Garden transformation show. Claire and Richard in Barnsley are desperate for somewhere to socialise and reconnect with friends and family following difficult fertility treatment.
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There are few sights more satisfying than a beautiful garden,
but what do you do if your outdoor space isn't quite
so picture perfect and you're short on time?
-Well, meet the instant gardener.
Danny Clarke is an expert at transforming gardens.
Here's my plan. I'm going to rejuvenate this garden.
Each time our gardening guru will show you how to create
gorgeous garden makeovers.
That's the art of garden design, delegation.
Each transformation will be packed with brilliant ideas and tips...
It makes it easier to cut through.
..to help you get to get to grips with your own outdoor space...
It feels unnatural but take your time.
..with his magical ideas...
These flowers will look like they are floating in amongst the grasses.
..and advice on spending wisely on a budget.
That's why Danny makes me bring a list.
Oh, my word! This is amazing!
And because he's the instant gardener,
everything you see will happen in just one day.
-Oh, my God!
-That looks so much better.
Today, we're in Barnsley -
a town with a proud industrial heritage
nestling in the rolling hills of South Yorkshire.
It may have once been a metropolis of mining,
but beyond the relics of industry runs a rich seam of community life
and nature at its greenest.
In Yorkshire, you are never far from a bit of gorgeous countryside
and the couple we are meeting today want to make the most of what
is quite literally on their back doorstep.
-You must be Claire?
-I am, yeah.
-Yes, nice to meet you.
-Nice to meet you.
-Do you want to come in?
Thank you very much.
Devoted young couple Claire and Richard live in a new-build house
along with their three much-loved cats.
They married two years ago and have been trying for a family
but are now exhausted after several heartbreaking
rounds of unsuccessful IVF.
Now they have decided to take a break
to recover from the emotional cost and focus on appreciating
the friends and family they have already got.
As they both work long hours, at a mental health unit,
their spare time is precious.
They'd love a garden where they can relax together
as well as entertaining their loved ones.
Claire and Richard's existing garden sweeps up
from the back of the house in a steep slope.
Good for catching the sun,
but making it both very hard to manage and difficult to make useful.
Like many new homes, there is a noticeable lack of planting here.
Only an unkempt, weed-ridden lawn and a lonely acer by the fence.
There's a very small patio next to the house,
but no real area for the couple to relax, unless of course
it's in the pint-sized and dilapidated chalet in the corner.
It may seem like an uphill task to Claire and Richard but for Danny
the shape of this garden is a real design challenge.
-That, to me, looks like a brilliant place to sledge.
-Yes, it is.
We have spent many a Christmas sledging down that hill.
-Who is the Wendy house for?
We work long hours so we wanted somewhere for them
to go when we weren't here.
Somewhere nice and cosy, the food was in there, litter trays,
you know, to look after them. It has become derelict now.
The door fell off in the high winds we had
and we haven't managed to put it back on because it's warped.
It's cute. I thought it was for Richard when he has been in trouble.
I've spent many a night in there as well, so it's not too bad.
So how do you use the garden at the minute?
At the minute, we sit out on nights, use our wood burner
and that's pretty much it.
How much of a problem is that, Danny?
Well, we're going to work with it, bearing in mind
that we're going to build a garden in a day.
-What do you want out of it?
Obviously we get a lot of sun so we like to suntan
and this is our serenity.
-So you want this as a space in which you can entertain?
Family and friends, but mainly for us.
Somewhere to relax and just peace and serenity. Easily maintained.
Oh, yeah, definitely.
But also on cold nights maybe have wood burner out
and cosy night in the garden.
Rather than thinking is it going to snow yet
so we can sledge down that hill?
It's quite difficult, isn't it? Because that is quite a steep slope.
-Good for rolling down.
-Yeah, it's not good for lawn mowing.
Danny, we're going to get out of your hair
because I know you've got plenty to be cracking on with.
You know what's coming now, don't you, Helen? I've got the book.
-Thank you very much.
-This is our shopping list.
Are these going to be difficult plans to maintain?
-No, they should be nice and easy for you to maintain.
-Thank you very much.
We'll get out of your hair and let you crack on.
-And you. See you soon.
-See you in a bit.
While I take the couple off for a spot of research,
Danny has only ten hours to transform their precipitous plot.
So what's the plan, Dan?
One of the things I've noticed, as with a lot of new-build properties,
is this excuse for a patio down here.
I wouldn't even call it a patio. I'd just call it a path.
