Bexley Garden Rescue


Bexley

Garden renovation series with Charlie Dimmock and garden designers the Rich brothers. A cabin and outdoor space for brothers to grow into helps transform a disused garden.


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Transcript


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With her can-do attitude, love of simple gardens,

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and decades of experience...

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Hello!

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Charlie Dimmock is one of Britain's best-loved gardeners.

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Looking good, boys.

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But the new kids on the gardening block are the Rich brothers.

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We want to be the brothers that change people's perceptions of gardeners.

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Winners of multiple medals at the Chelsea Flower Show...

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-Oh, wow.

-Look at it turn.

-Amazing, isn't it?

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..the boys have become known for their dramatic outdoor spaces.

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Now these two different generations of gardening are going head-to-head.

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I know they've got a gold medal, but I can come up with a few ideas.

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They're meeting frustrated garden owners across the country.

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The photos made it look tiny. It is, isn't it?

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I'm sure you've seen larger.

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I don't know what to do with it.

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And will need to pitch them a design based on their needs and budget.

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That looks really exciting.

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It doesn't look like it could be our garden.

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The winner...

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..brings their design to life...

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Hold on, hold on.

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Sweet as a nut.

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..and the loser has to help them build it.

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Oh, I'm getting irritated now. We're just faffing around.

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This is what happens...

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-Does he ever get irritating?

-All the time.

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..when different styles collide.

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Who chose these?

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One, two, three.

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-This looks like your design!

-Yeah!

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..to turn garden dreams into reality.

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-Wow!

-You can open your eyes.

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-Whoa!

-It's amazing.

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It's beautiful.

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Today, Charlie and the Rich brothers are competing over

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a garden for a young family who are bursting out of their house.

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This design's going to be a bit different.

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Lara and Mark moved into the house about ten, 12 years ago.

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Love the house, but the children, Edward and Toby,

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-are growing up and space is getting tight...

-Oh, I see.

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..but they don't want to move.

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Swimming coach Lara Hawkins and her husband, IT engineer Mark,

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live in Bexley in Kent with their sons, Edward and Toby,

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and their dog, Daisy.

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This is the only house we've lived in while we've had the children,

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so this is the garden that we've all grown up in together as a family.

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The boys have outgrown the house,

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preferring to play in the acres of woods that the garden backs onto.

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The boys are older now,

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so they're tending to use the garden a lot less than they did,

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so we want to try and get them back out in the garden again.

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The garden is split into two parts.

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The top section is just grass,

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while the lower part has become a storage area for bikes and play equipment,

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and it's just this bottom section that they want the garden rescue team to redesign.

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And there is one feature that it must have.

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Our wish-list for the garden and what we've saved up for is

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an outdoor cabin, so, a usable space, another room for us to use.

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This garden - it's the bottom area there - has to have

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a cabin that is a chill-out zone cum storage cum relaxation area.

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That's got me a little bit worried.

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Do they want to get rid of anything that's there at the moment?

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-Sheds can go.

-Ah, nice.

-Tramp can move.

-Nice.

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This part of the plot is only seven by seven metres,

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but has to include a multifunctional outdoor building and that

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could take up almost half of the space.

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But that's not all.

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In whatever's left,

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they'd like a garden that's inspired by their surroundings.

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What she would love to do, and Mark as well, is bring the

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woodland into that space,

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because it can't be built on and she feels like they're neglecting it.

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It's quite a small space, isn't it?

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So, it'll be quite interesting how we're going to do that.

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We do appreciate that we're lucky that we have this nice backdrop of trees.

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It would just be lovely to sit down there and enjoy it,

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which is what we don't do at the moment.

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We don't really go down there.

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It's scruffy, it's tatty,

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it needs help.

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They may only want one part of their garden done,

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but with a high-spec building to include,

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Mark and Lara have set a budget to match.

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So, we've saved up £4,500.

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The budget's four and a half thousand,

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-but that cabin's going to make it go...

-Yeah.

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It's going to be quite interesting trying to work with how to

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give them lots of space, but still keeping that cabin.

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-Lots of space in a really small space.

-I know, I know.

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When we get the garden of our dreams,

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we'll have a space that we can use all year round.

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The whole family can use.

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And enjoy it to the full, so, yeah, we're really excited.

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Really looking forward to it.

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This is a major conundrum for the designers.

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Four and a half grand may be a healthy budget,

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but half of that could go on the cabin.

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And once that's in,

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will there be any space left in this area for anything else?

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With the challenge on the table, Charlie and the Rich brothers

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will now compete to make over Lara and Mark's garden.

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So, they're heading to Bexley to find out what they've let themselves in for.

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-Definitely a hard-working area.

-It is, isn't it?

-Yeah.

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Beautiful woodland, look at that.

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-It's a really nice backdrop, isn't it?

-Not my favourite.

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-My most hated thing.

-Yeah, I think we'll join you on that one, happily.

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I think once you get rid of a few of these things,

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-it will be a dramatic difference how big it looks here.

-Yeah.

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Cos it's quite cramped, isn't it?

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To see how this small space could really help take the pressure

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off the house, the boys head inside for a snoop around.

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Oh, it's quite a nice open-plan feel to it, isn't it?

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Yeah, I like it. Yeah, really nice.

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A bit clean, bit modern and, of course, our beloved sofas.

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Real comfy sofas, yeah.

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I think we should differently try and put a sofa outside.

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Pretty dreamy having one of these.

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Yeah, there's quite a few toys, isn't there?

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So, maybe having an outdoor space means they can kind of chuck

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all that down there, and just have this as a bit more of an adult area maybe.

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Yeah, I know what you mean. Get the bit of the clutter out, you know.

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-The kids can have that, their space. Maybe one of the TVs.

-Yeah.

