York Garden Rescue


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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

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that change people's perceptions of gardens.

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

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-Oh, wow.

-Pipped in!

-That's really 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.

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-It is, isn't it?

-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 each pitch them a design based on their needs and budget.

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-It looks really exciting.

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

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-The winner...

-Da-da!

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THEY CHEER

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..brings their design to life.

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-Hold on! Hold on!

-Sweet as a nut.

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

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I'm getting irritated now, we're sort of faffing around.

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This is what happens...

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Does he ever get irritating?

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All the time.

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..when different styles collide...

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-Who chose these?!

-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!

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Open your eyes.

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Whoa!

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It's amazing. It's beautiful.

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So, whose garden will Charlie and the Rich Brothers

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be battling over this time?

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Tea.

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Today is the turn of photographer Alasdair

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and marketing manager Philippa,

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who live in York with their cat, Ginny.

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Two years ago, not long after they got married,

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the couple bought this Edwardian terraced house

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and began painstakingly restoring it to its former glory.

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We had to rip everything out and start from scratch,

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which was hard work.

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Yeah. It's just left us with the garden to finish off now.

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Once that's done, we'll be done and dusted.

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They're a young couple that live in York.

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Very sweet, aren't they? Look!

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I bet their mum and dad were happy when they got married.

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-They're lovely!

-They're charming looking, aren't they?

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-They are. Ideal.

-Yeah.

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Their house is now a stylish mix of period and contemporary.

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While the garden is a concrete jungle.

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At the moment we don't use the garden at all,

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because there's nowhere to sit, there's nothing to look at.

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It's just a dumping ground.

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Basically, all the stuff we had left over from doing up the house

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has just gone straight in the garden, so it's all got...

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-It's just a mess.

-A bit manky, a bit of a mess.

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It is east facing, so I think it's going to be quite shady.

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That's something we'll have to deal with.

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-Not necessarily a bad thing, though.

-Not at all! Some luscious plants.

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Being a terrace, it's bound to be overlooked.

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-Yeah.

-And probably have one of those...

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Looks like they've got that funny, odd bit

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that nobody quite knows what to do with.

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This plot is just four and a half metres by seven and a half metres

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and void of any plants.

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It's going to take some serious inspiration

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to reveal its hidden beauty.

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Having created such a stunning home,

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Alasdair and Philippa have very high standards.

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We'd like a mix like we have in the house, of quite clean lines

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and almost regimented with also kind of overflowing planting.

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And they're prepared to spend the money

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to make the outside look as good as the inside.

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So we've got five grand to spend with this garden,

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which I'm very pleased about, because it's actually quite small.

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It does seems a bit silly to scrimp on the garden

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when we've spent so much time and effort on the house.

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Hopefully, it means we can get really good quality materials

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that will stand the test of time.

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£5,000 is a serious budget for such a small space,

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but these are serious clients

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who are going to expect something very special.

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So Charlie and the boys are going head-to-head,

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each designing a new garden for Philippa and Alasdair.

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They'll travel to York, and present their designs to the couple,

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who will choose which one gets built.

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And the loser has to help the winner build their garden.

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It's the day of the pitch.

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Will Alasdair and Philippa go for Charlie,

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with her decades of experience and vast knowledge of plants...

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-Wow!

-Wow.

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..or the Rich Brothers,

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known for their contemporary, medal-winning designs?

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-Here we go!

-Yeah.

-Yeah?

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That looks good.

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You come out of your main door there to this open area,

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seating area, mainly.

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This is a low, shallow pool of water for reflection.

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And I thought it'd be quite nice for your seating area

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to be somewhere that you get to, so there's stepping stones across

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onto an area of chunky oak timber deck.

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What we wanted to do was create this extension from your house.

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This stylish, outdoor room that complemented the stylish interior

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you guys have done there.

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We've got the front room straight out from the kitchen,

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which is more for the morning and dining.

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The idea was to use a wooden flooring.

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as if it is an extension to the house.

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Then, the back area with two sofas and a fire bowl,

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somewhere more intimate, more cosy,

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a place to really relax and enjoy the space.

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The Rich Brothers' design

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seamlessly links the interior of the house

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to a luxurious outdoor living space.

