Then also we have a Chinese lantern here in amongst this woodland area,
under-planted with some bamboos that do well in the shade.
And also some lovely Paeonia delavayi
cos they've got really fantastic flowers,
but the foliage is beautiful as well.
-So, it's all about the plants.
Charlie's trying to win Sam over
by appealing to her love of Japanese gardens.
But the boys want to use planting in a very different way.
And I think using birch trees, one of the key aspects of them
is that the bark has that contrast between white and black.
So even in the winter, you're going to get that lovely contrast
and colour, so you walk through this little grove of birch trees.
Adding gently-swaying silver birches will give the garden a magical feel,
which is perfect for Amy.
But this garden is for mum too, so what's in it for her?
This seating area here will be against the fence with the wisteria,
which will be scented, but then you can happily watch Amy
on her trampoline here, which snugly fits into the lawn.
We've also given you a nice little seat here,
-which you can see in that visual.
So it allows you to see if Amy is on the trampoline,
then you can just sit there.
-You could be reading a book or just watching her.
So, that's that kind of idea that it's a bit more of an isolated,
more of an intimate space.
What we've done also, we've given you this nice ornamental meadow
on one side, which will encourage wildlife.
And what's so nice about that is it changes throughout the season,
so you'll get different colours popping up.
That meadow brings so much and it's a lovely detail,
layering within the garden and very low-maintenance -
you just cut it down once a year.
And then on the other side, we're going to give you some really nice
natural planting, pulling colours from Amy's room like pinks,
so it's quite vibrant. It will help just lift this space a bit.
Charlie and the boys have done their best.
Now, it's all up to Sam.
Well, they're absolutely amazing, but they're so different.
I love the curves on this one.
But I like this extending the garden out to the back
and using this, cos this is very much a sun trap,
so it's very light out there and warm
and taking the grass to the edges, which would be great.
I never really wanted the trampoline to be part of the garden,
hence why I want it sunken.
But there's going to be flowers around it, which I love.
So that's perfect.
Will she be won over by Charlie's curvy Oriental style,
with its statement acers,
or the boys' magical woodland garden with its elegant birch trees?
It's her money and her choice, and only one design can win.
-Oh, the nerves are building.
-Here we go! I feel sick now.
Who's it going to be?
-I've decided to go with...
I've chosen yours.
Harry and David's faces say it all.
Not only did they really want this one,
they now have to help Charlie build her garden.
And she's going to need them because in a space like this,
a £1,300 budget won't go far.
It's the first day of the build.
Whilst Charlie makes some final adjustments to her design,
she's sent in project manager Kate and landscapers Scott and Adam
to deal with the first big challenge of the build -
cutting back the massively-overgrown shrubs and trees,
starting with the gargantuan cotoneaster.
Right, Kate, I think we're going to have to make a decision
-as to how much we're taking off this.
-Or if we're keeping it at all.
-The problem is, there's three separate bushes.
-Sam wants them all to go.
Charlie wants to keep it.
She wants us to cut it back hard,
-so even lower than we've done at the moment.
-Right, I see.
-My issue is, there's one, two, three separate bushes here.
The one at the end, I think -
and I'll be happy to tell Charlie this -
has to come out.
Spring is a good time to prune cotoneaster,
but if a scalping is too drastic,
you can cut a third back each year and rejuvenate it gradually.
In an even worse state are the conifers at the back of the garden.
Two have been planted so close together
that one has died and has to come out completely.
So, Scott, I'm really pleased now the dead conifer's out.
Yeah, so am I. And so much more light's going to get in here
now we've cut that tree down.
Pruning shrubs and trees is one thing,
but Charlie has set the landscapers an even bigger challenge
before she arrives.
She wants them to start reshaping the deck.
Once seen as a cheaper alternative to paving,
decking has become a dependable and versatile staple
of the British garden.
And today's decking comes in a bewildering range
of colours and styles.
You can even buy plastic deck that looks like wood
but lasts a lifetime.
Decking is ideal for creating different zones in a garden,
from dining areas to lounges...
..and laid correctly, can improve the shape of a garden.
Boards laid left to right add width to a plot,
laid lengthways give the illusion of length
and laid diagonally make the space seem bigger.
In Charlie's design,
the deck is curved to match the shape of the trampoline.
But with no money for new boards,
the team have to cut the old deck to match what's on paper.
The shape on Charlie's drawing is going to come off there...