So there is nowhere for them to sit. This is my plan.
We're going to give Claire and Richard a new patio.
What most of us tend to do is build our patios very close to our houses.
That is absolutely fine but I'm going to build a circular patio
in the garden which is going to cut into this bank.
This is going to make full use of the bank and the sun
which comes from just over there.
Now, I'm going to rejuvenate this garden with contemporary plants
in the style of prairie planting.
Prairie plants will love the conditions in this garden
because we've got full sun here and also it's free-draining.
So they will thrive.
I'm going to work with the tree that's in this garden
and what I mean by work with the tree is that I'm going to add
another two just to give the garden more height and more interest.
So we've got the low planting of the grasses
and that's going to be complemented with the height of the trees.
Overall, we're going to do a contemporary design for
a contemporary couple
and I think that will suit them down to the ground.
Danny's handyman, AJ,
and horticultural expert Lou are here to help as always.
But Danny and his team never say no to extra help and two of Claire and Richard's friends,
Gavin and another Claire, have stepped up to the plate.
-Hello, Claire. Hello, Gavin.
-So you are the helpers for the day, are you?
How do you know these guys? How have you got roped into this?
We know them through work.
-You both know them through work?
Have you ever helped out on projects like this before?
-No, first time.
-Are you used to manual labour?
-No, but I'm willing to give it a good shot.
-Right, we are going to build a circular patio here.
We're going to cut it into that bank.
That's going to be infilled with slate
and it's going to be edged with timber
and we are going to have a flower bed running round there.
-Do you think they'll like it?
-Good, that's a relief.
I bet it's a relief to you as well, isn't it, AJ?
Well, for the time being. Until you change it as usual.
That's a designer's prerogative, isn't it?
- He's a broken man. - I am, I am.
Right, AJ, I think the first task for us to do is get some marker string
and mark out where this patio is going to go.
Mowing the lawn before digging will help lose some weight
from that circle of turf that they are going to have to dig out.
AJ: When you go higher with it,
remember to lift your wrist up a little bit.
- You're getting good at this. - I am getting good.
With the edge of the patio marked out,
it's time to start the biggest job of the day,
shifting over two tonnes of earth to create the patio area...
..starting with stripping that freshly mown turf. Go, AJ.
Once we have taken the turf off, we are then going to dig down
and barrow the earth into the skip
-which is at the front of the house.
-With the skip already hired
and extra hands to help barrow the waste,
it sounds easy enough,
but not everyone has got the knack of this gardening lark yet.
-Show me how you dig.
-I've been watching him.
-Distinct lack of welly there.
I tell you what, I'll show you how to dig.
So, Claire was doing this.
-With respect to you, Claire...
Now digging, you've got to really go for it.
Don't be frightened, just go for it and give it some oomph.
Just take out a section.
Don't go too far back here,
just go here.
Yes, just take out a little section.
-Go round the turf like that. Yes?
-Chop away and then go down.
There we are.
See? Piece of cake.
Right, we'll see if it works.
In, out, wiggle. Wiggle. Come on, you can do it.
AJ: Push again and then push down deeper.
-Once you're out the way. That's it, well done.
-Nice bit of muck.
First proper dig.
Oh, I'm going ahead now.
In a strange sort of way, is it easier now?
-Now that you've got the technique.
-I didn't realise there was so much to digging.
Yeah, there is but once you've got the technique, it is a lot easier.
-Can you see any sweat?
With the sun making a rare instant garden appearance,
the team are soon sweating away.
Meanwhile, I've planned a more relaxing morning for Richard
and Claire at a local garden, also built into a steep slope.
Like Danny's design, it's made for tranquillity and socialising,
with the help of some eastern influences.
OK, now, have a look at this.
-..grasses, that sort of prairie style planting.
-What do you make of this?
-I like the bushy type things!
I don't know what they're called but I like them.
-Is that a technical term?
-Yeah, yeah, for me!
Ponds, I... I've only ever had one pond before in my life.
I didn't really maintain it very well.
Quick, let's get Danny on the phone!
You see, a lot of people find water quite relaxing.
-Do you think there's a sort of calming effect?
It's a calming effect, we've seen a few features before, haven't we?
-Yeah, we have.
-Trickling water, not necessarily a pond,
but trickling water, and that's been nice.
Sort of borderline before you need to go to the toilet,
that sort of relaxing, isn't it?
-It's a nice feature. I like this.
-And lots of wispy grass, cats would like that.
-Seems low-maintenance, I like that.
