Garden renovation series. A family of seven in Stamford, Lincolnshire, miss the sights and sounds of the countryside they have left behind.
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With her can-do attitude, love of simple gardens
and decades of experience...
Hello! ..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 gardeners.
Winners of multiple medals at the Chelsea Flower Show...
Ooh. Oh, wow. 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.
..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.
..to turn garden dreams into reality.
Open your eyes. Wow! Whoa.
Today, Charlie and the Rich brothers are competing over a garden
whose owners have given up a place in the country
for a new life in suburbia.
Pippa and Tony, aka Mum and Dad to this lovely, huge family,
recently moved because Mum and Dad were taxi service for the children,
got fed up, so they've moved from a rural setting
right into a townhouse.
Six months ago, Tony and Pippa Atkin
moved to Stamford in Lincolnshire, with their five children.
But the couple missed their old rural life.
The sacrifice we made is we actually lost, I feel, the countryside a lot.
So this is one of the reasons we want the garden changed,
so we can see more of wildlife.
The family lived in the heart of the Rutland countryside,
but now, things are a little different.
So that's what we really noticed, since we've moved here,
is that lack of birdlife.
We literally had ten pigeons
and one lonely blackbird out in that garden. Yeah.
Apart from the lack of birdlife,
Pippa is missing one essential rural feature.
The veggie patch. The vegetable patch. Yeah.
But the biggest challenge is that it's on a corner plot.
It looks a different shape than usual.
Lots of little nooks and crannies. Wraps around the house.
The plot is a U shape, so it's not possible to see all of it once.
But Pippa and Tony badly need it to work,
because, with five children,
they're literally being driven out the house.
We want a grown-up garden, don't we? Yes.
A family garden.
Children can use it - not a play area.
No trampolines, then. No, no.
To get their own personal sanctuary,
Pippa and Tony are prepared to put their money where their mouth is.
We've got ?4,000 to spend on the garden.
?4,000! That's awesome.
That's great. That's a really nice budget for this space.
We're hoping to get out of it a garden that we're going to love
for years to come. For years to come, yeah.
So it will pay us back in dividends.
So it looks like it's a garden for the adults to relax in,
and kind of a little escape.
And then just chuck the kids out in the park, is it?!
LAUGHTER Sounds perfect.
It's a healthy budget and a clear brief,
but finding a way to bring some rustic charm
to this odd-shaped suburban plot is a huge challenge,
even for four grand.
So our designers get down to business.
Each of them has to come up with a design
for the couple's ideal garden within their budget.
Pippa and Tony will then choose the winner,
and the loser will help the victor build the garden.
Charlie and the boys have travelled to Lincolnshire
to reveal their designs to the couple,
but who will they choose?
It's all down to the pitch.
So, this is the garden we've designed. Wow!
We know you have recently moved from the country
to this townhouse. And what we really wanted to do
was capture the character and that feeling
of being in the country, but giving it to you in the back garden.
So this area here, is more of the more formal country-style garden.
I think it's the sunniest spot of the garden,
so in the evening it'll be great - dining out, drinking,
things like that, having friends over.
And what defines that space is the low box hedging.
So even when the planting dies down,
you've got lovely interest with these interesting shapes.
The boys have put a seating area
in the tricky middle section of the plot,
from where each side of the garden can be seen.
But Charlie's using it differently.
This is a patio.
We've got planting on either side so you're drawn in,
and we'll have a focal point against the wall,
whether it's a statue or a very beautiful plant.
Whilst the boys are working with the shape of the house
to create different zones,
Charlie's working against it,
with a curved path to unify the different spaces in the garden.
And she's remembered the couple's desire
for a grown-up space of their own, adding a private seating area.
It's always nice to sit in an area that's open, but, for me,
I also sometimes like to sit in an area that's a bit more enclosed
and private and secret.
So up round here, behind this planting,
there's a pergola with a hard standing area,
so you can have a couple of chairs or a bench there.
The next challenge on the brief was an area for growing vegetables.
As this is the sunny area,
I've made this your vegetable patch, and for the vegetable patch,
I want it to look pretty. Lovely.
So it's something you can look at and go,
"Ah, that's really nice."
And edged with willow.
Charlie's put a new veg plot by the back door,
but the boys haven't included one.