Messing up the deck will ruin the look of the new garden,
so Adam and Scott are anxious to get it right.
That's now too far out.
What we need to do is shorten it up, and that brings us through there.
-That is it.
-Yeah, I reckon.
All right. Measure twice, cut once, remember.
Once the marking-out is finished,
Kate takes a bird's-eye picture to send to Charlie for approval.
And while waiting to hear, Scott shares another concern he has.
My worry is that there may be a patio underneath here
cos often people lay decking over patios.
Who knows what's under there. Next door have got a patio,
-the next one along's got a patio.
-Ah, right! All likelihood is...
-There's possibly one under here.
-..they moved into a patio
and just built over the top of it.
-And covered it straight over the top, yes.
At least Kate has some good news from the boss.
Great news, just heard back from Charlie
and she's absolutely happy with the curve of the design on the deck,
so next thing is get cutting.
Adam's marked out the chalk line on the decking area
and I'm now going to cut along Adam's chalk line with my jigsaw.
But if there's a patio underneath,
it could take days to remove it and re-prep the area for planting,
which will blow the budget completely.
Now time to pull up this decking and find out what we've got underneath.
But it's good news, there's not a paving slab in sight.
It is basically sharp sand and stone.
The team may have got lucky this time,
but with problems appearing round every corner...
..Charlie and the Rich brothers have arrived
to take control of proceedings.
And because her design was chosen, Charlie's in charge.
So design-wise, I mean, at the moment,
the garden's very blocky,
so I want to try and create a bit more of a sweep
and a sway to the garden.
So, it's just not...blump.
They have cut the deck, haven't they? Which looks lovely.
Yeah. So, accentuate that more with the lawn.
And even with the paving, I want a bit of, you know, movement in it.
-Yeah, cos having a circular trampoline,
it's all going to play off that, isn't it?
So it should lock the design all together
with those curves and circles and arcs.
And you're going to tell me now that me and Dave have to dig out
-The digger's round the corner, isn't it?
No, you're the diggers!
-I'm quite looking forward to it.
-You're always looking forward to it.
-I know. I always like doing gardens...
-Does he ever get irritating?
-All the time.
While the boys brace themselves for the big dig,
Charlie has to run a couple of queries by Sam.
Sam, let's talk plants and trampolines.
-I mean, you're not mad on it, are you?
-No, I don't like it at all.
-No. OK, so I think we take it out too.
-Is that the right answer, is it?
-Yes, it is!
I was dreading you saying that we wouldn't take it out.
I'm keeping it. This is my garden, not yours.
-It's staying in.
-You're keeping it?
-No, I'm joking with you.
I'm teasing. So, yeah. OK, we'll take that right out there,
which will gain a bit more space.
Now, our next discussion is the trampoline.
The trampoline she's ordered is big,
so she wants to make sure Sam's happy with its destination.
I'm going for a yin and yang feel,
so we've got a circle of lawn here and a circle of lawn there.
So, the trampoline, I'm thinking, fits in about here.
I love it there, just hopefully go a little bit further out
-because of the sun.
So I want it to be somewhere where it's going to be warm.
-Right. So, probably about here.
Moving the trampoline will mean some tinkering to the design,
but Charlie knows from experience
that it's best to keep the client happy.
Here comes Boss.
-Somewhere about there?
The trouble starts now.
We've only just started and she's already saying no.
Got to go that way. God, it's a bit bright and breezy, isn't it?
-Right, lift her up.
-It's big, isn't it?
-It is, yes.
-It's a nice size, though.
But that's what Sam wants, so....
You didn't need the trampoline.
The first job is to cut a circle, so they can create a neat hole
for the trampoline to fit into.
Meanwhile, Charlie's in the undergrowth
at the far end of the garden.
Get enough space so I can stand up.
This conifer is really dominant in the garden,
but I want to make it look a little bit more attractive,
so I'm going to take off some of these lower branches,
which is called crown lifting,
and then you'll see a bit more of the trunk
and it will open up this border a bit more.
We won't really be able to grow anything under here,
but we can put some shale
and that will make it look...that Japanese feel to it.
So, before Charlie can think about adding any new Japanese plants,
she's got her work cut out tackling the unruly bunch
that are there already.
I can see out now. Hello!
Meanwhile, the boys have been reduced to hard labour.
But at least they're smiling...for now.
-There's a new bit here. Catch this one now.
-Here you go, mate.