All right, well, there's plenty more to see in this garden
-so lead the way, Richard.
Do you like the feel of that, Claire?
I like it, and I think cats like that sort of wispiness.
-Oh, so it's more for the cats than you?
We've got a lot of different plants going on.
-Do you like that?
-Yes, I do like a bit of colour.
-Well, come this way,
cos I think you're going to like what's around the corner.
I want them to see this circular seating area in the hope that
they'll want something similar of their own.
-Would you like something like that?
-Yes, I would.
-Mm, yeah, definitely.
It stands out, that's what I like.
You've talked about using this as a space to entertain,
bring your family and friends round...
I'd be proud for 'em to see things like that in our garden.
Have a look at this show-stopping plant.
It looks very fancy, quite posh, it's a garden onion,
but it's actually very easy to look after.
I don't know a lot about flowers and plants
-but it looks really posh, don't it? It looks nice.
-And this is very low-maintenance.
You put a bulb in, it grows like that, you don't have to do a lot.
-It's something that we'd want.
-Yeah, that's definitely for us.
Right, well, the next bit you're going to love.
This garden has not one but several circular areas - an idea
which could work brilliantly for social creatures Claire and Richard.
-Right, have a seat, you two.
-..this really does have the wow factor, doesn't it?
It does. It looks low-maintenance and very nice.
What do you think of this sort of entertaining space?
I like it cos it involves...
It'll be involving everybody in the family. It's not just one or two.
-Yeah, it's ideal, yeah.
-It's... Everybody's around, one place.
You know, maybe a game or two, deck of cards, you know, it's...
Would you use the garden as an extension of your house?
I mean, your kitchen's normally your focal point where
everybody gathers, but I think it's nice if it's your garden.
Yeah, especially in the summer months where it's nice
-sunshine in our garden anyway.
Back in Claire and Richard's own garden, the circular groundworks are
in full swing, and Danny's picked up a few more helpers along the way.
Now, I've just found this over there. Now these are a gardener's friend.
One of the things we do notice in gardens at certain
times of year are these wormcasts.
Wormcasts are these little curly heaps of soil
excreted by some species of earthworm.
But don't worry about it, what it means,
if you've got these in your garden,
it means that you've got a happy garden, you've got a garden
that's healthy, so I'm going to put this back where I got it from.
All right, try, then.
Danny's human helpers are working hard too,
motivated by their desire to give their friends a well-deserved treat.
Claire and Richard, I mean, they've had a pretty tough time,
-Yeah, it's been a struggle for 'em over the last year.
It's been hard. You know, they've been trying for a baby, and...
-..they've had IVF, and, er, basically it failed twice.
So it's been really, really tough for 'em
because to go through IVF you've got to quite change your lifestyle.
Sure. What do they have to do?
Well, there's, obviously, there's no drinking,
-you've got to be really sensible, make sure you're stress free.
Er, so, they've not really been doing too much over the last year,
-and it's been a lot of focus on trying for a family.
That's been the main focus, so I think...relaxing
and having a good time has just been put on the back burner.
-So, they're definitely in need of...
-So they need to...
Yeah, so they need to be spreading their wings a bit again, don't they?
-Cos they've kind of felt a bit restricted.
I can see from speaking to the two of them that they
-are very sociable people.
-Oh, yeah, very.
I bet they're the life and soul of the party, aren't they?
Can't imagine a better couple.
It's hot work in the blazing sun,
but the ground works are progressing.
With a large bite taken out of the hillside to create the new
circular patio, the team need to shore up the remaining earth.
The main job now, is to dig a trench to house the retaining wall.
The retaining wall is being made from these timber posts
which are going to be butted together, like this.
These are going to retain the bank.
It'll keep back the weight of all this soil, which is very important.
Over time, it will erode, but they're going to stand
proud above the level of the surface of the soil.
That way, if anything rolls down the bank,
it's not going to roll onto the seating area.
As a rule of thumb, when you put posts in the ground,
you should put them in at least a third deep.
A third of the height of the post.
That way, it'll make the wall nice and solid.
Now, these are made from treated wood.
It doesn't mean that they won't rot.
They will rot eventually,
but they will rot a lot slower than if they were untreated.
A great advantage of using these posts, is that it makes it
easier for us to get a curve, whereas bricks are a lot more difficult.
Out front, AJ is cutting up the polls making different lengths
so that the wall can be graduated.
-Higher at the back and much lower at the front.
-How's it going, AJ?
-It's going well.
