Garden renovation series. Charlie Dimmock and the Rich brothers compete for a budget of £2,000 to design a back garden for different generations living under the same roof.
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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 of gardens.
Winners of multiple medals at the Chelsea Flower Show...
Oh, good turn. 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...
Wow! ..and budget.
That looks really exciting.
It doesn't look like it could be our garden.
The winner... Ta-da!
ALL: Whoo! ..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. We're sort of 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. Yeah!
..to turn garden dreams into reality.
Wow. Open your eyes.
Wow! It's amazing.
Today, Charlie and the Rich brothers are competing over a garden
that has to work for two different generations.
So, this is a really lovely story.
It's the family home and garden.
Jackie grew up there, but Jackie and Neil had gone away,
have come back now to live with dad Mervyn...
..and they've bought the house off him
to look after him in his old age. Nice.
Yeah, this is where I actually grew up,
I got married from here...
..and it's always... I've always been very sentimental about it.
Once they decided to move back in with 88-year-old dad Mervyn,
Jackie and Neil sent the builders in for several months
to give the house a much-needed face-lift.
Now that the house renovation is almost complete,
the garden is starting to look rather dated by comparison.
Although there's lots of memories, it looks a bit boring.
She wants something that says,
"Come and sit in me. Isn't this lovely space?"
Is the garden for Mervyn, as well? Yeah, Mervyn loves the garden,
so we've got to think about the three of them.
It's not just... Not just those two. ..Jackie and Neil.
Jackie's dad Mervyn has lived here for more than 40 years.
I used to love the garden cos I was into the birds, as well.
I had tame blackbirds come and sit by the side of me.
Actually, he's still around here now.
I know it's him cos he's got a white spot on his side.
It'd be nice to have somewhere for Dad to be able to come out
and sit down and relax.
Unfortunately, right now, the garden doesn't suit anyone's needs.
Apart from a treasured magnolia tree,
it's become a collection point for leftover building materials,
and Jackie's eclectic mix of garden ornaments.
There is a lot of clutter. Yeah.
And when you've got nice features like this magnolia tree,
you don't need to do too much, do you?
The work on the house
has left a serious dent in Neil and Jackie's finances,
so they only have a limited budget for the garden.
Do you want the really good news? Oh, is it budget?
THEY LAUGH How did you know I was going there?
It's not vast... OK. ..but you've got a good structure.
Am I selling this to you? Yeah. Yeah. OK!
OK. That's not too bad.
I think, for them, it's got to be, you know,
that there's light at the end of the tunnel.
We've had the builders up to here, we want our garden back. Yeah.
So, that's the challenge.
Now it's time for Charlie and the boys to battle it out
for the right to make over the garden.
They both have to come up with a design
that they hope will deliver the perfect garden
for Jackie, Neil and Mervyn.
The family will then choose a winner,
and the losing designer has to swallow their pride
and muck in to help build it.
Now Charlie and the boys are heading to Herefordshire
to unveil their finished designs.
It's time for the pitch.
Charlie appreciates how big a role
this garden has played in Jackie's life...
Keep calm! Keep calm! THEY LAUGH
..but the boys suspect the remodelled house
reflects their desire to look to the future.
So, we wanted to create individual rooms
and maybe create that journey between them, as well.
So, to give the garden a purpose, you have to travel round it.
And we wanted to reflect the interior, so keep it quite modern,
quite contemporary, a little bit quirky, in a way.
And one of the ways we've done that is through the paving line.
Oh, wow. Yes!
So, your magnolia,
I wanted to highlight that focal point even more.
So, I've put a lovely seat -
circular seat - underneath it,
and then I was going to use your leftover paviours
to pave under there,
to tie your patio area in with underneath the seating.
So, picking up on the timber theme,
I'm going to have some upright organ pipe posts,
and they're going to be dotted around in the borders
to give some height and structure there. Brilliant.
What we wanted to do was bring the planting
so it kind of hugs the paving. Yeah.
So, you know, you've got nature coming up to you.
So, it's a nice way of softening this quite contemporary feel.
And in the evening, the sun comes round to there.
Yeah. It'll be a really special spot, yeah.
The Rich brothers have gambled on spending all the budget in one area,
which means they can invest in some feature plants.
We've focused on giving you a specimen acer tree,
and then two cornus shrubs.
What's so good about these two cornus shrubs is going to give...
