Garden renovation series. Charlie Dimmock and the Rich brothers are in Walsall competing to design a garden for three generations of a family living under one roof.
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With her can-do attitude, love of simple gardens
-and decades of experience...
..Charlie Dimmock is one of Britain's best-loved gardeners.
Looking good, boys!
But the new kids on the gardening block are the Rich brothers.
We want to be the brothers
that change people's perceptions of gardens.
Winners of multiple medals at the Chelsea Flower Show...
-Oh, get in.
-Wow. That's amazing, isn't it?
..the boys have become known for their dramatic outdoor spaces.
Now, these two different generations of gardening are going head-to-head.
I know they've got a gold medal, but I can come up with a few ideas.
They're meeting frustrated garden owners across the country...
The photos made it look tiny. It is, isn't it?
-I'm sure you've seen larger.
-I don't know what to do with it.
..and will each pitch them a design based on their needs...
-That looks really exciting.
-Doesn't look like it could be our garden.
-..brings their design to life.
-Hold on, hold on!
-Sweet as a nut.
-And the loser has to help them build it.
I'm getting irritated now with faffing around.
-This is what happens...
-Does he ever get irritating?
-All the time.
-..when different styles collide...
-Who chose these?
-One, two, three.
-This looks like your design!
..to turn garden dreams into reality.
-Open your eyes.
So, whose garden will Charlie and the Rich brothers
be battling over today?
We've heard from three generations of women from the West Midlands.
-We've got gran Lillian, mum Carrie and daughter Morgan.
These three ladies all live in the same house,
which they moved into just six months ago.
And they couldn't be closer.
We decided Carrie's partner works away such a lot
that it was company for all of us to be together.
I've got independent living within the house, which is ideal,
because we're not living in each other's pockets.
-Morgan loves having Nan about, doesn't she?
-Yeah. Morgan loves it.
Whatever Mum doesn't do, Nan does.
Lillian, Carrie and Morgan all share the main house,
whilst Lillian has her own living space downstairs.
And now, all three of them would like a new garden
because the current one isn't really a garden at all.
-And it looks a little bit like a car park.
-A little bit?! A lot like!
I can't believe it. There's not even weeds growing there.
It's devoid of a plant. There's nothing in there.
The previous owners used it as a driveway.
It's very bland.
There's just nothing. It's just slabs and gravel.
There is nothing else.
The plot is also completely exposed on one side,
so the ladies have made privacy
one of the key requirements in the new garden.
It's vastly overlooked, isn't it?
I know. That's one thing. The other side looks fine,
but this side looks like there's a bit of a privacy issue.
My initial thoughts are it needs a bit of height.
-It is pretty flat. And maybe green?
-Do you think?!
When she moved in with her daughter,
Lillian left behind a much-loved garden,
so now she'd like a small space all of her own
outside her own back door.
I would like just a little area just so that I could pop in and out
and have a coffee when I want one. Yeah.
This family are fed up with staring at concrete and slate chippings
and would like somewhere to relax in the summer months.
We constantly say, "It's a sunny day today
"and we can't sit outside cos everybody else can see us."
-What is the budget?
-The budget's £2,000, which isn't bad, is it?
Not too bad because it doesn't look huge, does it?
But there's quite a lot of existing materials,
so it is all hard landscaping,
but they look in pretty decent condition,
-so we could probably re-use them.
Now the designers know the size of the challenge they face,
it's time for them to go head-to-head
and compete for the chance to build the garden of the family's dreams.
They will each come up with a design that works within the ladies' budget
and present it to them
Lillian and Carrie will then pick a winner,
but it isn't over for the loser, as they'll help build the garden.
It's the day of the pitch,
and the designers have travelled to the West Midlands
to present their finished designs to Carrie and Lillian.
Who will the ladies go for -
the boys whose modern designs will appeal to Carrie and Morgan,
or Charlie who shares Lillian's love of flowers and foliage?
We wanted to create a kind of haven for you -
somewhere that feels very private, very green,
very luscious and very colourful.