-Are you confident we'll get it done?
I am actually, at the moment, luckily,
getting three of the acquired lengths, out of one.
We've got a 70 length, a 60 length and a 50.
Once they get tapped into the ground with the concrete round,
-it's all good. Yeah, it's going well.
-Great weather, so you can't complain.
But just as things seem to be going to plan, there's a problem.
Danny has struck rock.
I think we've got builder's rubble in the ground here.
Often a way with new-build properties,
so, gardeners like myself are left to pick up the pieces.
This rubble could mean trouble.
Digging rock rather than soil, will cost the team valuable time.
While Danny wrestles with that problem,
back in the beautifully finished garden, Claire, Richard
and I are channelling our energy in a different direction.
This garden is inspired by the ancient Chinese art of feng shui.
And to find out more, I've arranged for us
to meet its designer, Lee Bestall.
-Lee, lovely to see you.
-This is Claire and Richard.
-Hello, how are you?
Talk us through this fabulous garden, because, I mean,
we love it, don't we?
So, the idea behind this garden was to create a tranquil space
mainly to fuse this area around the house with
the wilderness of the fields beyond.
Talk us through the lay of the land.
I mean, you're dealing with quite steep hills here
and these guys have a steep hill in their garden.
-How much of the challenge is that?
-It was a challenge on this site.
We had a two metre difference between the back of the garden
and the centre, where needed to create level spaces
and it was quite important, obviously, for a seating area,
to be level, so we used the cut and fill method.
We cut out sections of earth, and then we fill them in somewhere else,
put retaining walls in and then created these level
areas where we have different things going on in each space.
I guess that's something you have to think about,
if you're taking out big chunks of earth?
-You need to retain it and hold it back for safety.
Because I quite like the height difference.
It makes it quite private and your garden is very private, isn't it?
It's very private, but very steep.
This is a garden designed around feng shui and the whole thing about
feng shui, is not to have sharp corners and straight lines,
so this whole garden, if you view it from up in house,
it's a selection of interlocking circles with these kind of walls
that wrap around to create cosy spaces.
Feng shui is an ancient Chinese philosophy which provided
a system of harmonising people with the environment around them.
The use of circles and curved lines is supposed to
slow down the energy flowing through a space.
But how do you get it?
Is that why you've gone for a series of circles? How key are they?
The circles really came from the feng shui thing
because we can't use straight lines.
We want to create these intimate, spaces, spaces where friends
and family can sit around an area, whether it's dining,
sat around a fire pit or sat on sofas like this.
It's very nice to interact with people when you can see them
and I think today, when you're in a garden, it's
an opportunity to just chat and relax.
So, feng shui, in terms of creating a nice energy in the garden,
is that something that's important to you guys?
Richard's mum always said to clap in corners as part
of feng shui and she gave us crystals, as well, to put up.
Just to create a positive energy throughout us house and...
That's all we've really touched on with feng shui.
If it can go out into us garden, it would be lovely.
Do you feel your garden is a space in which you could have
positive energy and that might have an effect on your life?
I think that is something we definitely need.
Definitely to de-stress, as well, after a long shift.
You guys want an area in which you can entertain.
This is a perfect entertaining space.
How have you created that atmosphere in here?
So, we've zoned the space, basically.
You've got the seating area here, we've got an area which might have a
fire pit in it and we've got on area for dining.
What have you had to plan, given the conditions that you're working with?
So, we've planted lots of prairie style planting,
lots of grasses, lots of low growing perennials
because those herbaceous perennials, you can cut right down in winter
and they come back it up in spring.
We've used things like orange, red and yellow colours later on in the
season and at the moment, it's all looking quite purple, blue and white.
We can't use things like the bamboos
and acers, which traditionally would be associated with feng shui gardens,
just because they would get hammered with the wind and weather up here.
And it's quite relaxed.
It ties in well with what's just outside the garden,
but it copes well in this kind of environment.
Yes, it's all very hardy.
The planting has been here for two years now, so it's seen two
harsh winters out here, so they're all hardy northerners.
We're reinforcing the stereotypes of the North, yes,
these plants are hard and they can cope.
-Lee, thank you so much for your time.
-Thanks a lot.
Whether feng shui is something you subscribe to or not, its design
rules have certainly created a sense of harmony and wellbeing here.
This garden is packed with great ideas, some of which you
might feel inspired to try in your own outdoor space.
Don't be afraid to carve flowing circular shapes into your garden.
