Marlborough Garden Rescue


Marlborough

Garden renovation series. Microbiologist and keen amateur photographer Usha wants a garden that will be a welcoming habitat for all sorts of wildlife.


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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... 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 will be the brothers that change people's perceptions of gardens.

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

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Amazing. ..the boys have become known for

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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 have got a gold medal, but I can come up with a few ideas.

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They are 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. And will each pitch them

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a design based on their needs... Wow! ..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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Whoo!

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

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I'm getting irritated now, 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. ..when different styles collide...

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Who chose these? One, two, three.

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This looks like your design.

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Yes!

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..to turn garden dreams into reality.

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Wow! Wow!

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Open your eyes.

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Wow!

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It's amazing. It is beautiful.

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So, whose garden will Charlie

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and the Rich brothers be competing for this time?

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So, it looks like we are off to Wiltshire to see Usha.

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It looks really rural, I have to say, looks lovely.

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Usha Gupta swapped living in Maidenhead

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for a more peaceful countryside location ten years ago,

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settling in the market town of Marlborough in Wiltshire.

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I'm a country girl, I do like my space,

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and hence the reason I have moved here.

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I just felt claustrophobic in the city.

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I love it here. I love the wide-open spaces.

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This is a detached bungalow.

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It has got a nice little garden, not too big.

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Usha loves the outdoors,

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but doesn't spend time in her own garden

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because it is an uninspiring, wide and shallow plot. Since

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last year I have been thinking about doing

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the garden, and I had loads of ideas,

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but I couldn't work out how I was going to implement them.

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I mean, has she given any influence about what she wants?

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Yes, so she is mad on wildlife and bringing wildlife into the garden

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and reconnecting with nature.

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I would love to see birds, butterflies, bees, etc.

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I also love taking a lot of photographs.

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Having trained as a microbiologist, Usha loves to see nature close up,

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and her great passion is photography.

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It is pretty cool design-wise,

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because this is her hobby and she's going to get so much more from

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the garden. It will be great, it's more about the details, isn't it?

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What you can see through the lens. Exactly.

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But Usha also wants her garden to be productive.

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Since she moved to Marlborough,

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she has made a concerted effort to grow her own fruit and veg.

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Growing my own is so very important because you just cannot get

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that taste, the flavour, as pick your own.

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Sometimes the food doesn't even come inside.

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If I do peas, I'm just eating them while I'm out there.

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We definitely need to unite the garden

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in a wildlife theme, vegetables, quite wholesome.

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Usha is eager to transform her garden into a wildlife haven

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and this is reflected in how much she is prepared to spend.

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The budget for the garden redesign is ?6,000.

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That's not bad, is it, for a small garden? Really nice.

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A healthy budget and a manageable-sized plot,

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it's a great chance for the designers to produce something special,

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but Usha has a keen eye for detail and will notice any imperfections.

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Now they have the measure of the challenge they face,

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Charlie and the boys are going head-to-head to create a design

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for Usha's dream garden that stays within her ?6,000 budget.

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It's the day of the pitch and the designers head to Wiltshire to

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present their plans to her in person.

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Usha will then choose the winner,

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and the loser will help the victor build the garden.

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But who will she go for?

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Will it be Charlie,

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with her years of experience and vast knowledge of plants? Here we go.

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Hi! Or the Rich brothers,

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known for their medal-winning contemporary designs? Oh, wow!

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Now, I've gone with a terracotta feel.

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OK. This is going to be such a sunny garden,

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I think that would be lovely and warm and feel soft.

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Brilliant. The main run is a diagonal patio

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across to the vegetable area.

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Charlie is using a warm, earthy scheme,

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dominated by a large terrace.

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But the boys are trying something a little bit different.

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We wanted to create a space that you

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could immerse yourself in and be very soft and natural,

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but also that replicates your love and passion for macrophotography.

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Brilliant. So the really exciting

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thing about this design is the detail.

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What we have focused on is the pattern and

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the structure of a dragonfly wing.

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As you can see here, it is very angular,

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but also very soft around the edges. Yes.

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Charlie hasn't forgotten Usha's hobby either,

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and has chosen plants that look amazing in close-up.

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We have a lot of alpines,

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because I thought they'll be great for your macrophotography

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because they have really good textures.