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-I'd like to be down there.

-I'd definitely be down there.

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I'd like to have the nerf gun.

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The boys can see how the family would benefit from some extra room.

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But Charlie wants to know more about why they only want to change

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the lower part of the garden.

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This has obviously been a very well used area, with the sheds,

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-the washing lines, the trampoline.

-Yeah.

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What do you want it to do now?

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It's such a nice place to be, down here as well.

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And it's quiet, but we don't use it, but it could be usable.

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So, we'd quite like a cabin, here.

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An indoor room, but outdoors in the woods.

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Space where we can come to relax.

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-So, chill-out area.

-Chill out, yes.

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-I've also noticed it's quite subtle colours in here.

-Yeah.

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There's nothing that stands out too much.

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So, I think they'll quite like that natural, quite sympathetic feel in the garden.

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Yeah, I like it. Balance between contemporary, nature.

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Yeah, key.

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The boys are feeling confident.

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But Charlie is trying to manage the couple's expectations.

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I have to say, by putting the den in, it means, space-wise,

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-there's not much of a garden.

-It's reduced, yeah.

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The trampoline - has it got to stay?

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It could possibly go up that end.

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OK.

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It won't be around forever, we appreciate that.

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He will, eventually, grow out of trampolining.

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What about what's left of the garden?

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What do you envisage seeing?

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-Something that blends in with the woods would be nice.

-OK.

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Yeah, somewhere that you can look out from, from the house,

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that makes you think, "I want to go down there."

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This really could be the designers' hardest challenge yet.

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A building for a family of four could be huge and then,

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in what's left of this space, they have to create a woodland garden.

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So, it's time for them to flex their creative muscles.

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Each of them has to come up with a design for Lara and Mark's

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ideal garden within the £4,500 budget.

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The couple will then choose a winner, and the loser will

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have to swallow their pride and take orders from the victorious designer.

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Having seen the tight space inside the house,

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the Rich brothers understand the couple's need for an extra building,

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while Charlie seemed more keen on creating a garden

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than providing an outdoor living space.

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Can they impress Lara and Mark?

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-This, here, is the den or shed.

-Yeah.

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It's very modern, very sleek.

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-It's a cube.

-Right.

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It's got panels of glass that open up, so it's a good, big space

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that will be able to be used for lots of different things.

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Your living space in there is quite open plan,

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and it can get quite busy quite quickly, especially having two kind of teenage sons,

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so, what we wanted to do, and, like, our main element to this

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is giving you this large cabin space.

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It gives you this little escape.

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Both designers know how important the new building will be,

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so Charlie's opted for small, but stylish, square cube,

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while the boys are arguing that bigger is better, and have

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gone with a giant log cabin to fit with the woods.

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But what are they planning for what's left of this tiny area

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of the garden?

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So, we've got a patio area out the front here,

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so you can open the doors up.

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It's all about relaxation.

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It'll be a lovely area to go when they've gone to bed,

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so you can sit down there and relax yourself.

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We've put in a little outdoor sofa along with the fire bowl, as well.

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We got these concrete pads, kind of very smooth, very clean,

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very modern, and that creates a kind of stylish area and somewhere

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that becomes very usable.

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We do get a lot of moles from the wood, that's my only concern.

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Oh, we'll make that concrete thick, don't worry.

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A mole won't go through the concrete.

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The boys are confident they'll keep the moles out with their

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concrete staggered patio, their seating area and dramatic fire bowl.

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But, with a smaller building,

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Charlie's able to include two seating areas to the boys' one,

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and instead of a fire bowl,

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she's opted for her favourite type of focal point.

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We have a water feature here.

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A globe of brushed steel with a light in it.

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So, when it bubbles at night,

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all the water lights up at the top

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as it's running over gently.

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The next challenge was how to make the surrounding woods

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feel part of the garden.

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-We wanted to be able to bring in the woodland into your garden.

-Mmm-hmm.

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So, we've done that by having quite large, naturalistic flowerbeds.

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We've also brought in two small trees, as you can see here,

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and we did that because it really blurs the lines between

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your garden and the woodland.

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Thinking about the woodland area, I have, along the bottom here, the fence.

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So, you've got solid panels but you've also got louvered panels.

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We'd still want a gate to access the woodland.

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You'll have a solid gate, but every other panel will be louvered.

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So, you can sort of see through,

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-but people can't really see in.

-OK.

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Charlie has also added a feature tree to create a little magic.

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This is a beautiful, multi-stemmed cherry tree,

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but I've got it uplit.

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So, at night-time,

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that'll be like an oasis of light at the bottom of your garden.

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By contrast, the boys are being more practical.

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We wanted to give you this extra storage space for mower and bikes,

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so that this area doesn't become cluttered, cos I think it's quite important -

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cos it's not going to be massive - to really utilise it.

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This area is really all about chill out, relaxation.

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A little escape to get away from the house and just enjoy

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a naturalistic, but also quite clean and contemporary, space.

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These designs couldn't be more different,

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but Mark and Lara now have to pick one.

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I think it's really difficult. I really like both of them.

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I can kind of visualise this one a little bit better than this one.

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I really like the water feature that Charlie did.

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Erm, I really like this one.

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I like the way that it leads you,

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-the straight lines lead you to the woods.

-Yeah, I can see that as well.

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I quite like the amount of trees.

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-So, I think with Charlie's it was broken up a little bit more, wasn't it?

-Yeah.

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We had a living space down here, which was lovely,

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because you were looking out onto the woods this way,

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so I could see exactly where she was going with that.

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-Yeah, they look really different.

-Mmm.

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This is turning into a split decision.

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Lara seems drawn to Charlie's modern cube, spherical water feature

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and cherry tree with its sparkly fairy lights.