We've done this by splitting the garden
with these four planting beds.
That really then isolates this kind of little social area
in the middle, which means you are literally surrounded with greenery.
And within these four individual flowerbeds,
we wanted to make sure we had a lot of year-round interest.
-Oh, lots of colour!
-Lots of colour.
-I'm glad you said that, Lillian.
-Lots of colour.
I have gone very much for a garden garden, to get rid of the car park.
This area here is raised beds made of timber, and in that area,
there's going to be much more of the pottering plants,
so cottagey - things like dianthus and Cupid's dart, aquilegias.
-So, I have spent all of the budget on the garden.
-Not the fence.
-Mainly because I think the fence could be easily fixable afterwards.
-Get the garden done first.
Charlie's hoping to win the ladies over with a blaze of colour
so the boundary doesn't become such an issue.
But the boys are playing it safe.
-I know one of the main things with this garden is privacy.
That's something we need to address,
so we've given you brand-new fencing all the way along,
solid wooden fencing, so people will have to really try
if they want to look in, which they will want to look in, I'm sure.
They'll be really interested.
Not to be outdone, Charlie has an alternative to the fence.
We've got topiary balls that are going to be descending in height,
-so it gives a false perspective, make the garden look longer.
Lillian doesn't look entirely convinced,
so Charlie has something special, just for her.
-And this area here is your area, Lillian.
-Seating area there.
Now, it's quite a dark area, so to brighten it up,
-I've put a mirror on the wall here.
If you put plants round it, you really don't see that it's a mirror.
Very nice, yeah.
The pitch is over.
It's now all down to Lillian and Carrie.
This is not an easy decision.
Will they go for Charlie's bounty of colourful plants
and Lillian's secret garden
or the boys' large entertaining area,
raised planters and solid fencing for privacy?
-It's been a very hard decision, but we have made a decision.
-Yeah! It's the boundary that clinched it.
Oh, amazing! So, what made you go for our design?
-Ah, there we are. We were subtle.
So, the Rich brothers have won, but Lillian has one condition.
What I would like to do, if it's all right with Charlie,
I'd like to pinch some of her design for that corner,
-if it's all right with you two as well.
-Of course it's fine.
-I'd like the mirror...
..area with the flowers round it and the little seating area,
so that I've got it private
for my friends when they come round.
-That's the wine corner.
-That's the wine corner.
So, the boys may have taken this one,
but they won't be able to boss Charlie around too much,
because to give this family what they want,
both designs have to somehow work together.
It's an early start in the West Midlands.
Right, skip man's here. Things are on track.
The Rich brothers are off-site, finishing their planting plans,
so they've asked project manager Paul
and the landscapers to get cracking on Lillian and Carrie's garden.
Post in the hole!
The first challenge is to put in the new fence,
and there's a whopping 25 metres of it to go in.
That's the first panel going in now. One of many.
With the fence completed, the Rich brothers arrive
and are pleased with Paul and the team's efforts.
Loving the new fence. It's smartened up this space quite a lot.
Makes a dramatic difference, doesn't it,
-with the privacy for the garden?
But this is no time for standing around.
Transforming this grey space into something living
is going to need some serious muscle,
and now Charlie's here,
they're gearing themselves up for the task ahead.
It'll be interesting how this one pans out.
Any plant is just going to make a total difference, really.
Hard landscaping's already here, isn't it? We're reusing the slate.
-You said it!
-So, it's just bringing in plants, isn't it?
With £1,100 already spent on the fence and the skip,
the boys are planning some cost-effective features
to make Lillian and Carrie's budget go further.
So, have you got something up your sleeve, have you?
-We don't know where it's going yet.
-Within the budget?
-Everything's in budget.
-It's pretty much upcycling.
-Pick it up from anywhere. Cheap as...
-Who's rocking this seat?
-I'm rocking the boat.
-Are you rocking it?
The mass of hard landscaping covering the plot
is actually in good condition,
so the boys are planning to recycle as much of it as they can.
At the heart of the boys' design are four beautiful flowerbeds.