It's got berries, so, again, it's going to attract birds
into that little space
and it's going to be a very natural little haven.
Dad would like that, as well. He'd love it. Yeah, definitely.
But Charlie has redesigned the whole garden...
You've got lovely planting here,
but I wanted to sort of really glam it up
by using things like iris, agapanthus, alliums.
..and she's about to reveal her trump card.
And with all your lovely bits and bobs...
Junk. Not junk, or tat!
We can use those to create focal points around the garden.
It looks really good. It's lovely. It's covered everything.
Yeah? I think so.
The pitch is over.
Now it's up to Jackie and Neil.
I would never even have thought of doing something like that.
Only one of the designs can win,
so will Jackie and Neil plump for
the Rich brothers' private seating area,
statement trees and elegant patio
or Charlie's complete garden upgrade
with a circular seat around Jackie's beloved magnolia tree?
I like them both.
It's decision time.
Hello. Hi, guys.
So, it was genuinely really, really difficult,
but the one we've chosen is...
Awesome! Way to go! Nice. Amazing!
So, what swung it for you?
In fairness, your design did everything we wanted,
but this one was probably something
we would never have done for ourselves, so we thought
we'd push our boundaries... Wouldn't have thought about it.
..and maybe make the decision to try something different.
Well, there you go!
Oh, I have no problems with that at all!
So, the boys' bold design has won,
and what's more, Charlie now has to follow their orders
as all three of them work together
to build Jackie and Neil's dream garden.
It's day one of the build.
The Rich brothers are off-site,
pulling together their planting plans...
..and have left the landscaping team to start prepping the site.
In the Rich brothers' design, the seating area has a fractured style,
where the planting is interspersed with paviours,
and it requires meticulous planning.
With a ?2,000 budget,
the brothers have asked the team to keep an eye on anything
that can be reused from the old garden...
This turf's coming out nice,
so I think we should save as much as we can.
..although the budget has stretched to brand-new, contemporary paving.
Now, Charlie and the Rich brothers have arrived out front
and are planning their next move.
So, this garden is not the biggest budget... No.
..but I definitely think...
It's a little section of the garden,
but I think it's going to be really fun.
I think it comes down to, being a slightly smaller budget,
we need to give them as much as we can.
One of the things I was thinking about,
cos we're getting rid of some of that turf and soil
for the slabbing and the planting,
there's going to be quite a lot of stuff left over.
The boys want to focus on the seating area,
and have tasked Charlie with finding a home for Jackie's collection.
So, I think reusing some of that quirkiness that we love...
She's got some really lovely things -
one or two things I would like to just move aside -
but there some really lovely things she's got.
You do love your quirk. I do. I like all my knick-knacks.
So, I can do what ever I want with the ornaments
and put them wherever I want?
You do what ever you want with those quirky bits, it's fine.
Just not in our little area.
With all these quirky features,
let's hope there's room for the plants.
The boys have invested over half of the two grand budget
on trees, shrubs and perennials to bring the seating area to life.
We've got a nice array of plants here, haven't we?
A very natural kind of feeling. Beautiful, really nice.
All the foliage complements each other.
Look at this! I think acer's beautiful, isn't it?
But there's a lot of landscaping to finish before any of them can go in.
Meanwhile, Charlie's in amongst Jackie's knick-knacks.
Jackie and Neil have got all sorts around here.
Lots of bits and bobs.
These could be handy for the other end of the garden.
Bit of Zen. THEY CHIME
Oh, look at these, look at these!
I like that.
Cor, that's fab, isn't it? Three of them.
Over in the seating area, Harry's straight onto the patio.
It's a really good tip to clean the underbelly of the paving slab
before laying it. It's great for two reasons.
First, it gets rid of all the cutting dust and dirt,
and second, it really allows it to bond with the mortar.
I'd say that paving really highlights that twisted willow.
Suddenly, it's gone, "Bing!"
David's working on the garden's big recycling project.
He's had an idea on how to use the turf from the patio area.
He's arranging it in an arc around the magnolia tree,
and once covered with more turf,
it'll become a natural-looking seating area.
It's surprising the amount of turf we will need.
Don't forget we need it down there, as well. Yeah.
Now the patio's finished,
Harry's also letting his creative side run wild
with some garden sculpture,
and he's hoping to convince Neil and Jackie to go for the idea.
I don't like to ask.
It does look a little bit mad at the moment.