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But Mark prefers the Rich brothers design, with its large cabin,

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concrete pathway and fire bowl.

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But they can only pick one,

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so which one is going to be?

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-Hello.

-Hello.

-Well, it's been a hard decision.

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We've had a long discussion and we've decided to choose this one.

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-BOTH:

-Aaaah!

-The Rich brothers!

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The sofa did it.

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What is it that kind of swayed you to go with us?

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We really liked the clear line of sight through to the woods.

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-LARA:

-We like the way that the woods are kind of brought into the garden

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so that it kind of merges as one, but the fire bowl would be

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too dangerous for our children - unfortunately.

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I'm sure we're going to combine as a team and, between us both,

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we'll create a beautiful garden for you.

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Brilliant, thank you.

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So, the fire bowl has to go, but the rest of the design is a winner

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and the brothers are thrilled -

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but that's a heck of a cabin they're planning to include.

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The pressure will be on to make it feel part of the garden.

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It's the first day of the build.

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The Rich brothers are away arranging for the arrival of the new cabin.

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They've given forewarning that it's a monster,

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so the landscape team are on site clearing the way.

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Some of the old garden buildings have got to go,

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so garden owner Mark is adding his muscle to help the team get them out,

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under the watchful eye of the family dog, Daisy.

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Once this building is out,

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the landscapers can lay foundations for the new cabin,

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but project manager Kate's seen the weather forecast

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and it's not good news.

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-The weather is going to be our biggest enemy.

-It's not looking good.

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We're supposed to be putting in poured concrete.

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It's saying, like, torrential rain later and the concrete will

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be running out of that bottom gate.

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-Shall we go home then?

-Erm...

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One thing you can't change in the garden is the weather,

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so with everything crossed, the team cracks on.

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Now the old shed has been removed,

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the team sets about getting the area ready for the new cabin.

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But, things are never straightforward.

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In the old garden, the shed faced the house,

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but the boys' cabin is meant to run along the fence

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and Scott and Adam have realised it's quite a slope.

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This means the bottom end of the new cabin will be higher than the top -

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something else the Rich brothers will have to deal when they arrive.

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So, at the moment, we're lifting some slabs.

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We've got a problem with the levels for the new cabin that's coming in.

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It's always one of those things, until you get on site you're not

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too sure what you're going to have to overcome.

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The sub-frame goes in just in time, because the brothers' cabin

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has arrived and a new team of contractors gets straight to work.

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And it doesn't take long to see just how big it is.

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Rather than have a bespoke structure built on site,

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to keep costs under control, the brothers have ordered the

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building from an online supplier, so it comes as a set size.

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At five by two and a half metres, it will occupy more than

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a third of the space, but it's what the client wanted.

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For the same size as this cabin,

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a house extension in the UK would cost an average price of £10,000.

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It's no surprise that garden owners are putting state-of-the-art

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buildings into their outdoor spaces instead.

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The modern garden building is like mini house.

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It can come double-glazed, Wi-Fi ready and fully wired,

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and is often cheaper than building an extension.

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Large, wooden summer houses are ideal as alternative playrooms,

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hobby rooms or workshops.

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Modern cubes and pods cost more,

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but are so high-spec they make perfect outdoor offices or gyms.

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And an outdoor building can even serve a novelty purpose.

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After all, who wouldn't like their own outdoor bar?

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The problem with the cabin in Mark and Lara's garden

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is that the more it goes up,

0:17:280:17:30

the more it's encroaching on the rest of the planned garden.

0:17:300:17:33

We think that we're not going to have enough room to put all of the

0:17:350:17:37

concrete slabs in, so we're just working out at the moment

0:17:370:17:40

how we can adjust it to the design, erm, and make everything fit

0:17:400:17:45

as closely as we can to what the boys have put on their design.

0:17:450:17:48

Mark and Lara loved the brothers' choice of using poured concrete

0:17:480:17:52

to create a modern, staggered pathway.

0:17:520:17:55

On the design, there are meant to be five panels...

0:17:550:17:57

..but now Scott and Adam are constructing the wooden framework,

0:18:010:18:04

there only seems to be room for three.

0:18:040:18:06

We've just placed it in where we think we're going to put it and then

0:18:120:18:15

we're going to send a picture to Dave and Harry and just make

0:18:150:18:17

sure that they're happy with what we've done.

0:18:170:18:19

Scott has no choice but to send the boys the not-so-good news.

0:18:190:18:22

So far, the rain has stayed off, so Scott and Adam

0:18:280:18:30

make the executive decision to start laying the concrete.

0:18:300:18:34

Rather than using individual pavers,

0:18:380:18:41

the brothers wanted big slabs to match the proportions of the cabin.

0:18:410:18:46

This way, it will not only be an attractive feature,

0:18:460:18:48

but serve as a pathway to the woods.

0:18:480:18:50

With their design changing all the time,

0:18:530:18:56

the Rich brothers and Charlie have arrived to take control.

0:18:560:19:00

And, not surprisingly, the main topic of conversation

0:19:000:19:03

is the giant cabin.

0:19:030:19:04

The cabin is definitely taking up a large proportion of this garden.

0:19:060:19:09

Now, that's being polite.

0:19:090:19:10

No, no, there's still loads of different elements within this

0:19:100:19:13

that we're going to get stuck in to today.

0:19:130:19:15

-To make it look like a garden, not a collection of sheds.

-Exactly.

0:19:150:19:18

-There's gravel. There's a green roof. There's plants...

-Trees.

0:19:180:19:21

-Yeah, trees.

-Some semi-mature trees. That'll be nice.

0:19:210:19:24

To make it actually a garden.

0:19:240:19:25

We've got three beautiful trees to put in,

0:19:250:19:27

that kind of echo the woodland and that borrowed landscape.