They'll help to break-up the monotony of the typical oblong shape
back garden and will allow your eyes to move restfully around the space.
A circular space also makes a great shape to entertain in,
just as a circular dining table is good for group conversation.
And if you have poor soil in your garden, this can be a plus.
Our native wild flowers and long grasses thrive on poor
soil, so this contemporary style may be perfect for your space.
Back on the Barnsley hillside, the team are digging a trench to hold
the wall of poles that will surround Danny's sunken patio.
But there's a further blow. The ground is full of rocks,
more than just a bit of typical builder's rubble.
The problem is we've got so far down into the ground,
that there's just big boulders.
Even eternal optimist Danny is feeling the pressure.
You know I said at the beginning of the day, that this hill wasn't
going to be a problem?
It was a positive thing and I was going to make a positive out of it.
Now that I'm digging into the bank, I'm not quite so sure.
I've just been out the front there
and the neighbour has just come up to me and he's said it took him
and a friend of his over four and a half days
to dig something like this out.
The reason why all this rubble we're coming across, is, apparently,
-this whole area used to be a school.
They flattened it and just churned up all this stuff here and
then covered it with the soil.
They had it down as a foundation and stuff like that.
I'll tell you what, most of that is hidden in this bank, I reckon.
There's no topsoil here at all. Maybe an inch and that's about it.
Leaving his helpers to carry on quarrying, Danny needs to
concentrate on making a suitable planting area for his new trees.
When planting trees into a bank, make a little shelf for them.
So, you've got your bank like this, try and make a shelf
into the bank, OK?
The reason with this - A, you want your tree to remain upright,
you don't want it to be leaning over like this,
and, also, by doing that, any water that is running down the bank
will fall into the shelf and the water will go where it's most needed.
And that's into the tree's roots.
Now, this is called Sorbus 'Autumn Spire',
which is absolutely gorgeous.
It's also known as Mountain Ash and Rowan.
The reason I've put this in the garden, is
because it'll only grow to four metres,
which is great for a small garden.
Now, don't let the word, ash, put you off.
It's not a member of the ash family. It won't suffer from Ash Dieback.
It's a member of the rose family.
This tree has got an absolutely beautiful light, fluffy white flower.
Now, this flower is followed by a lovely orange yellow berry.
And then in the autumn, these leaves turn a lovely orange colour.
This is great value, because this will give you multiple seasons of
interest and if you can only afford one tree, what a tree to go for.
The makeover might be in full swing
but I want to take some downtime with Claire and Richard,
to find out just what their new garden will mean to them.
Talk me through how you two met, because it's quite an unusual
love story, in terms of where it happened, isn't it?
-Well, we both met where we work, the mental health unit.
Basically, we did a lot of shifts together, didn't we?
Became good friends and then later on, we started dating.
-It just felt right, I think.
And how long have you been together?
Erm, we've been together about four years.
Been married for just over two.
Working in a mental health unit must be quite draining at times
-but rewarding, as well.
-It can be very rewarding.
When you know you've done your job properly,
-and you've done it right...
-Every day is different, as well.
There are really poorly people and it can be very dangerous sometimes.
There are risky assaults and injury.
High risk assaults but there's usually a reason behind it.
Are you always at work at the same time or do you miss each other?
There are 12-hour days and 12-hour nights, so, there is no in between.
As well as working long hours in their demanding mental health
careers, Claire and Richard have also had to deal with
You've had a particularly difficult couple of years, because the
plan was to start a family, but it's not quite happened yet, has it?
We've been going through IVF for, just over 12 months.
First attempt, it failed.
And then we decided to try again,
and then two days before Christmas,
we found out the baby had no heartbeat,
so we were obviously crushed.
So we both decided that enough was enough
-for that 12 months of our lives.
We needed to fix us because it was a very stressful time,
having to go through hospital appointments and medications,
so we said we would leave it a year
-and get back to me and Richard, didn't we?
-Get us back on track.
-It took over, consumed our lives, didn't it?
-So you're physically going through it, Claire...
..but emotionally, Richard, you're on that roller-coaster, too,
and looking out for the person you love. How has it been for you?
The difficult thing is that there are couples support networks
out there for people going through IVF,
but...there's not one just for males.
You know, you want to be a support for a partner,
but there's only so many times that you can say,
"How are you feeling? Is everything all right?"
before they're just words, you know,
and it pushed me to a point where I maybe could have done with
a bit more support, but Claire needed it more so than me.
And you've credited your support network
-with helping you get through a really difficult time.