Instead, they focus the budget on mature trees
to make the garden more private.
Will this count against them?
To contrast that more formal area
we've got this lovely meadow area at the back.
It's just something that has that natural feeling, but is purposeful.
What's really good about this, also, is the trees masking the building.
Wow. So again, you've really softened that backdrop.
The last demand in the brief was that the sound of the countryside,
especially wildlife, be a key part of the new garden.
We loved the idea of being able to get rid of the cliched
kind of bird feeder and draw them in through trees,
cos these are going to have fruit, berries on them,
that's really going to draw in the wildlife.
And the pollinators as well, through the meadow grass.
I'm going for things that will attract
lots of butterflies and bees,
because if you start attracting those,
you're going to start attracting the birds.
So we're going to go for things like buddleias and lavenders.
And Charlie has added an extra feature
that she hopes will tip the balance.
I have put in some water.
It is totally child-friendly.
With the water bubbling,
and you'll find the birds will come in and bathe.
These designs couldn't be more different,
but now it's up to Pippa and Tony to choose one.
It looks lovely. Absolutely lovely.
Only one design can win.
Will it be the Rich brothers,
with their wildlife-friendly planting and mature trees?
Yeah, that is perfect positioning.
Or will it be Charlie,
with her pretty pathway and vegetable plot
and water feature to attract the birds?
It's time to find out.
Oh, hey, guys. Hello!
We've made a decision.
And we can reveal...
Well done! There we go. Whoo!
Now, what was it, then, that did it for you?
There's something about it just hit me.
It's the whole curvy... Organic flow of it? Yes.
Oh, I'm pleased with that! Yeah, lovely. Really lovely.
Cos the designs were very different. Very different.
I like the vegetable patch, definitely,
which was lacking in your design, I'm afraid.
Yeah, we didn't have it. Yeah, so...
You ignored the vegetables! LAUGHTER
Charlie has emerged triumphant,
but a curvy design requires a lot of skill
and a lot of landscaping to carry off.
She's going to need the boys' brains and brawn to make it happen.
It's bright and early on the day of the build.
Charlie's away sorting out a secret feature for the garden,
which will be turning up later.
So, the landscaping team are beginning work on
the large, curved pathway that connects
the two odd ends of the garden.
Let's get this spray. Let's crack on.
Maybe come in a foot.
Just go for it.
I think we'll go with that now.
Pippa and Tony miss their old countryside surroundings,
so Charlie has chosen materials that will give the garden a rural feel,
starting with these reclaimed cobbles.
Out front, Charlie and the brothers have arrived
and she's ready to set them their tasks for the day.
The good thing about this garden, it's quite small,
and there's lots of really lovely plants there already.
Does help, doesn't it? I think you guys can be on the vegetables.
Oooh. Yeah. Sounds nice. Nice and easy!
The vegetable area has to look really pretty,
so we're going to do a bit of weaving with hazel and willow.
That sounds exactly what I'd like to do. That excites me, that's good. Yeah?
Yeah, I'm really excited. Right up your street. And then you need to do some physical work,
so I think you can put down the...
No more physical work! Why? Oh, your hands!
Your hands have gone all rough. Proper man hands now.
He keeps using those coarse pencils, you know?
So you can put down the patio area.
I'll do the water feature.
Of course. Your day's looking easier and easier, isn't it?
Charlie wasn't joking.
There's a lot of physical work to do
before anyone can start doing any nice willow weaving
or vegetable planting.
She puts the brothers straight on to digging out the area
for the new path.
Meanwhile, she's helping landscaper Andy edge the path
at the back of the garden
with those rustic stone cobbles.
I love using these granite setts.
Yeah, they're beautiful. Because of the curves,
it makes it much easier
to get a really good sweep and gentle curve on it.
If we were using pavers that were much bigger... Yeah, it's more difficult.
..it would be much more difficult to get that curve,
so it does make life a bit easier. Certainly does.
The great thing about these cobbles, they're granite,
so it's a natural material, so when they get wet in the rain,
they look beautiful. The other thing is they're recycled.
Pippa and Tony's garden is surrounded by a lot of modern brick,
so by using a contrasting stone,
the eye is drawn away from the walls.
Charlie also wants to help banish those bare bricks
with the design of Tony and Pippa's secluded seating area.