0:19:270:19:30

So, that's going to be really nice. Me and Dave might even

0:19:300:19:32

wander into the woodland if it gets too hot.

0:19:320:19:34

-Little bit of a...

-All right for some!

0:19:340:19:36

And also, the one thing that you always have to have

0:19:360:19:39

to complement a really big cabin is another shed. For storage.

0:19:390:19:43

Because there's not enough shed space in there after the cabin.

0:19:430:19:46

You've got to make sure you've got storage.

0:19:460:19:48

-So, what we're going to be doing is upcycling...

-OK.

0:19:480:19:50

..one of the current sheds they've got, but into something that

0:19:500:19:53

looks a little bit smarter, little bit neater and fits into the space.

0:19:530:19:56

And then we've got the sofa at the end to finish off that little seating area.

0:19:560:19:59

So, there's lots of little things in this garden and hopefully

0:19:590:20:02

it'll create this nice, little contemporary woodland space.

0:20:020:20:05

But, being a small space, it will be done and dusted like that.

0:20:050:20:07

Yeah.

0:20:070:20:09

Right, let's go. Let's go.

0:20:090:20:10

More than half the budget had to go on the new cabin,

0:20:120:20:15

so the brothers have decided to upcycle the old shed

0:20:150:20:18

so Lara and Mark have an area for storage.

0:20:180:20:21

-Who's going up there then?

-I'll go up.

0:20:230:20:25

-Who's the lightest?

-Oh!

0:20:250:20:27

-No windows needed.

-All right.

0:20:280:20:30

Luckily, Harry's wearing his climbing shorts today.

0:20:300:20:34

Oh, he scared now, isn't he?

0:20:340:20:36

That's wiped the smile off his face.

0:20:360:20:38

Thank you very much.

0:20:400:20:42

Look at those chicken legs there.

0:20:420:20:44

The building has to be rebuilt on the other side of the plot,

0:20:470:20:51

so needs careful dismantling.

0:20:510:20:52

Meanwhile, at the front of the house, Charlie's on craft detail.

0:20:590:21:03

The brothers have asked her to come up with something to dress the new cabin,

0:21:040:21:08

so she's making some Japanese hanging planters.

0:21:080:21:11

Right, the boys have asked me to make some kokedama, which, er,

0:21:110:21:15

translation means "moss ball".

0:21:150:21:16

So, it's a moss ball with a plant growing in it,

0:21:160:21:19

and what you really need is some clay, but we're going to add to it

0:21:190:21:22

some organic matter and we're also going to put some sand in as well.

0:21:220:21:27

So, it's like making mud pies.

0:21:270:21:29

With Scott and Adam making a start on rebuilding the new shed,

0:21:320:21:36

the boys set about creating a seating area.

0:21:360:21:39

Lara and Mark loved the boys' idea of a contemporary seating space,

0:21:410:21:45

a separate area outside the cabin where they can relax and

0:21:450:21:49

enjoy the woodland views.

0:21:490:21:50

The reason we've put it here is because we wanted to keep it functional,

0:21:520:21:56

so there needed to be a route through the garden to the woodland behind.

0:21:560:21:59

Also, it needs to kind of interact with the cabin a little bit and,

0:21:590:22:01

being on the boundary here, it feels a little bit safer.

0:22:010:22:04

It's quite nice to be surrounded by something, so it will be more of a comfortable seating space.

0:22:040:22:08

And we're going to construct this wooden structure. It's going to be drilled and pegged,

0:22:080:22:12

and that's going to give you this nice area where we'll fill with gravel.

0:22:120:22:15

Once the outer frame for the seating area is done...

0:22:190:22:23

..they level the space and then pop a gravel mat down.

0:22:250:22:29

So, this here is the gravel matting. It's going to do two things.

0:22:360:22:39

It's really going to help stabilise the gravel base and also stop it

0:22:390:22:43

from moving around from too much when you're walking on it.

0:22:430:22:45

Then it's time to pour in five bags of grey gravel

0:22:470:22:50

that the brothers have chosen for its contemporary look.

0:22:500:22:53

We decided to use gravel in this garden cos it's a great,

0:22:590:23:03

cost-effective material. And it's very natural. So, you know,

0:23:030:23:06

we've got the backdrop of the woods, so it's really fitting.

0:23:060:23:09

At the front of the house,

0:23:120:23:13

Charlie's making good progress with her kokedamas,

0:23:130:23:16

and has chosen plants that are in keeping with the woodland theme.

0:23:160:23:21

So, this is a hardy fern.

0:23:210:23:23

Hardy ferns are fabulous if you've got a shady area,

0:23:230:23:26

especially if it's quite protected, because they literally keep

0:23:260:23:29

going nearly all through the winter,

0:23:290:23:31

and you get different textures of leaf,

0:23:310:23:34

different colours of leaf, and look really woodlandy,

0:23:340:23:38

and give that really green, lush feeling to an area.

0:23:380:23:41

Now Charlie takes her mixture of the clay, compost and sand,

0:23:440:23:48

and packs it around the fern roots to make a sticky ball.

0:23:480:23:52

She then wraps the whole thing in moss.

0:23:560:23:58

And then winds it in string to keep the moss in place.

0:24:000:24:04

The art of Japanese kokedama began in the early 1600s.

0:24:070:24:11

Originally, miniature bonsai trees were taken out of their pots

0:24:110:24:14

and displayed in this way.

0:24:140:24:16

While Charlie indulges in some Japanese crafting...

0:24:180:24:21

..in the back garden, Harry's taking a less subtle approach

0:24:220:24:26

to the old concrete in front of the cabin.

0:24:260:24:28

We're going to start by breaking this concrete here

0:24:280:24:31

so we can introduce a bit of planting.