And right now, where they need to go is covered in slate.
But there's a nice surprise lying underneath.
-Look at that.
-That's not bad!
-Look at that!
-Look at that!
How about you mark it out before you dig up all the soil...
-..and make it muddy?
-I'm going back in the sun.
-It's cold here, isn't it?
This will make prepping the new flowerbeds a lot easier.
-It's quite nice watching your brother work, isn't it?
-Nice one, young one.
But it's not all good news.
The boys designed the beds
to match the rectangular shape of the plot, only there's a snag.
It isn't as rectangular as they thought.
-Bit of an irregular garden, isn't it?
So, we're going to have to pick one line to go off
-and then work from that.
-Yeah. It narrows a bit.
We'll work with this boundary line
-and then all the lines then work off that.
-Let's look at your plan.
Now, you're going off that
-because that's giving you straight lines.
-So, you're ignoring the patios on the...?
-No, going with it.
-You're going with it.
-Going to work with that.
-So, we're not going to end up with rectangular beds.
We're going to end up with diamond-shaped beds.
-But they'll look square, won't they?
-Look. That looks serious, doesn't it?
-The man and his tape.
-The tape measure.
So, while the brothers mark out the new positions for the beds,
Charlie's off to start working on her special project for Lillian
at the side of the house.
She's creating a private haven,
with flowerpots and a mirror,
surrounded by colourful planting.
-Would you come and do a bit of chopping of wood for me?
-I'm sure I can manage that.
The boys have already allocated all the budget to THEIR design,
so anything extra has to be made virtually for free.
So, my idea is this is going to be on the wall,
hidden by the fence, which I'll paint.
Plant it up and the plants will all fluff over the top
and then I'm going to attach some terracotta pots here as well
and I think that'll look quite pretty
and I'm going to zhoosh them up with a bit of emulsion paint
and I might put a mirror behind to reflect some light
and reflect the plants as well.
-Very good. We can sort that no problem.
-Chop it, then.
Having moved the slate,
the boys now need to create the two beds near to the garage.
But there's a whopping great patio there, some of which has to go.
Any hardcore left underneath is being used
to help make a new path down the garden.
We're just removing the hardcore and the concrete
that was beneath the slabs
and then we'll turn that into nice soil for the plants.
-I'll carry that.
-Go on, then. They're quite chunky.
-You HAVE said it! It's a long walk to the skip.
-I'll just put them back here for now then.
Would you like a wheelbarrow, Harry?
The old patio slabs were tightly laid,
so smashing one allows access to the others.
Right. Lovely jubbly.
Harry was being all big and manly.
He didn't realise quite how far away the skip is.
The new beds actually cut into the existing patio.
The slabs are in good condition, so rather than pay for new ones,
the boys are counting on the landscapers' cutting skills.
So, we're just going to cut this bit off here,
that little guy, and then leave the rest of them.
-Leave him, get rid of him and then get rid of that one there.
-So that just keeps those lines nice and parallel, doesn't it?
And the circular saw helps to make light work of it.
-You're cutting the wrong ones!
-No! No, I haven't.
Are these the wrong ones? No, I've moved the line out the way.
-No, only joking!
Yeah, we want to break the right ones.
There you go. Lovely jubbly.
Meanwhile, the shale is being moved into the middle of the garden
to create the new seating area between the beds.
So, we're reusing the MOT, which is this gravelly stuff,
to fill in the pathway and then put the shale on top,
so we'll only need a thinner layer.
Saves money. Saves money, saves skip space as well.
Hard landscaping is not cheap, so recycling existing materials
is an excellent way to make your garden budget go further
and enable you to buy more plants.
Harry and David have chosen some corkers
for Lillian and Carrie's garden.
Beautiful, aren't they, these?
But before they can be planted,
the new beds need to be properly edged.
So, the bones of the design are down
and you can see the beds here around me.
Now, all that we need to do is bring in the shuttering
that'll define the beds and keep the shale out from the soil.
Simple timber edging or shuttering creates a nice finish
and keeps the soil of the beds from spreading.