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But Charlie's taking a gamble,

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by going for a shallow pool by the back door.

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Now for the planting.

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One of the key features in the garden are these tree ferns.

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They've got so many good qualities.

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One of them is they've got a really luscious, really large canopy,

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but they've got a really thin stem,

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so they don't take up too much room

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and impose on a small space like this.

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Tree ferns make a dramatic statement.

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But will they be too much for Philippa?

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Also, with the lighting in the garden we're going to put in,

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when they're up-lit, they're so architectural and so sculptural.

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Charlie's playing it safe, with shorter, exotic plants.

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Plant-wise, lots of greens but foliage effects.

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So, things like that Fatsia japonica, Rodgersias, flowers,

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but very simple, fluffy white flowers.

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This is Equisetum, so it's very regimented and upright,

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looks like bamboo.

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But with five grand burning a hole in their pocket,

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the couple have some questions.

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What happens down the side next to kitchen?

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What we want to do is create this really luscious space.

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It's more an area to look upon rather to be in.

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The boys are continuing the fern theme into the side alley,

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but Charlie sees it as a whole new garden.

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This is very Dingley Dell.

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I want this to be a fernery, with really lush plants.

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So lots of hardy ferns,

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some tree ferns for a little bit of height and some hostas.

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So it's all leaves, foliage...

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-Really nice.

-I have to say, that's my favourite bit of the design.

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Only one design can win.

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So who's it going to be?

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Will they spend their £5,000 on

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Charlie's Dingley Dell garden,

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with its tranquil water feature

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and stepping stones,

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or on the boys' chic outdoor lounge

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with its elegant tree ferns?

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-Hi, guys.

-It's a really difficult decision to make.

-Yeah. But...

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..we've come up with...

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Da-da!

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CHARLIE AND THE RICH BROTHERS CHEER

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-Nice! That's awesome.

-What made you choose our design?

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Think it was the two areas,

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having the breakfast room just outside the kitchen,

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which is ideal, and then a cosier area at the back.

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Really excited about it.

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-Are you starting now?

-Yeah, I've got my gloves!

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The Rich Brothers have emerged triumphant.

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If that's not enough, they now get to boss Charlie around,

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when all three of them build the garden.

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It's early morning in York,

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and while the Rich Brothers are away working on the final details of their design,

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they've sent project manager Paul and the landscaping team in

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to clear the garden and mark it out according to their plan.

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So it's this lip here that we're going off,

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so everything is determined from that.

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So it looks almost like the floor inside is coming straight out.

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At the far end of the garden, they have planned a contemporary patio.

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So the team need to prep that area ready for the large modern slab.

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Meanwhile, out front, the Rich Brothers and Charlie have arrived,

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and are preparing themselves for the huge task

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of bringing the boys' winning design to life.

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Right, guys, we've got our work cut out for us with this garden.

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There's going to be a few challenges, isn't there?

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-It's small, but doesn't come without its trouble, does it?

-Mm.

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Basically, it's one level from the kitchen floor straight out.

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-No steps.

-Like extended rooms.

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They can open the partition doors and walk straight out.

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-Blimey!

-With that added pressure now then, Barry, you're on slabs.

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You'll be doing a bit of that.

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Charlie, I'm going to hide you away in this little Dingley Dell here.

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OK. Doing what?

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-Just relaxing, drinking tea.

-Yeah! Sitting down...

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Catching some sun. And I'm going to set myself on the decking.

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-It's not that sunny.

-It isn't at all, is it?

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-Catching the rain.

-Optimism, people!

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-Right...

-Cool.

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With the boys taking charge in the back...

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Charlie's been demoted to the side alley.

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And out the front, there's been a delivery.

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-Look at those!

-Goodness me!

-Wow.

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The six mature tree ferns the boys are hoping

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will bring some real drama to the garden have arrived.

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Tree ferns are an excellent addition to a smaller garden,

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because they have shallow roots.

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But they still provide shade under their wide, feathery fronds.

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Mature samples can cost between £200 and £400,

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so Philippa's keen to see what she's getting for her money.

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-It's going to be like Jurassic Park, I think.

-Quite prehistoric!

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One of the biggest challenges with designing a small garden

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is that even the tiniest imperfections are on show.