We've come up with a little idea of using these steel rods
and looking at the twisted willow there,
you can see how everything is quite organic in shape. Yeah.
And this is quite malleable.
We can bend this and create these kind of lovely serpentine curves.
Then the other idea is to grow some clematis up there.
I really like it because it's different, it's a little bit odd.
But with something growing through, I think it will look great.
Yeah, brilliant. Great.
Right from the conservatory, as well, it's brilliant.
Phew! I thought it might have been too far for you.
Never too far, is it? No, no, no. Not with quirky.
We've got more quirky stuff, don't worry.
Steel is a very pliable metal
so it's easy to manipulate and, at less than ?2 for each rod,
it's a dirt cheap way to add structure to the garden.
So, at the moment, this is just kind of going to nowhere,
but what we want to do is to put the acer in this bed so that it gives it
a kind of bookend, so you won't see these sharp edges.
It'll kind of disperse into the tree and, hopefully, soften it.
One of the challenges with the new garden
is to make it work with the family's newly extended house.
A patio now runs the length of the property.
So, to soften part of it, the boys have designed
a long flowerbed and they want Charlie to take care of it.
So, this is my bit of the garden, is it?
Yeah, this is your part of the garden, your planting bed.
What we wanted to do is to kind of blend this lawn area into
the existing patio, which will kind of have a nice relationship
with the rest of the garden when it's planted up,
have a nice view from the kitchen.
So, it's just going to make the most of what is kind of
an unfinished little space of the garden.
While Charlie gets to work on the flowerbed,
the boys are bringing in the statement acer.
To offset the existing magnolia tree, the boys are using shrubs
and trees to make the seating area feel secluded and private.
It needs to straighten up a little bit.
Full-size acers like this one can cost hundreds of pounds.
You can buy them at a fraction of the size for around ?20,
but they only grow 12 inches a year,
so it's a long wait to get something like this.
Oh, that looks nice from here. That branch is perfect, isn't it?
Yeah. That kind of links them both, doesn't it? It does, yeah.
To complement the acer,
the boys are adding two more small trees.
We've got two dogwoods and these are quite dappled
and they'll act as that really lovely natural screening.
Shall we get it out and put it in? Let's try it.
Ready? I'll hold it and you pull.
Good work, boss.
Good strength. It's light.
And these are going to look great, aren't they?
The dogwood, or cornus, can grow more than ten feet tall,
so will balance out the acer on the other side of the patio.
But whilst the boys' backs are turned,
something strange is emerging from Charlie's flowerbed.
Like that. For a bit of organ piping.
And then that's going to be a birdbath.
So, Merv can clean it really easily.
So, we've got a bit to go on top there.
And then we've got a bit of a water feature here,
which I'm going to plant up with an arum lily
and put a hosta draped over the side,
so it should look really sweet.
I do love this timber.
The first trees may have gone in, but there's still a lot to do
and the turf seat is yet to be finished.
Oh. Good for some, isn't it?
At least Charlie's not lying back on this.
I tell you what, done a good job here.
Well, it seems like it.
It's like a little drop-down chair.
On that note, don't go back.
Flipping hell. Charlie, Dave's lying back again.
I want to stargaze. It's not quite dark.
By the time we've finished this garden, it WILL be dark, so get on.
It may be a long way off, but the ultimate aim of the boys' design
is to create a private outdoor room
that's separate to the rest of the garden.
Turning a plot into a series of rooms enables the garden owner
to create different spaces with their own purpose and mood.
One of the best examples of this is York Gate,
a one-acre garden in Leeds that was built after the war.
Here, yew and beech hedges separate the space into smaller gardens.
The garden itself, because of the use of rooms,
has many different themes within it.
We have a white and silver garden, a kitchen garden.
Behind me, we have the canal borders with some very distinctive topiary.
We also have a small woodland garden
and even a miniature pinetum as well,
so you can see you can fit a lot into a small space.
We've got 14 different compartments,
each with their own flavour.
The way that the rooms are set out is that they
flow into one another, so different vistas and focal points are captured
as you walk around the garden.
You have a great sense of being enclosed within the space,
but it's not too claustrophobic.
A good example of a small but effective garden room
is the fern walk.
So, early in the season, you have lots of erythroniums,
dog tooth violets and then that's followed by
all the lush fern foliage.