Would it be nice to be able to have those people round,
your family, your friends?
Yes. It would mean a lot to be able to have,
-to be able to give something back to them.
If they were to come to us, we'd be able to cook for them
and spend time with them in our garden. That's what it would be.
It's just giving something back to the people that looked after us
for...a year and a bit.
Yeah, they just listened to us just whinge
-when we couldn't shout at each other any more.
We had another set of ears that we could use.
-I don't want to upset you but...yeah!
Claire, you nominated Richard to get this garden
-because you wanted to say thank you for...
that's the main reason, is I wanted to say thank you to you
because you haven't had that support network.
You've had me saying, "It's OK, I'm fine,"
but you haven't really had a break from work.
You've gone to work, come home
and done the same job with me as you do at work.
So you've looked after me a lot this last year,
so I wanted you to have something nice to come home to and relax in.
Back at the house on the hill, the solid rubble has taken its toll.
With only four hours left,
the retaining wall for the circular patio hasn't even been started.
I mean, I know we're going to make this a bit higher,
but it just saves a bit of time and effort.
Danny's getting twitchy about the time
and a drastic solution is needed.
There's a bit of an issue.
To save a bit of time,
I've come up with another solution.
Instead of using log-edging at the front, I thought
it might be an idea to have one strip of aluminium at the front,
which will save us time in putting the logs in place, and also
-time in, you know, putting the cement in place.
-What do you think?
-Well done. Do you know, you've actually had a good idea.
-I'm loving it. I really am, genuinely, loving it.
-See you soon.
With only a small trench needed for the aluminium edging,
Danny has slashed the digging time,
and soon the posts can be fixed into place.
Now AJ can start lining up the wooden posts
for the rest of the retaining wall.
Put it in my top pocket. Put it behind my ear. Put it behind my ear.
Once they're all present and correct,
he can permanently set them with concrete.
Meanwhile, to fully realise Danny's design,
we've come here to this local garden centre to find him the right plants.
Well, this looks well-stocked.
And busy. A lot of plants.
-Do you spend much time in a garden centre?
We tried looking to get inspiration,
-but we didn't even know where to start.
-This is intimidating.
-There's a lot of flowers.
-To take in, to be honest.
Richard and Claire are not alone.
Us Brits spend five billion quid a year on garden products
and plants, but often have no idea what's right for our gardens.
So Danny's number one rule is, when you're going shopping,
always write a list.
Danny wants three good-sized Festuca glauca.
I think that's how you say it. And a big Stipa gigantea.
Yeah, that sounds right. Gigantea.
-Do they mean anything to you?
-No. But we'll find them.
We can find them in here!
But before we get stuck into Danny's list, we're using what we've learned
on our garden visit to find a couple of other personalised plants.
Would you prefer something that's pretty for a few weeks,
or will survive year after year?
Well, just surviving, yeah. A Bear Grylls of flowers.
-That's what I want.
-I worry too much about buying something
and then not being able to look after it.
We can prune it every now and again,
-but if the majority takes care of itself, it'll be a lot easier.
OK, let's get out of the heated greenhouse then.
These lilac trees are nice, aren't they?
I do love these,
but they are far too complicated for our garden.
We have got a tree and we do like trees,
-but we don't look after it very well.
-No, not really.
-The cats prefer it a lot more to us.
-Now they can climb it.
It's the garden climbing frame.
Lots of purple in here.
-It is, it's pretty.
-Now have a look at these. Do you recognise these?
Oh, these are beautiful. I really like these.
-Would you like a couple of these for your garden?
Because they are easy to look after,
and they're pretty even before they've flowered, aren't they?
And then in terms of what we need from our list,
-I think we should get some help.
Back in Barnsley, the hard landscaping is nearly complete.
But with less than three hours to go,
the team must pull all the stops out now.
Claire and Gavin have moved on to the battered but beloved cat house,
and Danny is making a start on his prairie planting,
A style which originated in the good old US of A.
Now when I think of prairie planting, I think
of the wild open spaces of North America.
Now this is a miniature version of that.
We're going to have a variety of heights with the grasses
in this border, and what I've chosen here is this Miscanthus sinensis,
which will probably grow to about a metre in height.
We've got the carex here, which is absolutely wonderful.
Intermingled with all these grasses,
this lovely orange geum, which when given time,
these flowers will look like they're floating in amongst the grasses.
Will look absolutely wonderful.
And to finish it all off, we've got loads of yellow-flowered achileas,
which are shimmering in this sun.