You watch this one clean cut now.
People will be like, "He's strong."
Have to have a sub after this line.
My noodle arms are tired.
But David's found a silent assassin lurking beneath the turf.
Oh, it's a chafer grub, isn't it?
They live under your lawn, basically, and they eat the roots.
Is there any way of getting rid of them?
There's some sachets you can buy from any garden centre.
-Just pour the sachet into a watering can.
If you've got a bigger lawn, you'll have to use...
A bigger watering can!
Time to get back to work. That hole is not going to dig itself.
Flip her up. Ehh.
Join the circus.
To save money, Charlie wants the boys to make use of any spoil
they dig up.
So, we've cut a really nice curve with this deck,
but it has revealed the bearers underneath.
So, we're also digging out for the trampoline,
so we're going to re-use that soil and put it in here,
so it kind of masks and rises the level up as well.
So it's going to kind of create this really nice finish.
-Coming through, coming through.
Starting to crack. It's going.
Just got to get it out of the garden now.
Roll it...she says.
Having pulled up the turf,
the boys are on to part two of the sunken trampoline project.
We're digging the trench around the outside at the moment,
and this is for the legs to go on, of the trampoline.
And then we're going to dig a concave shape in the middle,
so that when you're bouncing on the trampoline,
you don't hit a hard surface.
So we've followed the instructions for this individual trampoline,
but other manufacturers will have different instructions,
so read them cos safety never takes a day off.
And neither does Charlie.
With such a limited budget,
she's trying to rejuvenate as much of the existing garden as possible.
And now it's the turn of the wild wisteria.
Sam says it doesn't flower, but then she's never pruned it,
so my aim is to untangle some of it and then train it along the fence,
so that will help cover it and it will be easier to prune.
Charlie's hoping that once it's in bloom in May and June,
the wisteria will bring this dull fence to life
while enhancing the Japanese theme in the garden.
Whatever the style of your garden,
if you've got an expanse of fence or wall to cover,
flowering and evergreen climbers are a great option.
Clematis comes in all shapes and sizes
and different varieties flower at different times.
And evergreens like euonymus and ivy will provide a lush green backdrop
all year round.
This is good.
And it's not raining, yay!
Don't say things like that!
When attempting to train a plant along a fence or wall,
give it a really secure framework to grow against.
Using galvanised wire and vine eye screws ensures the wire stays taut
and strong enough to support the mature wisteria.
The other thing about training flowering plants horizontally
is it makes them want to flower.
So, if you had a climbing rose,
if you bend it down and train it horizontally,
you get a lot more flower buds initiated along the side shoots.
That's about spot on. Lovely.
But with Charlie fussing over the old parts of the garden,
Kate's getting nervous about the new parts of the design
that have yet to go in.
-Adam, Charlie, can I have a word?
-Yeah, of course.
Well, that sounded official, didn't it?
-I really want to push on with the lawn...
Getting it shaped, using the turf cutter
so we can just keep going, keep going.
What we need to know is the shape that you want.
-You're getting my disease...
-We're the only two women on site.
-You've got to keep moving.
-So, for me, let's keep tight to the photinia.
-So you sort of think, "Oh, I wonder what's round the corner?"
But the key bit is when you swing round around the trampoline.
-That has got to be a really nice S.
-Think yin and yang.
-We did say that, didn't we?
-We did say that, yeah.
Japanese theme. That's how I'm selling it.
Meanwhile, there's still no sign of a sunken trampoline,
just a chain gang hard at work.
A digger would have cost around £130 for a day hire,
so to save money, Charlie's relying on the boys' muscles.
But there's a setback - they've hit heavy clay
and the smiles are starting to fade.
So, can you see the yin and the yang now?
-Or are you just dizzy from all the digging?
-Pretty tough old work, this.
-This is heavy, heavy clay.
But once this is dug, we're away, I think.
I mean, that looks way better.
It is taking shape, isn't it?
Turf can soon go down there.
-We'll keep digging.
-You're almost there, aren't you?
Yeah, we're almost done. Just got to dig the middle out
-and then trampoline in.
-Good. That's it. Get to the best bit, planting.
Oh, I thought you were going to say lunchtime.
That's the best thing about being the boss,
somebody else does the digging.
I'll pop that just there.
The boys are moaning.
Look at that. They say it's clay when you can roll it like that
and you can squeeze it and it doesn't crack.