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The foliage is lovely, and the flowers are very intricate.

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The next challenge was to transform Usha's tired old veg plot

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into something more inspiring.

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The vegetable patch. OK.

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Raised borders, with a central bed there that is not raised.

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What we have done is to raise the vegetable beds out of the ground and

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out of the pattern. You'll never have seen these.

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They are quite irregular shaped veg beds and, because they're such

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an irregular shape, it would be nice to make them out of steel,

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and that adds quite a lot of texture as well,

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and it is a beautiful backdrop for plants.

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The designs may be very different,

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but both designers have included the essential feature

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in any wildlife garden.

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The pond has got moving water.

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Brilliant. Keeping the terracotta theme going,

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I have gone with the Ali Baba pot.

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Tipped on its side, so it would be a gentle sound,

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not a gushing sound that will make you want to visit the bathroom.

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Quite a large wildlife pond for you.

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OK. That is a great way to encourage wildlife there

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and great for the photography.

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It is surrounded by wildflower meadows.

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This is actually designed around leaf veins,

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so you have got these lovely veins here,

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and it also allows you to travel around the garden,

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so you have got this lovely journey.

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Charlie and the brothers have taken totally different approaches

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with their designs.

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It's now up to Usha to decide which one she wants for her ?6,000.

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Only one design can win.

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So, will it be the Rich brothers with their new patio inspired by

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a dragonfly wing?

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Or will it be Charlie, with her warm terracotta landscaping,

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selection of alpine plants, and an Ali Baba pot?

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It's decision time.

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Hello, guys.

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ALL: Hello. I've decided to go for...

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I'm so sorry, Charlie.

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There you go. Awesome news, thank you very much.

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I'm excited about this. We've got every faith.

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Don't worry. It will look amazing. It looks like a lot of hard work.

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Yes, of course.

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Hard work for you!

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LAUGHTER

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The boys are thrilled.

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But there will be a lot of work to do to make their design a reality.

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And they will need to keep Charlie on side to pull it off.

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It's a drizzly day in Wiltshire and,

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while the Rich brothers are off-site working on the finer details

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of their design, work is underway to remove that monster conifer

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currently dominating Usha's garden.

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One of the most complicated parts of

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the boys' design is the vegetable garden within the new patio.

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So the landscaping team are clearing that area ready for its construction.

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Meanwhile, professional welder Edward

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sets to work building the raised steel veg beds and,

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once the first one is constructed, it's manoeuvred into place.

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The design is now at a crucial stage,

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so the Rich brothers and Charlie have arrived to take control.

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This garden is all about wildlife.

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Not only will we achieve that through the planting and trees,

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but also through the details of the garden,

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so the dragonfly wing and the leaf veins in the meadow.

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So what am I doing, then?

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You're definitely going to do part of the wildlife pond,

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definitely involved in the planting and then, me and Harry are going

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to focus mainly on the hard landscaping.

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Let's go and do this, then. Before it's midnight!

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While Charlie goes into the back garden to investigate where the pond

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will be sited, Harry and David join the welder on those planters.

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The boys want to make sure they turn out right,

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plus they can't wait to get the welder's masks on.

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What's so nice about doing a raised bed,

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or an element in your garden completely bespoke,

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is that it's so unique to your own garden.

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You couldn't go and buy this off a shelf, could you? No.

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So it makes it that much more fun.

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Obviously, you need a professional to weld it,

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but you can do this with timber or in a different shape...

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Yeah. ..so you can have fun with it.

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In the back garden, Charlie's making a start on the pond.

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She's built dozens of them in her time,

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so the brothers have entrusted her

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with what will become a magnet for wildlife in the new garden.

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When it comes to positioning a pond,

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it is really key to get it in the right place,

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whether it is a wildlife pond or an ornamental pond.

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You really want to have at least six hours a day of full sun

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so that the plants grow and keep the pond clear.

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As this is a wildlife pond, we have positioned it close to the hedge.

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That way, the wildlife have got a safe corridor

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to get into the pond and out of the pond.

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Meanwhile, out front, the third and final vegetable planter has arrived.

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To save time, it's been made off-site.

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But it's no lightweight.

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One, two, three, lift.

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That's not too bad, actually.

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I thought it was going to be a lot worse.

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Fortunately, now the brothers are here,

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there's enough muscle on-site to move it...