0:24:310:24:33

And that will knit the whole scheme together

0:24:330:24:35

and really soften all the edges.

0:24:350:24:37

One of the biggest challenges with this project is to make

0:24:410:24:44

the giant building feel part of the new garden.

0:24:440:24:47

And, in North Yorkshire,

0:24:490:24:51

textile designer Georgia Wilkinson has done just that.

0:24:510:24:54

She needed a quiet workspace to start her new business,

0:24:560:24:59

so she bought a 1930s cricket pavilion,

0:24:590:25:03

moved it to her parents' farm, and converted it into a studio.

0:25:030:25:07

They were going to chop this gorgeous building up for firewood,

0:25:090:25:13

unless anyone wanted to give it a new home.

0:25:130:25:15

So, we decided to move it, and give it a new lease of life,

0:25:150:25:19

and it's been the perfect building for my studio.

0:25:190:25:22

Structurally, there wasn't a lot to change in it,

0:25:220:25:26

considering it was built in the 1930s, it's survived really well.

0:25:260:25:29

The shed has lots of original features,

0:25:290:25:32

it's not just been bought flat-packed and put up.

0:25:320:25:34

It has a sort of history to it.

0:25:340:25:36

The pavilion works really well for my business because it has the two,

0:25:390:25:43

the home and the visitor side,

0:25:430:25:44

which were there originally, and I've kept the two halves separate,

0:25:440:25:48

so I do have my clean designing side, and then the workshop space

0:25:480:25:53

in the home side, which works really well to keep the sort of

0:25:530:25:55

messiness, I can shut the door on it at the end of the day.

0:25:550:25:58

To turn a cricket pavilion into a garden building,

0:26:040:26:07

Georgia has dressed it with the tools of her trade...

0:26:070:26:10

..as well as vintage furniture and ornaments to make it feel

0:26:110:26:14

like home at her parents' farm.

0:26:140:26:16

Back in Bexley, the typically unpredictable British weather

0:26:200:26:24

means we've ended up with sun, not rain, so next to Mark and Lara's

0:26:240:26:29

new cabin, the giant concrete paving slabs have set already.

0:26:290:26:33

So, Harry and David are carefully removing the wooden moulds.

0:26:340:26:38

Now the pathway and seating area are finished,

0:26:390:26:43

the brothers can crack on with their planting scheme.

0:26:430:26:45

We're putting some semi-mature trees into this garden,

0:26:470:26:50

and when it came to choosing what species, we took inspiration

0:26:500:26:53

from the woodland that's literally just beyond the garden gate.

0:26:530:26:56

Lara and Mark love living so close to the woods

0:26:590:27:02

and liked the way the boys reflected it in their design.

0:27:020:27:05

And when it came to their choice of trees,

0:27:100:27:13

the boys didn't have to go far for inspiration.

0:27:130:27:15

When we came to this spot in the woodland,

0:27:210:27:23

we knew we had to use birch.

0:27:230:27:25

Really beautiful, really delicate trees,

0:27:250:27:27

and with a really light-dappled canopy.

0:27:270:27:28

Birch really does offer a lot because it's got this lovely,

0:27:280:27:31

natural foliage in the summer.

0:27:310:27:33

Even in the winter,

0:27:330:27:34

you've got this lovely kind of white and black stripped bark.

0:27:340:27:37

So, you know, it's a great tree for a smaller garden.

0:27:370:27:40

The boys have two birch trees to plant

0:27:440:27:46

in the new bed by the gravel seating area.

0:27:460:27:48

-Straight in the pot.

-Don't take him out!

0:27:520:27:54

It's easy when they're not heavy. Sit him in.

0:27:550:27:58

I think when you've got trees like this,

0:27:580:28:01

it really helps connecting with the natural landscape

0:28:010:28:03

that's just beyond your garden, beautiful woodland here,

0:28:030:28:06

so this is really just going to help draw the eye, make the garden feel

0:28:060:28:09

a bit bigger, and just make it feel like part of the woodland.

0:28:090:28:12

This soil's great, so we're not going to add any compost

0:28:120:28:15

when planting the tree.

0:28:150:28:17

But what we are going to do is give it a big drench

0:28:170:28:19

and then top-dress it with compost so it keeps the moisture in.

0:28:190:28:22

Costing just under £300 for the pair,

0:28:220:28:25

it's really important these trees are planted

0:28:250:28:28

with a lot of care and attention.

0:28:280:28:30

Meanwhile, out of harm's way, Charlie's kokedamas are nearly done.

0:28:320:28:38

-Look at these, these look great! Amazing!

-I love them.

0:28:380:28:41

This looks super fun, I'm quite jealous, actually.

0:28:410:28:43

I'm having a great time, so I don't need a hand at all, boys.

0:28:430:28:46

-It's like little antlers on that one.

-How heavy are they?

0:28:460:28:49

-Let's have a look.

-They're not ridiculous.

0:28:490:28:51

-But you can feel the weight of the clay.

-You don't need them

0:28:510:28:54

-to be watered, probably.

-You just stand them in a tray of water

0:28:540:28:56

for ten minutes, and it sucks it all up.

0:28:560:28:59

Of course, the Sphagnum acts like a wick,

0:28:590:29:01

drawing the moisture into the clay.

0:29:010:29:03

If you wanted to hang them...

0:29:030:29:05

Well, you just use string and tie them up.

0:29:050:29:07

-Or you can just place them on the wall.

-It's stunning.

-It's great!

0:29:070:29:11

I'm really enjoying myself.

0:29:110:29:13

I'm glad I've only got to do this and nothing else.

0:29:130:29:15

-I think you've done an epic job, Charlie.

-Good.

0:29:150:29:17

You're having fun out here, we're going to do some digging.