We're going to pop those into the ground
to make a sort of hard standing. Yeah. OK.
OK, so this will then... You know, cos you're not, Pippa,
mad on all the walls or fences, are you?
No, that's right. So I'm thinking if you're sat here,
you don't see this wall and you don't really see the fence,
because there's lots of planting there.
The only problem is, that wall is still really dominant,
and, on the design, there was a focal point there.
So I would like you guys
to go and get the focal point. Ooh.
So we have a little bit of money left from the budget.
20, 40, 60, 80, 100,
and 20, 40, 50.
Lovely. Thank you very much.
So you can get something that you will like to look at
which will draw your eye.
But it can't be too small, cos it's got to have some sort of impact.
Right, let's go shopping.
This is a canny move by Charlie.
She wants the couple to feel they're part of the process.
Let's just hope she likes what they come back with.
The brothers are still on manual labour duties.
Now they've dug the path, they're adding a layer of hardcore.
But it's thirsty work.
You poor old souls!
We were just moaning about you.
Well, it is a sun trap, but, um, we haven't really finished it.
We need you to sort of move away.
It is perfect placement for it, though, isn't it? It is.
Do you need us to dig it as well, or...? No, no.
But when I say move away, I really do mean move away.
THEY GROAN Come on.
My saviour. Thank you.
This is not a time for hanging around.
The Atkins are a family of seven,
and Charlie's turned over almost all of one corner of the garden
to a vegetable plot that's big enough for all of them.
The patch is bisected by another path that will be edged with hazel.
Perfect, thank you. These are beautiful hazel, aren't they?
Yeah. Really nice material to use.
I know, I love using, like, a natural material.
I think it adds a kind of, like, earthy, cottagey feel, doesn't it?
Really cottagey. Really nice. And they're sustainable as well, aren't they? Yeah.
It's great to use materials like that. Just cut down the tree, it'll regrow.
I know. And you can cut it down again!
How's that look? That's not bad. So this is going to be our gravel path.
It's really just for access.
And also to make it as pretty as possible, is what I wanted.
It is a really pretty material, isn't it?
I mean, most people's vegetable patch
is down the bottom of the garden and you don't see it. Hidden away.
We don't have this option in this garden. There's not enough space.
It's right beside their eating area as well. Yeah.
While the boys hammer away,
Andy needs Charlie's guidance in the new seating area.
So I'm thinking I don't want a uniform curve like that.
No, just staggered.
We're going to put some planting in between,
we're going to have some cobbles,
so it'll just soften the whole feel of this area.
Pippa and Tony are back from their shopping trip.
Charlie sent them off with ?150 from the budget
to buy something that would detract from an ugly wall.
And this is what they came back with.
Oh, that is fantastic. There we go.
We're really pleased with it, and really pleased now, as well,
getting it home, that I still quite like it.
LAUGHTER Which is good.
You were worried that you might not like it?
I've never bought a statue before.
Ready? Yeah. Go on.
It's ever so light(!)
As it's going to be the key focal point,
this delightful cherub now needs to be
properly positioned in the garden.
I think she should be like that, yeah.
Yeah, a bit higher.
HE STRAINS Higher!
And it looks like she needs a bit of a lift.
This country garden is starting to take shape.
The brothers are finishing the small path by the veg patch
with some gravel,
and Charlie's asked landscaper Lee to build some bespoke compost bins.
Lee, this is looking amazing!
It's getting there. So this is going to be a compost bin.
Won't take a huge amount,
but it will take the scraps from the kitchen, you know -
peelings, a few weeds, that type of thing.
And it's going to be ideal for her vegetable patch.
I'm very pleased with that!
Now it's time for Charlie to reveal her secret feature.
Pippa was won over by Charlie's suggestion of water in her design,
so Charlie's ordered a freestanding bowl to sit amongst the new plants.
It may be small, but it's made from basalt,
so it's incredibly heavy.
I've gone for a self-contained water feature.
You can get them at most garden centres these days.
You get everything included, so there's the reservoir,
there's the metal grid that's really strong,
that will support the actual feature,
and it comes with a submersible pump,
and it'll all plug into this weatherproof socket here.
?500. Not bad.
And it's a little bit different.
Fixed bubble, as always.