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To where it should be.

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..and its little brother.

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Getting them in might have been easier than expected,

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but now all three of them are together,

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it's time for the brothers to crack on with the next part of the plan -

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the floor they sit on.

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They need to decide on the exact layout of the patio.

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Dream. Well, I think we're going to get the spray can

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and just be artists on the floor. It'll be fun.

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Some spray cans and some beer.

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Carefully following the design,

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they start by marking out exactly where the shapes are going to go.

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The dragonfly pattern is coming together

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and it's caught the eye of a lesser-spotted Dimmock.

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Hello, on my dragonfly wings. Dragonfly!

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These are great, aren't they? They are cool, yeah.

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Really cool. Ever so light, then, were they?

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That one wasn't too bad.

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Bent knees.

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It is nice getting something solid, isn't it?

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A bit of structure in the garden. Very instant.

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Exactly, yeah. Come and have a look at the pond.

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It is not as level as you think, this garden.

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Is it not? I don't know how much.

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That looks good. That looks great.

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It's a great size as well, isn't it?

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It is just a lot of faff getting the levels.

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The pond is turning into quite a project,

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so Harry and David leave the under-gardener to it.

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Usha's garden was lacking any kind of seating area,

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so the brothers are creating a second patio by

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the doors at the back of the house.

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What I'm doing now is I'm levelling this space

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as we're working from the house out.

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Once we get that level then,

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we're going to connect all these wooden timbers together

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to create the shape and then it is a very easy thing of filling it in,

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pegging it and putting the final layer of the gravel on top.

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With the hardcore going down, this feature is in good shape.

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Which is more than we can say for the pond.

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So, to speed up progress, David's giving Charlie a hand.

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I hope you've got clean socks on. I've actually got holes in my socks.

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The rubber liner needs to be smoothed around the contours of the pond,

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so it's shoes off!

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That'll be the slopey bit.

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So then it's going to be a case of tidying.

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Trying to fold it? Fold it.

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Put it round. Now, people go,

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"Oh, a liner. It looks terrible like that with the folds,"

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but actually, for wildlife, it's ideal, because these

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make nice little nooks and crannies for frogs and insects.

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And is this more banked here?

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Yes, a bank that side and a bank this side.

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And that's for...? Easy access for the wildlife, so if a hedgehog comes

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and drinks or a frog jumps in and out, they can get in and out easily.

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OK. So you always want that on a wildlife pond.

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As well as helping the wildlife,

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keeping the liner snug but not tight stops it tearing.

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I've got the hose. You've got the hose?

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Right. Shall I get the hose on? Yeah, but not while we're in it.

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Ready? Yep. On you go, then.

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Right.

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So we should take a sweepstake on how long this takes to fill

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because I reckon... An hour. An hour? No.

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I reckon there's about two cubic metres of water there.

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250 gallons. HE SNORES

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Oh, shut up.

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So I reckon it's definitely going to take two hours, even more, to fill.

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But we don't want to cut the liner till its full. Wisdom.

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Meanwhile, the complicated patio design is progressing.

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To create the dragonfly wing effect, the landscapers are making

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a matrix from wooden batons that are an inch deep.

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This will then be filled with compacted gravel.

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The Rich brothers' idea was inspired

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by Usha's love of wildlife photography.

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They're hoping that her new garden will become

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a bountiful location for observing nature on her doorstep.

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Fellow wildlife enthusiast Kate McRae has taken her pastime to the extreme

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by rigging cameras all around her garden.

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I've always been interested in wildlife from when I was a child

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and even though I grew up in south-east London,

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we always had a bird table

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and I think that's where my obsession started.

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I want to watch wildlife so creating areas that are easily viewable from

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the house or using cameras.

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I started with just one nest box camera kit

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probably about eight years ago

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and I've now got 20 cameras in and around the garden on feeders,

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nest boxes, fox feeding stations, hedgehog feeding station.

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Using amazing technology that now

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lets me watch my blue tits, great tits,

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jackdaws and their little families right inside my sitting room

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or my office, so I can sit and watch this, which is fantastic.

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The more you attract wildlife into

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your garden and the more you watch it,

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the more engaged you'll be and the more questions

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that will be forming in your mind.

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Why are the birds doing that? What can I do to attract more?