0:29:170:29:20

Sat in the sun. You've got cream on you, boys, haven't you,

0:29:200:29:23

-in this sun?

-No, I need to find some.

0:29:230:29:24

Unfortunately for Charlie, this isn't the only job for the day.

0:29:280:29:32

The lads need her skills to help plant tree number two.

0:29:320:29:36

Lift that up.

0:29:370:29:38

One, two, three.

0:29:380:29:40

-Oh!

-Oh!

0:29:400:29:41

CHARLIE LAUGHS

0:29:410:29:42

Did you bump heads?

0:29:420:29:43

-There's not a lot of space for our big heads.

-Too much hair, isn't it?

0:29:430:29:48

It's like a hair battle, isn't it?

0:29:480:29:50

And it's a good job, because the hole they've dug...

0:29:500:29:53

-Is that big enough?

-One, two, three...

-Let's find out.

0:29:530:29:56

..isn't big enough.

0:29:560:29:58

One, two, three...

0:29:580:29:59

The trees will grow steadily but it will take 20 years for them

0:29:590:30:03

to reach their maximum height of 18 metres.

0:30:030:30:06

Oh, yes.

0:30:060:30:07

One, two, three.

0:30:070:30:09

There we are, that's better.

0:30:110:30:12

-Might need a little bit of water once it's in.

-Yeah, yeah.

0:30:120:30:15

One more tree?

0:30:180:30:19

The third tree the boys have chosen for this space is an Amelanchier

0:30:190:30:23

which produces white flowers in the spring.

0:30:230:30:26

Very nice tree.

0:30:260:30:28

It is a beauty, isn't it?

0:30:280:30:29

The boys want to train the tree so it spreads nicely along the fence.

0:30:290:30:33

So, I'm just going to do it loose.

0:30:330:30:37

Whoa, too much! Up a little bit more.

0:30:370:30:40

Perfect, that's beautiful.

0:30:400:30:42

So, with Charlie's expert help,

0:30:440:30:47

they tether it so it'll grow into the shape they want.

0:30:470:30:50

Beautiful.

0:30:500:30:52

That totally screens that fence panel, doesn't it?

0:30:520:30:55

Merges in with the oak, doesn't it?

0:30:550:30:57

The under-gardener's next job is to start planting

0:31:010:31:04

in front of the cabin.

0:31:040:31:05

In the boys' design, the concrete slabs are interplanted

0:31:050:31:09

to break-up the solid hard landscaping.

0:31:090:31:11

Righty-ho.

0:31:120:31:14

So, the area I'm going to plant up now is between

0:31:150:31:19

these concrete pathways.

0:31:190:31:20

And the planting will just make it look sort of softer and more

0:31:200:31:25

attractive, whilst still making it practical.

0:31:250:31:28

And we've got a really gorgeous array of plants that will put up

0:31:280:31:33

with someone treading on them, and it won't kill them,

0:31:330:31:36

as well as looking very pretty because they all flower.

0:31:360:31:40

They've got really gorgeous scents.

0:31:400:31:42

So, we've got thymes, different thymes.

0:31:420:31:45

This one's a more upright one.

0:31:450:31:47

This one's a mat-forming one.

0:31:470:31:50

Oh, that one's lemon. Oh! Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum.

0:31:500:31:54

We've got Corsican mint, Which is very low and flat to the ground.

0:31:540:31:59

And then we've got some chamomile,

0:31:590:32:01

which won't take so much traffic, but we can have those on the edge,

0:32:010:32:06

sort of, where people don't walk quite so often.

0:32:060:32:10

And this is a bit looser.

0:32:100:32:12

Again, so yummy.

0:32:120:32:13

Using scented plants in the pathway means that when the family walk

0:32:150:32:18

on it, they'll brush against them, sending fragrance into the air.

0:32:180:32:22

And because Lara and Mark are not dedicated gardeners,

0:32:220:32:26

this bed is deliberately low-maintenance.

0:32:260:32:28

These plants will happily thrive on little water and in poor soil.

0:32:280:32:33

We now know that many beautiful plants can flourish

0:32:370:32:40

in poor conditions, but back in the 1960s,

0:32:400:32:43

garden designer Beth Chatto was one of the first to experiment

0:32:430:32:47

with the concept in our changeable British climate.

0:32:470:32:51

She transformed a disused car park into a wonderful gravel garden.

0:32:520:32:57

We're in one of the driest parts of the country with

0:32:580:33:01

only 20 inches of rain each year,

0:33:010:33:04

and Beth really wanted to create

0:33:040:33:07

a garden which looked beautiful,

0:33:070:33:10

which didn't need irrigation.

0:33:100:33:12

The soil here is very, very sandy, very poor, free-draining.

0:33:130:33:18

All the plants are chosen

0:33:180:33:20

because they're adapted to the dry conditions.

0:33:200:33:23

And the gravel actually helps to keep or lock in the moisture.

0:33:230:33:28

You can say it's a Mediterranean style of planting,

0:33:300:33:33

but the plants come from all over the world.

0:33:330:33:36

Among the plants that thrive here are the sedums, verbenas,

0:33:360:33:39

we have got Nepetas.

0:33:390:33:41

It's really important to have all-year-round structure.

0:33:410:33:44

In this garden, we use Cistuses and lavenders,

0:33:440:33:47

so there's something there even through the winter months.

0:33:470:33:50

This garden is not really about flower colour at all.

0:33:510:33:55

It's about the contrasting shapes and textures.

0:33:550:33:59

What they have got in common

0:33:590:34:00

is that they thrive in these kinds of conditions.

0:34:000:34:03

Back in the Kent garden,

0:34:080:34:10

Charlie is busy planting her low-maintenance pathway.

0:34:100:34:13

So, when you plant these, you want to make sure that

0:34:150:34:17

they're sort of slightly lower than the surface.