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Knowing that Alasdair and Philippa have an eye for detail,

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the boys have ordered high-quality materials, for a flawless finish -

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starting with these giant paving slabs.

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So we decided to go for a 900 by 600 slab.

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This is probably one of the largest slabs you can get.

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It's kind of key when you have a small garden

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to use elements that are slightly oversized.

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Using big slabs tricks the eyes into thinking the space is larger,

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and laying them across the garden gives the impression of width.

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We also decided to push the slabs up together,

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so there's no pointed line in between.

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This really gives this nice, contemporary feel

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which links in with the house nicely.

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This garden is all about using the small space efficiently,

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without comprising the contemporary look,

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and the boys have even come up with somewhere

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for the couple to store their garden tools.

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The entrance to the side return is going to be a walk-through shed,

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and because Alasdair has done up some of the house himself,

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he's keen to have a go at building it.

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Hopefully, if I've measured right, this will be going straight in.

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Like a glove! Look at that.

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Meanwhile, whilst the boys can contemplate their next move

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in the big garden...

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Charlie remains confined to the little one.

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I should get my bit finished, done and dusted easily!

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Bring me tea!

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The courtyard has been designed as an area for the couple to sit back

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and admire from their kitchen.

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Having only a few pavers,

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it will be filled to the brim with luscious plants.

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This area here is absolutely tiny.

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I mean, really tiny. But it will look fantastic.

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They overlook it from the kitchen,

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so we're planting it up with really lovely, lush plants.

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You got Baltic parsley -

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it's like cow parsley but much more architectural and bold.

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This area is already lit,

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so it's going to look spectacular with the plants at night.

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So I'm going to plant this Japanese anemone against the wall.

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It doesn't look much at the moment, but it's a lovely plant,

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gives you lots of flowers later in the season

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when some garden plants are looking a bit sad.

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Comes up, has low foliage, but comes up with flower spikes

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that have got pink, open flowers,

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which look gorgeous against this brickwork, the texture of it.

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I wish the soil was a little bit easier to dig, but there you go,

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you can't have everything in life, can you?

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The next big challenge in the main garden is to seamlessly connect

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the kitchen with the patio area, using a stylish deck.

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It needs to be perfectly flush with the patio,

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so the subframe needs to be spot on.

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And so we're putting a membrane down to stop any weed growth

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coming up through the decking.

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With most of the hard landscaping finished,

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it's time for the stars of the garden - the tree ferns -

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to make an appearance.

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These are big old beasts, they're hard to carry around,

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so we're going to get some sticks, put them in place

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and find out their positions.

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Harry, chuck 'em over...

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-Pass me some of those sticks there, mate.

-Some of these?

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Yeah, they're perfect. Five of them, please.

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Perfect. Nice.

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Right, what are we thinking?

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Placing them too close together, too far apart,

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or too equidistant will look unnatural,

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so it's critical to position them perfectly.

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-Like that?

-Yeah, lovely.

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-And then we'd probably go for one, maybe there?

-Yeah.

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And that one can go here, and that...

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-That will be perfect for privacy, actually.

-Yeah.

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Tree ferns have shallow roots,

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so the hole only needs to be 10cm bigger than the trunk's diameter,

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and 20cm deeper than the root ball.

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While the bosses get to play with the big trees,

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Charlie's been given a project

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that's even smaller than the side return.

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We're going to make this into a green roof.

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Now, because Alasdair's made the shed himself,

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it's really strong and reinforced.

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If you were using a prefabricated shed at home,

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you'd want to put some extra structure in

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because of the weight of the roof.

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The roof has been felted,

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but to make sure it matches the rest of the garden,

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Charlie's adding a lip, using the same decking boards as the floor.

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Now, I want to try and create a tray that's about three inches deep.

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And you can't see, but I can feel it's about...

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(That's probably about two inches deep.)

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That'll be enough for the sedums, yeah?

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That's going to go down like that, then we'll trim that off

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so you won't see it, see? That'll look nice.

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Adding a green roof is a great way to create another planting area

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in a small garden, and can transform an old summerhouse or shed.

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But it needs plenty of watering,

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so it's safer to use drought-tolerant plants

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like succulents.

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But there's no rest for Charlie. The boys need some manual labour.

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Do you want to go in there already, Charlie?