What's lovely about that? The overall effect is of a meadow.
When Richard and Claire, are out here in their garden,
they can imagine that they're in an open meadow.
How relaxing is that?
Of all of Danny's prairie grasses,
one of the most dramatic is the super-hardy Miscanthus sinensis,
Easy for Danny to say.
Miscanthus sinensis. What a lovely grass.
It grows to 1.5 metres in height.
And what is great about this, although it goes brown in the winter,
I would leave it and the birds will enjoy the seed heads,
and what I would do is cut it back early in the spring,
just as the new shoots are beginning to appear
and the new growth comes through,
and then you'll have another lovely grass for the following spring.
With only one hour remaining, the patio can be finished at last.
It's slate o'clock. It's time to put the slate down.
Of course, one of the things you could do here is put some membrane
down, some weed suppressant, but I personally choose not to do it
because I'm going to put the slate down at least three inches thick.
That way, nothing's coming through it.
I think this is probably one of the easiest patios you can make.
It's something that anybody can do, so basically just get your shape.
Once you've got your shape, dig out to a depth of at least three inches,
and then put your gravel or slate in,
and there you are - this is a patio.
Oh, he makes it sound easy now!
Have you forgotten about digging out all of that rock, Danny?
Dry or wet, I love slate,
but I much prefer it after it's rained and it's damp.
It just gives it that little bit of an edge.
It's the slate dance.
Flatten it out. Here we go!
-Looks nice, doesn't it?
-You prefer it wet, you said?
-I like it wet, yeah.
-I like it when it's dry.
-Oh, do you?
Mm, I like the light colour.
-It dries out quite quickly.
-It does, yeah, actually.
Still at the garden centre, I've tracked down the owner,
Emma Horsfield, to help us with our mysterious plant list.
-Emma, good to see you!
-This is Claire and Richard.
-Hello, nice to meet you, Claire. Hello, Richard, hello.
We are after your expertise because we're after some Festuca glauca.
-And some Stipa gigantea.
-Yes, we have both of those, yes.
-So what are they?
They're types of grasses, ideal for dry patches in your garden.
They look perfect in prairie planting,
so you'll see them in massive sweeping,
you know, picturesque landscapes,
but they can also be good in a small area of the garden as well.
The Stipa gigantea grows up to about here.
It's got a lovely plume of feather.
Looks fantastic. And in the wind, it sort of sways like this.
And the festuca is a dwarf grass. It's a sort of bluey-green.
It grows about this high and has a very little delicate flower.
Both are very, very tough. They'll grow in lovely sunny spots.
They don't need much watering, very low-maintenance,
-easy to look after.
-Music to your ears?
-That is, definitely.
Prairie planting is all the rage. Very, very modern. Very own trend.
-You see, you said you're not gardeners,
-but you're going to have a very in-vogue garden if we get some of those.
-Do these work quite well in sunny patches?
-Perfect for those, yeah.
Stipa gigantea comes from the sort of Med.
You'll see it in Spain, in France,
often on mountainside areas at the bottom, where it's really rocky,
really dry, so you hardly have to water it. It's very low-maintenance.
That's good. We haven't got an outside tap so that's even better.
-Lead us to the Stipa gigantea.
-Just over here.
Here we are. This is the stipa.
-Do you like it?
-That is tall, isn't it?
But, I mean, if you put it on the floor,
-you can actually see how tall it is. Look.
-And is that it fully grown?
It will bush out a lot more from the bottom, all round here,
and obviously get lots more plumes coming up.
This is nearly coming into flower.
-Can you see here, see these little pretty delicate flowers coming?
Nearly there. And these will last right throughout the summer.
-It's often called Golden Oat as well,
as it resembles oats.
-Can you see?
And they'll last right throughout the season, flowering season,
sometimes into early autumn, just depending on the weather.
How would you feel about this kind of plant in your garden, then?
-I like it.
-Seems like it's tailor-made.
-It's the one for you, I think.
-It's the one for us.
Fits all our needs.
So you don't have to do anything with this -
once it's in the ground, it will take care of itself?
Absolutely. You may want to divide it
if you find it's off a bit at the bottom.
Sometimes at the bottom, it can go very slightly yellow.
You see here?
This is when you would need to be dividing it to produce
-more green lush.
-We also have on our list Festuca glauca.
This is a blue grass here.
An evergreen blue grass.
This is in flower at the moment. Have a feel at the flower.
Aren't they delicate and lovely?
They feel nice, them.