Meanwhile, Charlie's upcycling project for Lillian
is coming along nicely.
We haven't really spent much on this little project at all
cos the picket fence was free,
we got little pots of paint, which are £1, £1.50,
and the mirror is from a charity shop and it was £3.99.
That was probably the most expensive bit - the plastic trough.
And then a few bedding plants, which is really what Lillian wants.
She wants to be able to potter and do her own bedding,
so she can change it spring, autumn and summertime.
Not to be outdone,
Harry and David have a low-cost project of their own.
In the old garden, the garage was a real eyesore,
so the boys have come up with something to help screen it.
So, these are reinforced steel mesh sheets.
You can pick it up from any builders' merchants,
but we managed to salvage this one.
But this will be a really nice frame for climbers to grow up
and just add that extra bit of greenery.
50mm holes are drilled into timber posts
so that the mesh can slot in.
-Start at your end and work your way up.
-Yeah, it's coming.
So, this will stand up and there'll be another post on this end.
Blimey, this is looking a bit like a garden now, isn't it?
And not a trip hazard with lots of strings everywhere.
Safety first, safety first.
Charlie's keen to get the bosses' approval
for her project round the corner.
-I love the colour.
-Yeah, it's nice.
-You love your green, don't you?
-With fuchsia pink.
-No, sky blue, actually. That colour.
For once, we've got a bit of sky blue. It's not cloud grey.
It's a bit chilly, though. That wind!
Glad I've still got my thermals on. Brrr!
Harry's final task before planting is to break up the soil
that's been compacted by the paving slabs
and add some mushroom compost to improve the condition of the soil.
The soil is the most important thing when you're planting.
If you prep the soil well, then the plants are going to do beautifully.
-Charlie, you've got one job.
-Bubble watching? I can bubble watch.
Charlie's improvised wall garden is almost finished.
Slightly over to me. Just recess the other end slightly.
I have to say, even if she doesn't use it for plants,
it would be really handy just to put your tea there
or your, you know...bottle of wine, champagne.
That looks all right.
-Look at that! Ooh, hello!
-Like a glove and a chicken's lip.
And she'll have a beautiful view of the garden.
And her view is improving by the minute.
Key to the boys' design are three trees
that provide height in the last third of the garden.
First in are the two amelanchiers.
-What do you think of this guy?
-They are really pretty.
When you see these out in the spring, you think,
"Yes, we're going in the right direction. Summer is coming."
It's the perfect tree. It's more like a shrub, isn't it?
For a small garden like this, it doesn't overpower you.
These mature trees are more expensive,
but give an instant wow factor,
and to ensure they thrive, they need careful planting.
What you can do is just tease the roots.
If they've been a bit pot-bound, give them a little start.
And what's nice - they're not going to keep going round and round
in a circle in the hole you've dug.
They have the chance to penetrate out into the outer soil.
That looks pretty good from here.
As well as their aesthetic value,
these trees will help provide privacy for the family,
especially when they're in full bloom.
Creating screening in overlooked gardens
is something landscape designer Daniel Shea
is constantly asked to provide solutions for.
It's all about raising boundaries,
bringing in trees to screen off windows.
Getting that feeling of intimacy straightaway
is something you want to achieve.
Planning restrictions mean you can generally raise your boundary
to a maximum height of two metres.
This property was overlooked by several houses,
so to ensure privacy, the garden was sunk and trees planted.
We brought in three silver birch.
They're nice trees, they don't cast too much shade
and they've got a nice, contemporary, clean, fresh feel.
To increase the height of your boundary, trellis is another option.
The long, linear lines -
they let lots of light in but you can't see beyond them.
All you can see is shadows. The light pours and flows in
and it really creates this feeling of warmth.
It's all about getting the balance right
and making it work with the space you have.
Really think about your boundaries first, I'd say.
Once they're established, you've kind of built your walls,
you've built your room, and then it's just about how you dress it.
Back in Walsall, the planting is in full swing.
The boys are filling the beds
with a combination of flowering perennials and grasses.