As you walk around the garden,
you catch glimpses of the adjoining rooms
to the room you're currently in, and it gives a great sense
of journey through the space
so you can say, "Oh, what's over there?"
With the different garden rooms,
each have their own distinctive feel,
but that means they've got their own distinctive collection of plants,
so the variety is really quite immense.
Back in Hereford, with the statement trees in,
the boys are keen to start planting up their own outdoor room.
But first, the top layer of the new turf seat needs to go on.
Just laying on the new turf now on the mound.
It's quite tricky cos it's a curve, so you have to keep altering it
and then filling in the triangles.
But as long as you've got a sturdy knife with you, a good, sharp edge,
you know, a little bit rough,
then all you do is you just fold one under the other,
cut down the line, and then they pair up really nicely.
When laying new turf, it's really important
to keep it watered to start with.
It's very prone to drying out, especially at the edges,
so as long as you keep it watered until it starts rooting
then it should be fine.
With this, definitely won't be able to get a mower up it
if you want to get a clean cut,
so I'd recommend maybe just some shears, something like that.
It's quite nice to leave it a little bit shaggy, little bit long
cos if you're lying back in it, it'll be a lot more cosy.
The brothers have given Charlie free rein
to create some new, quirky features for Jackie,
but I'm not sure what they'll make of this one.
Right then, Lee... CHARLIE GIGGLES
Hmm! This may or may not work, hey?
What I'm thinking is cutting the top off the head.
If it works, it's going to look fantastic,
or it'll be going straight into the skip.
OK? All right, then.
Up for a challenge, you know that.
This is one of the wackiest things yet.
But we'll give it a go. They'll be putting it in the skip.
It's all right, don't worry! Bye! What did I hear? Nothing.
All right. Nothing. What's that behind you there?
Nothing. What's that? Sorry?
While Lee decapitates Charlie's mannequin,
the boys have moved on to planting between the slabs.
They've been laid in a staggered fashion so they can be interplanted
with perennials and grasses that will grow over the edges
and add to the intimate feel of the space.
Next door, Charlie's mannequin is ready for a new hairstyle.
I'm going to plant it up with some carex.
This is Frosted Curls, a bit like curly hair.
And then some sempervivums, or houseleeks.
These were called houseleeks because they used to use them
to plug up the holes in the roof, hence "house leaks".
Or they are also known as hens and chickens.
These are your hens and these are the baby chickens.
And they're really easy to propagate from,
so all these bits, or chickens, that have fallen off,
I'm going to make into cuttings
that I'm going to put in the top over here,
like so. Won't that look cute?
Don't know whether this will look cute.
I think the hair first. It's a bit...
Does that look like bed hair?
A bit like... Argh!
CHARLIE WHISPERS INDISTINCTLY
What does that look like, then, Lee?
Very good. Like she's got a fascinator on.
What are we going to call it? Bob?
These gaps in the paving are looking quite harsh at the moment,
so what we're going to do, we're going to use Alchemilla mollis
to really soften those edges.
It's a great plant, really hardy, and it self-seeds freely,
so it's great for filling up space.
Has a lovely yellow flower in the summer
and that's what helps itself seed, but if you cut that off
then you'll help reduce its spread.
Alchemilla really is bombproof.
It puts up with most soil conditions,
very happy in sun or shade.
And also, a nice little tip - if you cut it back in August, then
these new, green shoots and leaves come out and it keeps on going.
An interesting fact where the name alchemilla comes from
is it originates from the word alchemy,
and that's due to the fact that
if you get water droplets on the leaves
then they rest as little spherical balls,
kind of like mercury or quicksilver
and this was thought to have healing or magic properties.
It's time for Bob to find a home in the garden.
So, we've nicknamed it Bob.
Yeah. And where would you like Bob to be positioned?
Centre stage. Right in the middle.
Right in the middle. I think you did a great job.
It looks like it's got a fringe coming down.
Off the catwalk in Milan.
Yeah. It's a fascinator.
That'll become the new thing now for fashion.
So, do you really want it down there?
No. I think we'll leave it out for now. See? Leave it out for now.
I do like it. I think you did a great...
You couldn't actually have done any better with that.
Just have the head and I'm all over that.
You want me to plant it that deep in the ground.
Up to the neck. The neck will be fine.
But Charlie's determined to convince the boys.
And I think she's got to be side on.
Bob's sort of doing that. Nice. I like that. Come hither.
Poor lady. She's got a muddy face, hasn't she?