And then you can roll it into a long sausage
and you can wrap it round your finger without it breaking.
That says it's clay.
Clay can be tough to manage,
particularly if you're planting in it.
So, digging in compost will improve the texture
and make it more manageable.
Charlie's design calls for a long curved bed on the left-hand side,
so Scott's unleashed his turf cutter to whip the lawn into shape.
They can be hired for about £60 per day
and make light work of a back-breaking job.
Meanwhile, Charlie and Adam are on to the next phase of the build,
Get posts in for the bamboo.
-I'm hoping we can attach it to here.
-Yeah. We'll jump over.
So hop over my little hedge,
and then what do you think, with two posts?
-Shall we have a quick measure?
-Go on, then.
Now the cotoneaster's gone,
Sam's garden and the next-door neighbour's are rather open-plan.
So, Charlie's used some of the £1,300 budget
to buy some bamboo screening.
But before it arrives, the fixing posts need to go in.
If it's not properly supported, it will act like a sail in the wind
and be blown down in no time.
Meanwhile, the boys are almost there.
La-la-la-la, bamboo coming through.
Looking good, boys.
Almost looks like a piece of sculpture.
We won't want to put the trampoline in now, it looks so good.
Yeah, I know. Major engineering works, that looks.
-It's been quite hard, actually.
It's been a bit of a battle, but we've won.
So you're not going to be jumping in
to put in in-ground trampolines anywhere?
-Only when there's a digger.
-Not by hand.
Everyone should know that, it's more difficult than it looks.
It's all coming together. Right, I'll get out of your way, Scott.
Charlie and Adam can now construct a framework for the bamboo screen.
So we have our post, we have a spirit level,
we have some postcrete,
-we have a lovely big hole...
-And I've got some water.
..and we've got some water and we've got a stick to tamp it down.
That's all you need.
First, they pour postcrete into the hole...
-Hold on, hold on, hold on.
-Oh, hang on a second.
Right, tamp away.
..keeping an eye on the spirit level to make sure the post is upright...
Just need some water, then.
..and then add water to make it set hard.
-Is that all right?
-Oh, I'm happy with that.
-It's like we planned it.
-How did that happen, Stanley?
-Right, I'll put the last little bit in.
How long have we got to leave these posts?
-About 20 minutes, I'd say.
-About long enough to have some food.
Is that a subtle hint that you want lunch?
Always want lunch, me.
Relieved from digging duties,
Dave has moved on to another key part of Charlie's design -
the stepping stone path.
These concrete slabs look like wooden sleepers
but are much longer lasting.
This part of Charlie's design provides the perfect spot
for a bench and leads to the woodland area at the rear.
It gives quite nice natural edging.
It doesn't look too contemporary. It's got a nice kind of frayed edge.
And at the moment, she's got this kind of flint running through,
but you could easily have planting that would really soften it
and that would really naturalise the shape.
David's laying them on a dry mix of sand and concrete.
Moisture from the earth below and rain over the coming days
will set the mixture.
-You can zoom in on that happily.
-It's actually level!
-So, what's so nice about this area
is that it's got two varied materials.
So we've got the concrete sleepers and we've got the slates.
And that adds a bit of texture, a bit of interest.
You've got these in a kind of stepping stone style.
And especially with this slate here,
it really emphasises the Japanese style that Charlie's going for.
And it looks like the boss approves.
-Yeah, I like that.
-I like that. That's good.
-Yeah, you happy with the spacing, with the lines?
How come you went for the whole jiggery-pokery look?
I didn't want it to be too formal,
-cos this bit for me is sort of leading into the woodland area.
It's where she can sit and relax and watch Amy on the trampoline.
Evening sun, but a bit of dappled shade,
-so I didn't want it too formal...
-..with the hard curve.
Yeah. Cos it definitely detracts away from the contemporary,
-Once you start that more cottagey feel.
-Lovely. I'll crack on.
Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the garden, the fence posts are set,
so Charlie can get on with erecting the screening.
-Do we need to go behind that post?
-Oh, you're so clever.
I thought before you roll it all out
and I have to tell you to pull it back again...
This screening won't last forever,
but it will do the job for a good four or five years,
because it's the thicker-slatted bamboo.
If bamboo isn't right for your garden,
similar screening is available in other finishes,
like brushwood and reed.
So, we've got some slate.
Just as I finish as well, good timing.
-Don't step on them.
-I won't, don't worry.
Time to get it in.