0:34:170:34:21

That way, they'll sort of mould into the concrete structure.

0:34:210:34:26

And, to keep them looking good,

0:34:260:34:28

you don't want them to go all woody and straggly.

0:34:280:34:30

So, the best thing to do, once they finish flowering,

0:34:300:34:34

is get a pair of scissors and just trim them over.

0:34:340:34:37

That'll keep them nice and compact, and looking good.

0:34:370:34:41

Chamomile tends to be quite floppy.

0:34:410:34:43

Again, when it's flowered,

0:34:430:34:45

just trim it up and that'll just keep that nice mat shape.

0:34:450:34:48

Meanwhile, the bosses are planning the next planting beds.

0:34:560:35:00

In their design, the boys have chosen beds that mirror the shape

0:35:010:35:05

of the cabin, and they're using wood edging to create a neat finish.

0:35:050:35:09

But it's not long before landscaper Adam needs their muscle.

0:35:130:35:17

He's created a frame for the upcycled storage shed.

0:35:170:35:21

Now all it needs is a roof.

0:35:210:35:24

Beautiful. So, we're just finishing upcycling this shed

0:35:290:35:32

that we've recycled from the shed

0:35:320:35:33

that was existing in the garden already.

0:35:330:35:35

It's solid, it's sturdy, and it's looking really, really good.

0:35:350:35:38

What we're going to do with this one

0:35:380:35:40

is we're going to put a green roof over the top of it.

0:35:400:35:42

So, what we've done is we've braced the roof, cos that's one of

0:35:420:35:45

the first and most important things. You can't put a green roof

0:35:450:35:47

on a roof that isn't strong enough.

0:35:470:35:49

It's going to collapse, and that's not good.

0:35:490:35:51

So, we've got some 3x2s here, just supporting that.

0:35:510:35:53

The next thing, we've got a waterproof membrane, which is

0:35:530:35:56

going to stop water permeating through and rotting the roof.

0:35:560:35:59

Then we're going to put a framework on top,

0:35:590:36:01

and that holds all the plants and substrate in.

0:36:010:36:03

David's adding 100 golden thymes.

0:36:070:36:11

This evergreen perennial will provide all-round interest

0:36:110:36:14

and pink flowers in late spring and early summer.

0:36:140:36:17

Dream on!

0:36:180:36:20

Keeping the plants in their trays like this is definitely

0:36:210:36:24

one of the easier ways to create a green roof.

0:36:240:36:26

This really gives Lara and Mark the opportunity to change them up,

0:36:260:36:29

mix and match the plants, and really have some fun with it.

0:36:290:36:32

With the new shed in place and less boots on the ground,

0:36:350:36:39

Charlie is helping Scott create a final concrete panel.

0:36:390:36:43

There'd better be enough of this.

0:36:430:36:45

This links the steps up to the house and will complete

0:36:450:36:48

the brothers' staggered pathway.

0:36:480:36:49

When this concrete panel is set, all the hard landscaping

0:36:540:36:58

will be finished.

0:36:580:36:59

Harry and David have moved on to planting

0:37:010:37:03

the three main beds in their design.

0:37:030:37:05

With so much hardscaping in the garden,

0:37:060:37:09

it's critical to choose the right plants to soften the space.

0:37:090:37:13

We really wanted to keep the woodland theme in this garden

0:37:130:37:17

but, because the aspect is a lot more sunny,

0:37:170:37:19

it gives you the opportunity to use more ornamental plants.

0:37:190:37:22

We've got things like Thalictrum, Astrantia, Calamagrostis,

0:37:220:37:26

and all these kind of knit together to give this really lovely

0:37:260:37:29

kind of understory feeling,

0:37:290:37:31

and, you know, it's very green and very luscious,

0:37:310:37:33

and with just a very muted colour palette,

0:37:330:37:36

it knits this garden together really nicely.

0:37:360:37:39

The team are now on the home stretch.

0:37:390:37:42

And, while the boys beaver away,

0:37:420:37:45

it's time for a final Japanese touch, courtesy of Charlie.

0:37:450:37:49

Here we go.

0:37:490:37:50

First two kokedama - I've made them so they're hanging ones.

0:37:500:37:53

-So, on the side of the...cabin.

-They look epic, don't they?

0:37:530:37:56

I love the authentic string. They're quite heavy, aren't they?

0:37:560:38:00

-They're very heavy, yeah.

-They're nice and wet.

0:38:000:38:02

Yes, I soaked them, and let them just drip dry.

0:38:020:38:05

Yeah, you need to face it up because I want the Hosta looking this way,

0:38:070:38:10

-all right?

-OK, boss.

0:38:100:38:12

I think they're really cool.

0:38:130:38:15

They look epic. Really, really cool, Charlie.

0:38:150:38:17

All they need is a bit of a trim, and the cabin,

0:38:170:38:20

like the rest of the garden, is complete.

0:38:200:38:23

Just stay few days ago,

0:38:260:38:27

the bottom half of Lara and Mark's garden was a scruffy, cluttered

0:38:270:38:31

area, filled with two sheds, ugly concrete slabs, and a trampoline.

0:38:310:38:36

Now it's had a £4,500 transformation.

0:38:360:38:41

The cabin may dominate nearly half the space, but it's an essential

0:38:420:38:46

part of the garden design, giving the family the extra room they need.

0:38:460:38:50

But it's swallowed £2,500 of the budget,

0:38:500:38:54

so the boys had to come up with a host of clever ideas to make

0:38:540:38:57

the garden around it work for the money.

0:38:570:39:00

Rather than expensive stone pavers, they used concrete that was

0:39:010:39:06

set in moulds to create a staggered pathway.