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OK... What, so that I fall over flat on my bottom?

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-Hopefully!

-CHARLIE LAUGHS

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You cheeky thing!

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-Are we just going to walk it and rest it on the things?

-Yeah.

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Just do it a bit at a time.

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Let's not go mad.

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-CHUCKLING:

-Where are we going?

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-Which one's this for?

-Far left.

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Ready? Three, two, one.

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Who chose these? Why did we want them so big?

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They're pretty heavy, aren't they?

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They are quite chunky!

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Very nice, well done.

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-Right, I think it needs to probably spin that way.

-Spin round. Yeah.

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Good work.

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Cool!

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One down, four to go.

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Brilliant.

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Cool.

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These are going to give a lovely, modern touch to the garden.

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And they've got a lovely canopy,

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without losing too much light on this garden,

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and the vertical aspect really lifts your eye

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and lets you still see through the garden.

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The tree fern has small, fibrous roots to get moisture...

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so they need properly securing.

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So what we're doing with this tree fern is,

0:18:010:18:03

because it hasn't got normal roots like a tree,

0:18:030:18:05

is we're banging in these stakes,

0:18:050:18:07

and they'll anchor it down and act like roots.

0:18:070:18:08

Then we're going to screw it into the tree fern,

0:18:080:18:11

and that'll just hold it there secure.

0:18:110:18:13

It may seem strange,

0:18:180:18:20

putting a plant that originated in Australia in a Yorkshire garden...

0:18:200:18:24

..but there's surprising number of exotic plants

0:18:280:18:30

that, with a little TLC, can live happily in the UK climate.

0:18:300:18:35

Tom Hart Dyke,

0:18:360:18:38

curator of the World Garden at Lullingstone Castle in Kent,

0:18:380:18:41

oversees one of the largest collections of exotics in Britain.

0:18:410:18:46

My draw to exotic plants is this magnetic attraction by the foliage

0:18:460:18:52

and by the flowers you cannot, or very rarely, see in this country.

0:18:520:18:56

There's something about them.

0:18:560:18:58

There are easy steps you can take to grow a wide range of plants

0:18:580:19:02

that you cannot believe you can get away with,

0:19:020:19:05

simply by covering them up

0:19:050:19:07

with Dad's old woolly jumpers, scarves,

0:19:070:19:10

and just simple measures to grow a wide range of plants.

0:19:100:19:14

It's the combination of both wet and cold weather in the UK

0:19:160:19:21

that can be harmful to many exotics.

0:19:210:19:24

This is the yucca. It's my most favourite plant,

0:19:250:19:28

and I have to say, look at it, it's stunning.

0:19:280:19:31

Whatever the winter,

0:19:310:19:33

I would only have a pane of glass to cover the whole surface area

0:19:330:19:36

of the plant, in a wooden frame that's screwed into four posts.

0:19:360:19:40

If you don't have the time to create a cold frame for your plants,

0:19:420:19:46

some can handle anything our climate throws at them.

0:19:460:19:49

This is Trachycarpus fortunei, the Chusan fan palm.

0:19:510:19:54

It's so exotic to look at but it's really hardy.

0:19:540:19:58

It is the hardiest palm that we can grow in this country.

0:19:580:20:02

It comes from extremely cold areas of Asia,

0:20:020:20:05

hence why we can grow it in this climate.

0:20:050:20:07

Minus 17 we had here five years ago.

0:20:070:20:10

Pfft! It was laughing in the face of minus 17!

0:20:100:20:13

Exotic they may be,

0:20:150:20:17

but by being a little brave and taking the necessary steps,

0:20:170:20:20

you'll be pleasantly surprised at how they thrive in your garden.

0:20:200:20:24

In York, our exotic tree ferns can handle all but the coldest frost.

0:20:270:20:33

Adding a layer of straw to protect the crown,

0:20:330:20:36

and folding the fronds in on themselves in the winter months

0:20:360:20:38

will keep them safe.

0:20:380:20:40

It's always a good idea to get as many people as possible

0:20:400:20:43

in a very small space(!)

0:20:430:20:45

SHE CHUCKLES

0:20:450:20:46

Cos I think the ferns here probably won't really die back.

0:20:470:20:51

-No.