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It will become very addictive.

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With some 16 million gardens in the UK,

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they represent an area that's bigger than all our nature reserves

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put together, so they're a huge resource for wildlife.

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Back in Marlborough, on the main patio,

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the patchwork quilt of wooden batons is still not complete.

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But the patio by the back door is ready to be filled.

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Being quite an irregular shape,

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this would've been very tricky to do with slabbing

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and there would be a lot of cuts. So, again, using something

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like this is inexpensive and it's a really easy way

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of creating these lovely shapes.

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Because this knits down really tightly, almost like concrete,

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it doesn't let water permeate through,

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so what we've done is we've given a fall towards the lawn, and therefore

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any water will run off and soak into the beds.

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Once the gravel is just above the level of the frame,

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the Wacker plate irons out any lumps and bumps.

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The boys are now keen to move onto the main part of the garden.

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In their design, the pattern on the new patio

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is reflected in a series of beds.

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This part of the design was all based around the veins of a leaf.

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I'll walk you round it now.

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The paths here are the veins of a leaf,

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and then these pockets are just to define that on the outside,

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so Usha's going to get this really lovely journey as she walks through.

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The boys have elected to make some of the beds wild flower turf.

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It'll bring the wildlife flocking in.

0:19:340:19:36

And there's enough of it to plant around the pond too,

0:19:390:19:42

which is finally full and ready for Charlie to plant.

0:19:420:19:45

When it comes to pond plants, there's three key groups.

0:19:470:19:51

You've got oxygenators,

0:19:510:19:53

which help keep the water fresh and non-stagnant.

0:19:530:19:56

They don't need soil, they just need a bit of gravel,

0:19:560:20:00

so they go right down to the deep bit,

0:20:000:20:02

and it will just be part of the hiding places

0:20:020:20:05

for all the insects.

0:20:050:20:07

Oxygenators absorb excess nutrients in the water,

0:20:070:20:10

keeping it clean and algae-free.

0:20:100:20:13

You also have plants that lay on the surface,

0:20:130:20:15

things like water lilies, water hawthorn, pond fringe,

0:20:150:20:19

and then you have marginal plants which stand in the shallow areas.

0:20:190:20:23

When you buy your marginal plants, quite often, the label says,

0:20:230:20:26

"For four inches of water."

0:20:260:20:29

What they mean is four inches from above the container top,

0:20:290:20:33

so they go in quite deep.

0:20:330:20:35

These ones are going to go on the shelf,

0:20:350:20:38

and they are ideal to let all the dragonfly nymphs crawl out and then

0:20:380:20:42

break open and turn into beautiful dragonflies.

0:20:420:20:47

Charlie has created a shelf below the surface

0:20:470:20:49

for the marginals to sit on.

0:20:490:20:51

Water forget-me-nots and ornamental miniature bulrushes

0:20:520:20:57

will help give a nice finish to the edge of the pond.

0:20:570:21:00

The team are making progress,

0:21:000:21:02

but we have still got a long way to go

0:21:020:21:05

before the garden becomes the wildlife haven Usha is hoping for.

0:21:050:21:09

At least the framework on the patio is done,

0:21:090:21:12

so the boys can now add gravel crumb

0:21:120:21:14

to give it a natural honeycomb finish,

0:21:140:21:17

leaving Harry and David to focus on

0:21:170:21:19

the three main flower beds in the centre of the garden.

0:21:190:21:23

Usha is mad keen on microphotography,

0:21:230:21:26

so the boys have chosen plants that will look stunning in close-up

0:21:260:21:29

and attract a variety of wildlife.

0:21:290:21:32

Including foxgloves and ornamental thistle that bees love.

0:21:330:21:37

And moths and butterflies adore verbascums.

0:21:390:21:42

But the peace and quiet is about to be rudely interrupted.

0:21:440:21:48

The brothers have asked Mark the tree surgeon

0:21:530:21:55

to recycle the stump of the large conifer into a new feature.

0:21:550:21:59

Timber!

0:21:590:22:01

Woo!

0:22:010:22:03

It's now a second seating area,

0:22:050:22:08

perfect for Usha to relax and observe her new oasis.

0:22:080:22:11

But while the boys enjoy themselves,

0:22:130:22:16

Charlie doesn't miss a trick, and has swiped the leftover wood.