A less divisive feature is the turf mound, which is just about done.
Finally, I'm just giving this turf a good bashing.
That's just to make sure
that the roots make contact with the soil beneath.
The boys have focused more than half of the two-grand budget
on planting for the seating area and Charlie's bed by the extension,
and it's now heads down to get them filled.
What we've tried to do with this planting scheme is to create
a very naturalistic character.
Not one plant stands out from the rest,
but instead, they all kind of fuse together
in a very understated, simple way.
Harry and David are employing a muted colour scheme,
blending vibrant cirsium
with tall, flowing penstemons
and the elegant pink skyrocket, the tiarella,
to give the garden the calming, soothing feel that Jackie,
Neil and Mervyn are all looking for.
What's really lovely about this space is that you've got
the magnolia, you've got the holly, you've got the twisted willow
and then it drops down to the dogwood and the acer
and that really does create this lovely, dappled space,
so when you're sitting in here, it feels very relaxed.
This garden has been the product of hard work and lots of imagination,
a blend of art, recycling and ingenious design
and, as the last of the plants and knick-knacks go in, it's done.
Just a few days ago,
Neil, Jackie and Mervyn's garden was stuck in the past.
Although it held precious memories for the family,
they wanted something that looked to the future.
Now, thanks to the boys' design,
it's the perfect garden for their new life together.
To make the two-grand budget work,
the boys have focused the money on the key area of the garden
that Jackie and Neil wanted to change.
At its heart is a new secluded seating area
based around the boys' staggered patio.
Coming in at just short of ?500,
it's been interplanted with subtle shades
that will grow and spill over the edges.
The boys spent more than half the budget on new trees,
shrubs and perennials to add privacy.
And Harry spent just ?50
creating a home-made steel sculpture
that echoes the lines of the willow tree.
To add interest to the lawn,
Dave has added a new, low-budget feature,
a recycled turf seat to highlight the magnolia tree.
And, thanks to Charlie,
Jackie's love for the unusual is still a big part of the garden,
in the shape of a new birdbath,
and Bob the mannequin.
But the true test of success lies with Jackie and Neil.
Are you guys excited?
Yes. Very, actually, yes. And nervous.
Right. Three, two, one, open your eyes.
Oh, look at this. That's lovely.
That looks really good, doesn't it? Yeah. That's Charlie's little area.
There's a bit of quirk there.
Smiling. Smiling. Smiling's good.
You did mention that we couldn't out-quirk you...
and we had a go. THEY LAUGH
How strange is that?
That is really good. Have we out-quirked you?
I love it. That's brilliant.
Jackie likes it.
Neil looks a little perplexed, but he is smiling.
Well, my best bit in the garden.
You're meant to be able to lie back on this.
They've done it so you can do a bit of stargazing. Look at that.
Different heights, as well.
I did catch him sleeping on this earlier.
I was. I had a little nap. It definitely has been tested.
JACKIE: I'm not going to test it now because I won't get back up.
What do you think about the slabbing? Oh, it's amazing.
I'm not sure anybody was going to be allowed to walk on this.
You're fine to walk on it. Thank you.
What do you think of the acer?
It's stunning. That is beautiful.
That is a big tree, isn't it?
I think it's great the way the boys have kept
a lot of things that remind Jackie of growing up here.
What do you think of the sculpture?
Get the plants growing along it, it'll be great. Yeah.
It'll definitely soften over time.
The way it moves in the wind, we quite like.
The wire sculpture is very subtle.
You sort of see it, but you don't sort of see it.
It's very clever.
So, you grew up in this garden and it's changed now since then.
How do you feel about that? A bit emotional about it, actually.
Yeah. Mum would have loved this.
It's just absolutely lovely.
Thank you very much.
It's happy tears. It really is.
And it looks like dad Mervyn is a fan, too.
It's something that goes with the house now, doesn't it?
Yeah. You know, it's in keeping with the house.
They've done a fantastic job.
We couldn't have done something like this. We couldn't have dreamt it.
Charlie Dimmock and the Rich brothers are in Hereford, competing for a budget of £2,000 to design a back garden for different generations living under the same roof. Jackie and her husband Neil bought Jackie's childhood home from her dad Mervyn so that they could all live together and care for him in his old age. With a limited budget to spend, the designers come up with some fabulous ideas for creating a garden sculpture and focal points on a shoestring.