-Because they'll be so protected.

0:20:510:20:54

-Looks like we're nearly done.

-No more digging then, soldier.

0:20:540:20:57

Righty-ho.

0:20:570:20:59

So it's leaning...that way.

0:20:590:21:01

-Yay!

-That's a good fit!

0:21:010:21:03

At last, they're all in, and are ready for the grand unveiling.

0:21:040:21:09

Big moment now, mate. Time to get the fronds out.

0:21:110:21:14

-Ta-da!

-Beautiful.

0:21:170:21:19

There we are, look at that. Tease them out a bit.

0:21:190:21:22

That's really nice, isn't it? Look at that!

0:21:220:21:25

MUSIC: Blue Danube Waltz by Johann Strauss

0:21:250:21:28

Ooh, crikey!

0:21:300:21:31

A jungle! Whoo!

0:21:330:21:35

-Lovely.

-That's amazing.

0:21:400:21:41

That's better than I expected.

0:21:430:21:45

To make the most of the striking tree ferns in this garden,

0:21:550:21:58

Harry and David have included a lighting scheme to up-light them -

0:21:580:22:02

bringing a whole new dimension to the garden at night.

0:22:020:22:05

-What do you want now, then?

-Hellebores, please. Red ones.

0:22:090:22:11

-Red ones?

-Yeah, reds.

0:22:110:22:13

Aw, perfect.

0:22:130:22:14

These are fab.

0:22:140:22:16

-They're beautiful, aren't they?

-Gorgeous.

0:22:160:22:18

Additional planting defines the two different living areas

0:22:180:22:21

in the boys' design.

0:22:210:22:23

With so much patio and deck,

0:22:230:22:25

they're underplanting the ferns with smaller but equally lush varieties

0:22:250:22:29

that will spill over and soften those hard edges.

0:22:290:22:33

We love to use grasses in our planting schemes,

0:22:330:22:35

cos we feel it's kind of like the background noise.

0:22:350:22:38

It's what really holds the planting scheme together,

0:22:380:22:40

and then you can dot in your flowering perennials,

0:22:400:22:42

like the astrantias, the aquilegias or the hellebores.

0:22:420:22:45

Well, I have to say, I just love hellebores.

0:22:470:22:50

They've got these lovely flowers that get full of stamens,

0:22:500:22:55

and then afterwards, they get seed pods,

0:22:550:22:57

which I think look quite cute as well.

0:22:570:22:59

And then the foliage is really pretty come the summertime,

0:22:590:23:04

and it's great for flower arranging.

0:23:040:23:06

It's all coming together,

0:23:090:23:11

and although she's been the undergardener, Charlie is impressed.

0:23:110:23:15

Do you know what, David? This looks like your design!

0:23:150:23:19

-Yeah!

-Ha-hey! Whoo-ooh!

0:23:190:23:21

Thank goodness you've said that.

0:23:210:23:22

I'm really, really pleased how it's looking, actually. I love it.

0:23:220:23:26

And once the deck's done, Charlie can finally finish the green roof.

0:23:280:23:33

We've got planting medium with this stuff, which is called hydroleca.

0:23:360:23:40

It's ever so light and porous,

0:23:400:23:42

and we've mixed that in with the planting medium.

0:23:420:23:45

These are water-holding, clay pebbles, and are lighter than soil,

0:23:450:23:49

so they're ideal for our green roof.

0:23:490:23:52

And we have a thin layer over, and I'll plant through with succulents -

0:23:530:23:58

sedums, sempervivum, that type of thing -

0:23:580:24:01

that puts up with really sort of drought conditions.

0:24:010:24:04

Also windy conditions and full sunshine,

0:24:040:24:09

which you will get on this side, and it will create a mat

0:24:090:24:11

right the way across the roof, and it'll look gorgeous.

0:24:110:24:15

I'm going to plant them slightly proud,

0:24:170:24:20

because I'm then going to put a very light gravel all the way round them.

0:24:200:24:26

This garden has been a big challenge...

0:24:290:24:33

..in a very small space.

0:24:350:24:38

-It's really, really heavy.

-Watch it.

0:24:390:24:41

So what do you think?

0:24:470:24:49

Yeah, it's going to look nice.