This is Deschampsia flexuosa, or wavy hair grass,
and you can see why.
Just really gorgeous, really natural,
and I think it's going to fit well with this planting scheme
and give them a patch of the wild.
This planting scheme is quite bold.
There's lots of colours here that are going to stand out.
You've got the sanguisorba with this deep red,
anemones, which will be lovely and white later on in the season,
catmints, which will give a flood of blues and purples in the summer.
Meanwhile, round the corner, in Lillian's private garden,
landscaper Lee's work is still not done.
Watch my plants, watch my plants, you!
-And then that jasmine. Yummy, yummy scent.
Pop it in here and train it round
and the wall will give it the protection it needs.
And then it's a case of getting those pots on there.
Yeah, I don't think that looks half bad. It's all right.
This mushroom compost is doing a hell of a job, isn't it?
-It's amazing. You put a load in there, didn't you?
The last of the trees, the cherry, is going in,
and the boys have asked Charlie to plant the mesh screen behind it.
So, the boys have got this cherry here. Lovely pink flowers on it.
It's going to add some height to the garden.
And they want this Clematis montana, "Pink Perfection",
to pick up the cherry flower colours.
It's taken some serious labour to break through the concrete
and replace it with a garden.
And as the much-loved barbecue returns,
Lillian and Carrie's new garden is finished.
Before, this garden was more like a car park,
covered in wall-to-wall concrete and shale and devoid of life.
Now the boys have transformed it into a garden
for all three ladies to enjoy.
A new fence was a must, and now it's in,
the noisy, exposed road is a thing of the past.
But it ate up almost half the budget,
so the boys have had to beg, borrow and steal
to transform the space within.
The existing landscaping was repositioned,
opening up the space for four flowerbeds
that surround a social area - perfect for family barbecues.
The boys focused the rest of the budget
on bringing colour and texture to the garden.
The beds are filled with grasses and herbaceous perennials
for year-round colour.
Adding to the wow factor are the stunning amelanchier
and cherry trees, costing £120 each.
They give instant height to the area.
To screen off the ugly garage door, David created an improvised trellis.
It didn't cost a penny and, once the clematis has clambered over it,
it will be enveloped in pink flowers.
And, as promised,
Charlie has given Lillian her own little area to potter around -
a walled garden, made from anything she could find in the skip.
It's time to see if the boys have delivered.
Right, keep walking.
I think the garden looks really fabulous.
It's one of my favourite that they've done.
-Open your eyes.
-Have a look at it.
-Oh, it's lovely!
You love it, great.
-So, this is where you can sit down, have your morning coffee.
It's a garden!
-Oh, it's beautiful!
-Oh, it's gorgeous!
-What do you think of the fence?
-That was the main thing.
-I love the fence! I absolutely adore the fence.
-It's just amazing.
-It's making me cry.
-I just don't know where to look first.
So, we've got all the different plants here,
-like the grasses, which give lovely interest and movement.
We've got two amelanchier, kind of shrubs,
so they won't grow too large. But you can see this lovely blossom.
-Get lots of little birdies.
-They'll love it.
Lots of birdies in the garden.
And this area here, you can have your table and chairs
and just enough room for the whole family,
all three of you, to sit around here and enjoy it.
That's right, yeah. It's what we need. And a lovely fence.
-It's a good-looking fence, isn't it?
I'm going to put my hands up and say it.
Paul did a great job of that, yeah. He did a good job.
I got quite emotional when I walked out.
I didn't know what to expect, to be honest. Amazing.
We've definitely got everything that we wanted.
It has exceeded our expectations,
with the plants, the design, the fence.
It's just everything.
This time, Charlie and the Rich brothers are in Walsall competing to design a garden for three generations of a family living under one roof. With an overlooked, concrete jungle for a garden currently, the designers have their work cut out to make their dreams come true and create some privacy for the family. With a budget of £2,000, the team transform the area into a stylish garden the family can relax in, in comfort and without prying eyes. And the resourceful designers have a few tricks up their sleeves to make the family's cash stretch further.