Oh, I've noticed that's Welsh slate there.
-The best form of slate.
The best form of slate, best form of man, aren't they?
Really? How do you know?
Well, definitely the best slate.
-I know Dave, Dave knows me.
-What do you think of these together?
-It's nice cos it gives it a usable surface, doesn't it?
You could have turf running through them
if you wanted a more natural look,
-but these look really realistic as well.
-I thought they were wood.
-It's nice also having a couple down there as well.
-It just leads your eye down the space, doesn't it?
The whole path, a journey created through the garden, yeah.
But there's no time for the boys to rest.
Charlie needs them to finish the trampoline.
Look at that, like a glove.
Are you going to put a level on it, do you think?
Yeah, shall we check it?
All we need is an 8ft piece of wood.
Now the moment of truth.
-How does that look?
-Trampolines like this come complete with a collar
designed to stop the sides of the hole from collapsing.
But with a lot of the garden still to do,
Charlie's getting frustrated.
Come on, let's rock and roll. I'm getting irritated now
with faffing around all day long doing this trampoline.
While the springs of the trampoline go in,
Harry's moved on to finishing the deck.
Since it's mostly in the shade, it's prone to algae,
which can make it slippery, so he's making it safe.
I'm painting it with a non-slip paint,
and that's really going to add a lot more grip to it
and it's actually going to maintain the wood as well.
There are lots of different ways of tackling an issue like this.
If you can't get any anti-slip paint,
you can also use varnish. And when you put that on,
before it dries, you can sprinkle sand on top,
so that gives you a really nice kind of grippy surface.
Now all the grunt work is over,
it's time to bring some green into this garden.
Charlie won Sam over to her design
with the promise of Oriental trees and shrubs,
evoking happy memories of her time in Japan.
But this type of planting is not easy to carry off.
So, if you want to bring the spirit of the Far East to your garden,
it pays to do some research.
At the Big Plant Nursery, in Sussex,
they specialise in the type of hardy exotic plants
that are found in Oriental gardens.
I mean, the very traditional plants would be
Ilex crenata, cloud tree formed,
Pittosporum tobira, which is a mock orange -
it's very fragrant,
Bamboo has to be one of the archetypal plants
that we associate with an Oriental garden.
But it has a bad reputation for spreading like crazy.
Some bamboo can be invasive.
For instance, phyllostachys types can send runners out.
Not always. In different conditions, they'll do different things.
When dry, they can start searching for water.
In nice moist situations, they're not so bad.
Runners are horizontal stems that are sent out
just underneath the surface of the soil
and produce new plants along their length.
So, if it's phyllostachys that you want to grow,
put it in a pot, but remember that it will outgrow its container
The time to pull it out and divide it is springtime.
Not all bamboo is badly behaved.
Clump-forming varieties are much more manageable.
Excellent bamboo for an Oriental-style garden
is Fargesia jiuzhaigou, which is clump forming, has dark canes
and has a fountain-type habit.
It's very soothing and sympathetic.
Another look associated with Oriental gardens
is a form of topiary called cloud pruning.
Cloud pruning literally mimics cloud formations in the sky,
which is easily achievable with many plants from the Orient,
such as the Ilex crenata here or, certainly, pine trees.
Also, Ilex crenata, being from the holly family,
does take to pruning very well.
It recovers well, it heals well and you do get a lovely overall effect.
To create these forms can take many years,
but it is a fantastic statement in your garden and worth the effort.
A stalwart of any Oriental planting scheme is the acer.
Sam fell in love with them when she spent time in Japan,
so Charlie's got some fab specimens to add to her new garden.
So plant-wise, we've got some really key plants in the garden.
We've got some beautiful Japanese maples.
And I want them to stand alone so they're like specimen planting.
So there's one just on the edge of the deck,
so you see the lovely curved shape of it.
Then there's another one over by the kitchen window.
Again, it's a lace-type one with a red foliage.
Then we've got another one over there.
So, they're dotted round the garden and we want to highlight them.
Because the budget's a little on the tight side,
the planting's quite sparse, but we're putting in key plants
to sort of highlight the features in the garden.
So these low black grasses will highlight the paving here
and then most of the planting is on the far side
as a backdrop to the trampoline.
I love these lace maples.
-They're delicate, aren't they?
-This being a shadier garden,
the leaves will be much happier.
They don't like full, full sun.
Is it because they're quite fine?