-You've had these in a greenhouse...
-This has been in
a cold greenhouse over winter
-so it looks lush and green.
But this has been outside over winter.
Right. You can see the difference.
It's just catching up with it being a bit cool.
In summer, it will look like this.
But once again, you can just leave this to look after itself?
Absolutely. Of course you can.
-It's very easy to look after. Low-maintenance.
-That's what we want.
You said your cats like a bit of long grass to...
They like to hide and weave in and out of it so...
Feel the grass like this. Can you feel it?
It will bounce back up. Very resilient. Tough as old boots.
-You could almost trample on this.
-Let's get three or four of those.
And a couple of these.
-I'll pick you some nice ones out. That's a good one.
-OK. Let's get them to the counter.
-Thank you, Emma.
Danny and the team may have been creating a prairie paradise,
but it's long past high noon and I need to how they are getting on.
-Hello, Helen. How are you?
-Look at this!
-Look at this!
Some blue grass. Brilliant.
-And an allium.
I love what you've done with this garden.
I love the Wendy house.
I love that they've got an entertaining space. It's grown-up
but it feels fun.
-This is brilliant. They'll love sitting out here
with the firepit, making the most of these plants.
They're worried that these plants will be high-maintenance. Are they?
No. These are fine.
They like the look of these because they were hardy
for their young visitors and relatives.
We've got a few more so I'll go and get them.
-OK. I'll put these in the ground.
-I love this!
It's now a final push to the finish to get the garden neat and tidy.
-Can I put this here?
-Yeah, just put it there. It'll be fine there.
It looks brilliant.
Finally, this hillside haven is complete.
This morning, it was a plain patch of land,
the same as new builds up and down the country,
with the bare minimum of patio
and hardly a plant in sight.
But during the course of only one day,
Danny has utterly transformed it.
Doing anything with that steep slope was an overwhelming prospect
to inexperienced gardeners Claire and Richard.
With some imaginative design and the labour of love of their friends,
it's now the focus of a garden made for relaxation.
The circular patio is designed to provide
a social centrepiece where the couple can entertain
friends and family, without sliding down the hill.
Using inexpensive treated timber like this saves money,
which can then be better spent on eye-catching landscaping material
like this blue slate.
The sparse lawn has been dotted with a few well-chosen trees
with several seasons of interest, maximising colour for the cash.
Danny's prairie grasses swaying gently in the breeze
have created a meadow in miniature.
Last but not least, the crumbling cathouse has been transformed
into a colourful palace.
Try using specialist garden woodpaints to give a run-down shed
or summer house a long-lasting injection of life.
By working WITH rather than AGAINST the shape of the land,
Danny has made a striking, contemporary showpiece
from a production-line plot in just a few daylight hours.
Will Claire and Richard be bowled over by their new-look garden?
-..this is your brand-new garden.
-Oh, my God!
You've painted it.
You've painted it!
The cats' Wendy house is still there.
That looks so much better.
That is amazing. Thank you so much.
Claire, you nominated Rich for this because you wanted to say
thank you for him being so supportive.
Is it good enough for you?
Definitely, yeah. Definitely.
Definitely what I wanted.
-Yeah, I feel proud that we can bring people round now.
-It looks bigger.
-It looks a lot bigger.
Oh, that's huge!
Carrying on what were talking about earlier
about energy flow and feng shui, you've got curves,
the circles, the entertaining space.
That is amazing. I'm so proud!
I'm gobsmacked. I can't...
It looks so much better.
How would you feel about entertaining friends and family
in this space?
Oh, it's happening! Yeah, it is.
-Proud. Very proud.
-Proud to show our garden off.
We've got somewhere when it's cold to be able to have a wood burner.
That's amazing. I can't believe you've managed to do that,
in the time limit you've had.
-I'm so happy!
-I am, yeah. Definitely, yeah.
Go and have a seat.
Go and have an explore.
You should be very pleased, Danny.
They wanted somewhere they could spend a bit of time together,
have something they can be proud of,
recharge their batteries and I think this is a space
they are going to have a lot of fun in.
About time something nice happened.
-It's a new chapter.
-With a good end.
Claire and Richard wanted a garden
that they could entertain in and proud of.
Most importantly, they needed a space for themselves.
With this instant garden, Danny and his team
have created a relaxed space where this young couple
can enjoy their future together.
Join us next time for another instant garden.
Claire and Richard in Barnsley are desperate for somewhere to socialise and reconnect with friends and family following difficult fertility treatment.