0:39:060:39:08

The lines draw the eye towards the woodland behind,

0:39:100:39:13

giving the illusion that the garden is bigger, all for £170.

0:39:130:39:18

The boys built a contemporary seating area for the couple

0:39:180:39:21

to enjoy the woodland view.

0:39:210:39:23

They used £160 worth of grey gravel to achieve a sleek, modern feel.

0:39:230:39:29

A new sofa that cost just under £250 completes the look.

0:39:300:39:35

The brothers' choice of trees were inspired by the woods behind.

0:39:360:39:40

They spent £350 on two birch trees and an Amelanchier.

0:39:410:39:45

Lara and Mark wanted a low-maintenance planting scheme,

0:39:490:39:52

so the boys spent £550 on a mix of fragrant herbs, ferns,

0:39:520:39:58

grasses, and ornamental plants.

0:39:580:40:00

The boys upcycled the couple's tatty old shed into

0:40:030:40:06

a new storage space.

0:40:060:40:08

They then created another planting opportunity by making a green roof.

0:40:080:40:12

Finally, Charlie made some Japanese kokedamas that now hang

0:40:140:40:19

by the side of the cabin.

0:40:190:40:20

At just £10 each,

0:40:200:40:22

these are the quirky touch to complete the boys' garden scheme.

0:40:220:40:26

Harry and David have transformed this dilapidated area

0:40:290:40:32

into a practical and stylish space.

0:40:320:40:35

-But is it everything Lara and Mark were hoping for?

-There's a step...

0:40:360:40:40

-now.

-Here we go.

-A little bit further, a little bit further.

0:40:400:40:44

Eyes closed tight.

0:40:440:40:46

Ready? Open your eyes and have a look at your new garden.

0:40:460:40:49

Ooh! Oh, wow!

0:40:490:40:52

-What do you think?

-It's beautiful.

0:40:540:40:56

-MARK:

-It's fantastic.

-Yeah, it's lovely.

0:40:560:40:59

Really, really, really nice.

0:40:590:41:02

Oh, big smiles!

0:41:020:41:04

It's brilliant.

0:41:040:41:06

-Yeah, it's brilliant.

-MARK:

-Loads of plants.

0:41:060:41:08

-HARRY:

-It's definitely greener, isn't it?

0:41:080:41:10

So much planting, love the gravel as well.

0:41:100:41:12

It all looks so clean and fresh.

0:41:120:41:14

We've got the low-lying scented plants here.

0:41:140:41:17

-We've got things like thyme, chamomile, Moroccan mint...

-OK.

0:41:170:41:21

So they'll smell beautiful.

0:41:210:41:23

And if you walk over them, if you brush them, that's really nice.

0:41:230:41:26

Checking out the beautifully aromatic herbs.

0:41:260:41:30

-LARA:

-We've got some ferns.

0:41:300:41:31

-Yeah.

-That's the only one I recognise! And a grass.

0:41:310:41:34

-Perfect.

-There we are. So, we've got your cabin here.

0:41:340:41:37

And given you a sofa over there.

0:41:370:41:39

Do you feel like, as a family now, you'll use this space a lot more?

0:41:390:41:42

Definitely, yeah, without a doubt, it's a proper...

0:41:420:41:46

Well, living area, isn't it?

0:41:460:41:47

-MARK:

-It's been transformed from something that was disused

0:41:470:41:51

in the summer and abandoned for the rest of the year

0:41:510:41:54

into something that we'll use all year round.

0:41:540:41:56

Exactly, that's what's so nice about having the cabin, isn't it?

0:41:560:41:59

This has really made sure

0:41:590:42:00

that they've got enough space for everyone.

0:42:000:42:03

-Oh, look!

-Can you guess what that is?

-Perfect!

0:42:030:42:06

-MARK:

-That's our old shed.

0:42:060:42:08

LAUGHTER

0:42:080:42:09

Recycled bike shed, looks like it's going down well.

0:42:090:42:12

Oh, it's perfect.

0:42:120:42:14

-It's been chopped about a bit.

-I imagine!

0:42:140:42:16

-Well, it doesn't look like the old shed.

-It's stronger

0:42:160:42:19

-than the old one, I can tell you that.

-Brilliant.

0:42:190:42:21

That's fantastic.

0:42:210:42:22

We've got these little things that Charlie did,

0:42:220:42:24

they're called kokedamas,

0:42:240:42:26

so they're like a really cool way of having a hanging basket.

0:42:260:42:28

-And then a little bit of thyme, gold thyme, on the roof.

-It's perfect.

0:42:280:42:31

It's lovely. Thank you.

0:42:310:42:33

-HARRY:

-No worries.

-Pleasure.

-Brilliant.

0:42:330:42:35

With two growing sons,

0:42:350:42:37

Lara and Mark's home has been feeling the squeeze.

0:42:370:42:41

Now they not only have an extra room but also

0:42:410:42:44

a stylish, contemporary garden that they can all enjoy.

0:42:440:42:48

I really like the redesign.

0:42:490:42:51

I think it looks fantastic, it looks really light, it's spacious,

0:42:510:42:54

it's got everything in there that we want.

0:42:540:42:56

We couldn't have done the work ourselves,

0:42:560:42:58

and ended up with something so nice.

0:42:580:43:00

Now we've got a whole different garden. It's beautiful.

0:43:000:43:04

Charlie Dimmock and the Rich brothers are in Bexley, Kent to visit a couple with two growing sons. As the boys get bigger, they're feeling the squeeze in the house so are keen to transform a disused area at the bottom of the garden into a new multi-functional space that they can all enjoy. The centrepiece of this space needs to be a cabin that will be an extension to their home, but they would also like a contemporary outdoor space around it. With the cabin eating up the majority of the budget, the designers have their work cut out.