Ooh! Oh, my word. CHARLIE LAUGHS
Charlie, it's like you've done it before!
A water feature like this does require power,
so if you're going to install one,
remember to factor in the extra cost of an electrician.
All Charlie needs to do now is cover up the reservoir.
A water feature like this is great for children because it's very safe,
because there's no big open body of water,
but they can still touch it, which is quite fun,
so it's sort of quite a sensory part of the garden.
Also ideal for the birds, so we'll put a couple of pebbles in there.
The birds will come and bathe in it.
Likewise, insects will come and drink from it as well.
Over in the vegetable garden,
Charlie wants to add some structure to the new beds,
so she's challenged the boys to show off their weaving skills.
What Charlie's done here is she's used hazel
and she's used them in different forms,
so she's got the lovely kind of horizontal weave as the low fencing.
Also, what's so nice is using the same materials,
but in a vertical way. So having these kind of tepees
is really going to create a little focal point in this area.
And it's very natural material
and, you know, gives this lovely, like, authentic feel to this space,
doesn't it? It does, yeah. It's lovely.
Willow and hazel are versatile, natural materials
that can make practical and beautiful objects in the garden.
Someone that knows all about this ancient craft
is professional weaver Eddie Glew.
My father was a basket-maker, and when I was about 21 years old,
he saw me not doing much, and gave me the opportunity to work with him,
which was the greatest thing that I ever did.
And I learned to fall in love with the craft.
And I'm still doing it to this day.
I can make anything from willow, basically.
I'm a yes man when it comes to willow.
It's such a versatile material. You can do anything with it.
It's so supple. And we're in the perfect country for it -
you can grow it anywhere. Stick a rod in the ground,
if it's green and fresh, it'll grow.
You can make lots of things for the garden,
so we've been making plant supports, the obelisks,
the bird feeders,
decorations for the garden -
things like dragonflies and sunflowers that we've made.
For me, if you're going to have fencing in your garden,
some willow fencing is always going to look better,
because it's in keeping with the garden,
it's made with a material that you could be growing.
Eddie's had years of experience working with willow.
This is the boys' first attempt.
But they're not doing too badly.
They're not the easiest to construct.
This bit, the whole tepee idea, is fine.
Weaving this around is a little bit tricky.
You've got to be a bit careful.
It's time for Charlie's selection of nearly 200 plants
to be placed around the garden, ready for planting.
It's all about getting a lot of wildlife into the garden.
So there's lots of scented plants, like the lilac.
We've got honeysuckle, which is great for attracting bees
and butterflies into the garden.
And, of course, if you get those coming into the garden, you'll get a lot more birds.
And of course, the key thing
for Pippa and Tony is the vegetable area.
So we've got some plants that we've bought,
but the great thing about growing vegetables is sowing them from seed.
One, you can choose exactly what you want to grow,
the children can be involved
and it's way more satisfying
than just buying them at the garden centre.
Charlie's next challenge is to try
and find a way to make the statue that
Pippa and Tony chose feel part of the garden.
Looks like she was designed to sit under that lilac.
Under the lilac,
Charlie's graduating the planting at different heights.
I think what's so nice about having this lilac tree
just arcing over the sculpture
is that she's picked out the dicentra,
which is going to be this lovely little bit of pink
which will kind of link really well with that planting.
So although it's very muted and very white,
just having this hint of pink really does bring your eye into here
and up into the tree.
In Charlie's seating area, landscapers Paul and Andy are adding
vertical wooden panels that will work like a shutter.
When the couple are sitting behind it,
they will be able to look out,
but it will be trickier for the kids to see in.
Before the team can enjoy any peace and quiet,
there's a garden to finish.
With Charlie wanting to bring
a piece of the countryside to this town garden,
she's chosen to use the country favourite - a hoggin path.
A mix of gravel, sand and clay, it binds firmly when compacted
but still allows water to drain through it.
It's taken nearly all day, but Lee has finished not one
but two compost bins.
Made out of wood and shaped as beehives,
these charming crafted pieces are placed in the shady area
behind the kitchen.
This one here is for the kitchen peelings.
And as you can see, inside of it...
..there is a wormery.
Now, the point of a wormery is the fact that you can
take your kitchen peelings and you can put them in here
and then the worms will break them down and create gardener's gold -
really nice, nutritious fertiliser for your plants.