They're fine because they're naturally from woodland.
-They're the under-planting in woodland...
-..so they're protected like hostas and all the woodland plants.
Gorgeous. A lovely bit of colour, isn't it?
To keep the budget on track,
Charlie's sacrificed a few plants for some new turf.
Most of the grass in Sam's garden is OK, but where the deck came up,
there's a big gap.
With the statement acers planted,
Charlie moves on to the undulating bed she has created
down the left-hand side of the garden.
So this border here,
I've got some evergreens for structure,
things like the nandinas and the fatsia.
But then I've got some plants to add some colour,
so these are day lilies or hemerocallis.
They have this very fountain-like foliage
and then come up with big flower spikes for most of the summer,
and the flowers are big trumpet orange flowers.
So that runs all the way through the border.
This garden has been a leap into the unknown.
There have been potential disasters under every board
and behind every overgrown shrub.
And thanks to the trampoline, the muscles are aching.
But as the finishing touches go in, Sam and Amy's new garden is done.
In its former guise, this garden was neglected and drab.
Five years without care had left shrubs massively overgrown
and the deck dangerously slippy.
It was far from the fun and relaxing space
mum and daughter so badly needed.
Now, it's a place for happy memories.
With no money for a new deck,
the old one has been salvaged and reshaped
to fit with the curves of the new design.
Charlie used nearly half the £1,300 budget
on statement Oriental-style plants
that bring the foreground of the space to life.
And £250 on concrete wood-effect sleepers
for her elegant new pathway.
The overgrown cotoneaster has been replaced with a bamboo screen,
providing much-needed privacy.
But best of all, there's a new trampoline.
Putting it in may have been a blister-inducing labour of love,
and at £300, used up almost a third of the budget,
but it's the one thing Sam wanted for Amy.
Sam's dream was for her garden to be a fun place for Amy
and a relaxing haven for her.
It's time to see if Charlie's design has delivered.
Charlie's bringing them out.
Eyes closed, leading them out into their garden.
Do you want to open your eyes?
-Oh, my God.
Oh, my God.
Oh, she looks so happy.
It just looks so different.
It looks just beautiful.
I think she should be super pleased.
Yeah, look at that, super big grin.
-So we've created some little areas for you.
This, budget-wise, we were a bit tight.
So basically, you're going to have to save up for a seat
-cos this is a fantastic sun trap.
And that wisteria, just train it all the way along.
-How did you do that?
-A bit of pruning.
And then we want to draw your eye round the garden,
so that you'll wander down here.
And the way we've done the paving,
it sort of draws... You want to go, "What's round there?"
And we've got the hellebores and woodland plants.
-And lots of acers.
And do you think Amy will like the trampoline?
Oh, that is just amazing.
-And it fits in, doesn't it?
And then, come, this is my favourite bit down here.
-I thought this would be a wonderful place for a Wendy house.
Clearing that up, it's made a natural little area out of it,
hasn't it? Because before it looked horrible.
-Oh, I love this. A little hideaway.
-A little hideaway.
-Shall we get Amy out?
Can I go on it now?
-Pointing straight to the trampoline.
-Can't wait to get on the trampoline.
-Oh, the trampoline works, thank God.
This garden has been a challenge on a limited budget
for two clients with very different requirements...
The garden is half Sam's, half Amy's,
and I think they will get years of enjoyment.
Just overwhelmed by it, actually.
The impact it will have on our lives is huge.
Just to have the extra space, it seems...
the garden seems to have grown as well.
So to have lots of friends over, to entertain,
to have lots of kids - now is going to be an opportunity to do that,
whereas before we couldn't, really.
They've done an amazing job. It looks fantastic.
I've got to say - £1,300, I am very impressed.
It's a really, really cool garden, Charlie.
Apart from that digging we had to do.
THEY LAUGH ..and they couldn't be happier.
Charlie Dimmock and the Rich Brothers are in Bedford, competing to design a garden for busy single mum Sam and her six-year-old daughter Amy. The garden is overgrown, unloved and badly in need of some TLC. Sam dreams of a trampoline for Amy, a seating area for herself and a colour-filled oasis bursting with oriental style plants.
However, money is tight, and with a budget of just £1,300 the designers have to pull some tricks out of the bag to make the most of what is there already. They have tips on rejuvenating huge overgrown shrubs, a cost-effective way of replacing a tumble-down boundary fence and ideas for breathing new life into an old slippery deck.