0:24:490:24:51

Interested to see what cushions they've got as well.

0:24:510:24:53

But, as daylight begins to fade...

0:24:540:24:57

Paul? How do you want to start this fire?

0:24:570:24:59

-I can start doing that.

-With a match.

0:24:590:25:02

All right, then. With a match.

0:25:020:25:04

..Philippa and Alasdair's garden is finally finished.

0:25:040:25:07

In its former life,

0:25:150:25:16

the couple's garden was a poor relation to their stunning home...

0:25:160:25:20

..with bags of rubble everywhere,

0:25:210:25:23

and old, battered crazy paving throughout.

0:25:230:25:26

Now, it's had a £5,000 facelift.

0:25:280:25:32

The boys have used high-quality materials

0:25:340:25:37

to provide an elegant finish.

0:25:370:25:39

The new decking area is ideal for having breakfast,

0:25:410:25:43

or a bit of evening dining.

0:25:430:25:46

Costing around £1,200, it extends seamlessly from the kitchen,

0:25:460:25:51

linking the outside with the inside.

0:25:510:25:53

Towards the rear of the garden is a superb patio,

0:25:560:25:59

made from large pavers that cost around £600.

0:25:590:26:02

An elegant fire bowl links the space with a couple's indoor fire,

0:26:020:26:07

and is perfect for romantic evenings.

0:26:070:26:09

Before, the garden was flat and featureless.

0:26:100:26:14

Now, statuesque tree ferns bring drama,

0:26:150:26:19

texture and year-round colour to the garden.

0:26:190:26:22

With the rest of the planting, they ate up £2,500 of the bill,

0:26:240:26:29

but the boys are hoping the couple will think it was worth it.

0:26:290:26:33

And, of course, there's the narrow alleyway,

0:26:350:26:37

which Charlie has turned into a lush courtyard.

0:26:370:26:40

Alasdair and Philippa wanted the perfect garden,

0:26:440:26:47

and were prepared to spend five grand to get it.

0:26:470:26:51

(The garden looks beautiful, very "Chelsea".)

0:26:510:26:54

It's time to find out if the boys have delivered.

0:26:540:26:58

You're now crossing the threshold into your new garden.

0:26:580:27:00

Open your eyes.

0:27:000:27:02

Wow!

0:27:020:27:04

-What do you think?

-Wow!

0:27:040:27:06

-It's amazing!

-Thought it was going to look amazing,

0:27:080:27:10

but, yeah, it looks phenomenal.

0:27:100:27:13

Got the fire bowl going, lit, ready for your evening.

0:27:130:27:16

It looks great!

0:27:160:27:18

Explore your garden, please.

0:27:180:27:20

-Walk on through.

-It's fantastic!

0:27:200:27:22

-What do you think of the tunnel?

-Yeah, it's a proper tunnel.

0:27:220:27:25

It's like a wee adventure!

0:27:250:27:26

It was a small garden before, wasn't it?

0:27:280:27:31

It feels twice the size.

0:27:310:27:33

You can really see all the quality materials, can't you?

0:27:330:27:36

The decking is really nice, this is really nice.

0:27:360:27:39

-Obviously, the tree ferns are fantastic.

-Yeah.

0:27:390:27:42

Combined with the design,

0:27:420:27:44

-I don't know how it could be any better, to be honest.

-Aw! Very kind.

0:27:440:27:47

-Say nothing more!

-We're off now, that's us done.

0:27:470:27:50

This couple entrusted Harry and David with five grand of their own cash.

0:27:530:27:59

So do they think it's been money well spent?

0:27:590:28:02

You think that spending five grand

0:28:020:28:05

is a lot of money for such a little garden.

0:28:050:28:08

But I'm glad that we did, because it's worthwhile. Worth every penny.

0:28:080:28:11

There was absolutely no way we could have made it look like that,

0:28:140:28:17

it's just fantastic.

0:28:170:28:19

Charlie and the Rich brothers are in York, helping a couple who have spent two years painstakingly renovating their terraced home. With a very, very small garden, full of crazy paving and building materials, Charlie and the boys compete to give it a £5k facelift, turning it into a luxurious haven to relax and entertain in. And along the way, they have a host of ideas and tips for making the most of small spaces and shady corners.


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