0:22:160:22:19

Next to her pond, she's building another woody wildlife habitat

0:22:210:22:25

for creepy crawlies like woodlice and stag beetles.

0:22:250:22:28

So we've got the craggy bark of the tree, but then I've got

0:22:300:22:34

the brushwood from the tree that I've tied into a bundle,

0:22:340:22:37

a bit like a witch's broom, and I'm going to pop that here

0:22:370:22:41

because that will give a really lovely insulated area in the winter.

0:22:410:22:45

I'm going to cover that with soil and then I'm going to put some

0:22:450:22:48

meadow turf over the top of that.

0:22:480:22:50

The Rich brothers haven't

0:22:520:22:54

forgotten her other great passion -

0:22:540:22:55

growing her own produce.

0:22:550:22:58

In the old garden,

0:22:580:22:59

Usha had made do with

0:22:590:23:02

some crumbling wooden raised beds.

0:23:020:23:04

Now there's ample room for a variety of edible delights

0:23:040:23:08

in her new steel planters.

0:23:080:23:11

And Charlie, who loves her vegetable gardens, can't wait to get involved.

0:23:110:23:16

Last of the veggies, boys.

0:23:160:23:18

Nice. Nice. Nice combination.

0:23:180:23:20

Strawberries and garlic. Yeah, that's a new ice cream flavour.

0:23:200:23:23

Mr Heston Blumenthal's next combination for dessert, is it?

0:23:230:23:26

Now, actually, that's really good because when these come into flower,

0:23:260:23:29

it attracts lots of hover flies that eat aphids and that side of things,

0:23:290:23:33

and hover flies also pollinate, so a good combination.

0:23:330:23:37

If you are only going to grow one, well,

0:23:370:23:39

should I say fruit in the garden?

0:23:390:23:42

Because a tomato is a fruit.

0:23:420:23:44

Then go for tomatoes, because the flavour is just fantastic.

0:23:440:23:47

These new raised veg beds are the icing on the cake

0:23:510:23:55

for this multifaceted garden.

0:23:550:23:57

And as the last tomato plants go in,

0:23:590:24:02

the Rich brothers' design is complete.

0:24:020:24:05

A few days ago, Usha's garden was an uninspiring rectangular lawn

0:24:080:24:13

with a tired old veg bed

0:24:130:24:15

and a large conifer tree that blocked out the sun.

0:24:150:24:19

Now, it has had a ?6,000 transformation.

0:24:190:24:23

The boys enlisted Charlie to build a pond to encourage wildlife.

0:24:250:24:29

It took a lot of hard work and expertise to make it,

0:24:290:24:32

but the materials were a bargain, coming in at just over ?150.

0:24:320:24:36

To attract birds, bees and butterflies,

0:24:400:24:42

the brothers laid meadow turf and planted flower beds filled

0:24:420:24:46

with nectar-rich perennials, coming in at just over ?1,000.

0:24:460:24:50

Usha was lacking any seating area in the garden,

0:24:560:25:01

so the boys built a patio behind the French doors in a shape that

0:25:010:25:05

ties in with the overall design.

0:25:050:25:07

At no cost at all, the brothers upcycled the wood

0:25:120:25:16

from the old conifer tree to make a second seatng area.

0:25:160:25:19

It's important to Usha to grow her own

0:25:220:25:25

and the three bespoke vegetable beds made from weathered steel bring

0:25:250:25:29

an edgy, modern look to the space and are a luxury at ?3,000.

0:25:290:25:33

Yes. Yeah.

0:25:350:25:37

It's time to find out if Harry and David, for Usha's ?6,000 budget,

0:25:370:25:43

have created the peaceful wildlife haven she was craving.

0:25:430:25:46

Here she comes.

0:25:460:25:48

Keep going, you're absolutely fine, there's nothing...

0:25:480:25:51

Nothing to trip over!

0:25:510:25:52

THEY LAUGH

0:25:520:25:53

Lots, but I'm taking you the right way. Ha-ha!

0:25:530:25:57

Right, come back a little bit... sit down.

0:25:570:26:00

That's the one. HE LAUGHS

0:26:000:26:02

Are you looking forward to seeing your garden? Very much so.

0:26:020:26:06

One, two, three - open your eyes.