It's really simple, as you can see.
You just need some plastic containers
and then inside here you want to put your compost to start off with,
some wet newspaper, kind of like a lasagne, make some layers.
Regularly feed the worms with all your kitchen trimmings.
Slowly, over time, that'll build up to the top layer, to the lid.
And that's where the stacking system comes in.
So here, you've got your second box.
You drill holes in the bottom which line up
with these holes in the top here. This goes on top.
And then you'll do the same thing again,
you'll put in your compost and your newspaper layers
and obviously some of your fresh kitchen trimmings.
And that will draw the worms up into this top box
and leave your bottom box with some great fertiliser for your plants.
So then you can take that out, use it, put this at the bottom
and start the whole cycle again.
All that Pippa and Tony will have to do now
is add the 500 worms that Charlie's ordered online.
The last of the plants are going in
and as the sun begins to set, the garden is complete.
Just a few days ago, Pippa and Tony's garden
was a massive lawn with shrubs at the borders.
The awkward-shaped plot lacked colour
and was overlooked by brick walls.
Now it's had a ?4,000 transformation.
Charlie designed a large, sweeping pathway,
big enough to accommodate a seating area.
Made from rustic hoggin and edged with reclaimed granite cobbles,
it came in at ?970.
Pippa and Tony wanted to attract wildlife to their garden,
so Charlie spent ?1,000
on a careful selection of colourful and scented flowers
plus ?500 on a basalt water feature to coax in the birds.
With a family of seven to feed, Harry and David built
a large vegetable plot framed with hazel fencing.
This leads to compost bins made by Lee for just ?60.
To mask the ugly brick wall opposite the house,
the couple bought a statue for ?150,
next to which Charlie planted an overhanging lilac tree.
And Charlie designed a secluded seating area
just for the couple for ?200,
adding a purple wisteria as a finishing touch.
That's a very nervous laugh!
Charlie has brought a taste of the country into this town garden,
but is it the relaxing rural idyll Pippa and Tony were after?
You can open your eyes now.
That's very pretty, isn't it?
Charlie will be really pleased,
because she really wanted to create a pretty garden.
That wisteria, that's very pretty.
It's quite an eye-catching plant, isn't it?
Look at that! The statue goes in really nice.
Good choice there.
Brilliant! I love the colours.
That's really lovely. Oh, the veggie patch!
Wow! Look at that.
A path. That is really lovely.
Very posh wigwams. And what are these? Oh!
That's a compost bin. That's a very posh compost bin.
And then this is a wormery.
OK. Wow! So that's all for your peelings from the kitchen.
And then we've just really enhanced
the planting that you already had here.
Yes! Yeah, that's really clever. That's really clever. Yeah,
it's perfect not to get rid of some of those existing shrubs.
Yeah. Adds that nice bit of maturity to the garden.
I love the sound of that water.
Don't you? Yeah. That's really lovely, isn't it?
And it's got a light in it.
At night-time, that will be really pretty.
And then this is the area for a couple of seats. Yeah.
And we were sat there earlier today, and it's a huge sun trap.
It was gorgeous. Brilliant.
Although you've put a lot in, there's a lot more in,
it feels bigger, because that whole path coming round, it joins,
doesn't it? The whole, you know... It's like the Yellow Brick Road.
He just said he loves the Yellow Brick Road.
Charlie can be Dorothy!
Fantastic, yeah. I love it, absolutely love it.
The couple love their new garden and the kids do, too.
They now have their own piece of the countryside in suburbia.
We'd never have been able to do this on our own.
No. Not in a million years.
It's money well spent, and we're going to enjoy it for years to come.
A garden takes time to perfect.
It needs patience to get just right.
Charlie Dimmock and the Rich brothers are competing to design a garden for a family of seven in Stamford, Lincolnshire. The family have just moved from rural Rutland to suburbia and miss the sights and sounds of the countryside they have left behind. With five kids, it is a busy, noisy house and mum and dad want their garden transformed into a peaceful area they can call their own. Charlie and the Rich Brothers have a healthy £4,500 to spend, but with an awkward plot in a built-up modern setting, it is a huge challenge to design a garden that will remind them of the rural life they miss.