0:26:060:26:08

Oh, my word!

0:26:080:26:10

- Wow! - Well, the "Wow" says it.

0:26:100:26:13

I could never have dreamt that it was possible

0:26:130:26:16

to do something like this.

0:26:160:26:17

Amazing. I love it. Thank you very much, guys.

0:26:170:26:19

Do you want to have a little wander? Yes, please.

0:26:190:26:22

We thought it'd be fun to put you on the seat. Yeah.

0:26:220:26:24

So this is all the meadow turf, great for wildlife.

0:26:240:26:26

Yeah, brilliant. Pond as well.

0:26:260:26:28

Oh, yes. And there's my flowerbeds.

0:26:280:26:30

Flowerbeds. Yes, we've got loads of plants in here

0:26:300:26:33

that will give lots of flower throughout the year.

0:26:330:26:35

We've got catmint as well, will give you a bit of scent as well,

0:26:350:26:38

which will be nice. The bumblebees and butterflies are going to

0:26:380:26:41

absolutely love these. These are the leaf veins, the paths round here.

0:26:410:26:45

I see. It gives you the opportunity to wander through... Yeah!

0:26:450:26:48

..walk around the beds. Espaliered apple tree over there.

0:26:480:26:52

Oh, you put it on there? Gorgeous. My little patio.

0:26:520:26:55

Yeah. Yeah.

0:26:550:26:57

Lots of fiddle, but it was definitely worth it.

0:26:570:27:01

This is the star, isn't it? The star of the show, yeah, indeed.

0:27:010:27:05

What do you think of this? This is gorgeous.

0:27:050:27:07

Doesn't that look beautiful? It has a nice feeling about it.

0:27:070:27:10

It does, yeah. What have you got growing in my veg pots, then?

0:27:100:27:13

Chillies, tomatoes.

0:27:130:27:15

Fennel, sage.

0:27:150:27:16

That's curry. Curry plant, yes.

0:27:160:27:19

Oh, I thought it was Rosemary for a second. It looks like it.

0:27:190:27:22

Then your strawberries and garlic. Oh, you put my strawberries back in!

0:27:220:27:25

In the far one, we've got some beans. Oh, right, OK.

0:27:250:27:29

Some runner beans and other herbs. Nice variety of herbs.

0:27:290:27:32

Brilliant. Can you imagine spending time here taking photographs?

0:27:320:27:35

Definitely, definitely. Your house will be full of photographs of the garden, won't it? Yeah.

0:27:350:27:39

No, this is gorgeous. Thank you very much, guys.

0:27:390:27:41

Pleasure, absolute pleasure. I'll come in for a hug as well.

0:27:410:27:44

THEY LAUGH

0:27:440:27:46

Usha wanted her garden to be filled with the sights and sounds of nature

0:27:490:27:54

where she could spend time enjoying her favourite hobbies,

0:27:540:27:57

taking photographs and growing produce.

0:27:570:28:00

I love the vegetable patch.

0:28:000:28:01

I do love the garden. It's totally unique and different,

0:28:010:28:04

and that's what I like. I like to be different.

0:28:040:28:07

CHARLIE: This looks fantastic.

0:28:070:28:08

For a wildlife garden, the design has really worked.

0:28:080:28:12

USHA: I can do my macrophotography to my heart's content now.

0:28:120:28:15

The wildflowers will attract all the bees and wasps and butterflies

0:28:150:28:19

and I've got the pond area for the newts and the frogs, etc.

0:28:190:28:23

Yeah, it's amazing. I can get my own veggies as well.

0:28:230:28:26

That is actually perfect for me.

0:28:260:28:28

Charlie and the Rich brothers are in Marlborough, Wiltshire, competing to transform a featureless garden into a wildlife haven for a budget of £6,000.

Microbiologist and keen amateur photographer Usha wants a garden that will be a welcoming habitat for all sorts of birds, small mammals and invertebrates, which will, in turn, provide great material for her photographs. Usha has another important requirement on her wish list too - as a vegetarian, she wants to grow all her own fruit and veg.

Usha has an eye for detail and wants to pack a lot in to her small plot so the designers have their work cut out. Turning an unremarkable boring space that is dominated by a brutish conifer into a welcoming B&B for wildlife and a relaxing, productive, beautiful garden for Usha is a tall order.