Garden renovation series. Charlie and the Rich brothers travel to Devizes in Wiltshire to compete to design a garden for Andrea, Gary and their son.
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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 gardeners.
Winners of multiple medals at the Chelsea Flower Show...
..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.
It 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.
It's time for Charlie and the Rich brothers to discover
whose garden they're fighting over this time.
Andrea and Gary have sent these photos through.
Gary was in the army for 15 years.
For seven years, they moved about and moved to five different houses.
-So, for the first time ever,
they've got their own little plot.
Andrea, her husband Gary and son Norman live in Devizes in Wiltshire
where they bought their first home just over a year ago.
With the army quarters, you couldn't change the decoration
or do anything with the garden or do anything, really.
It had to be all plain
and how you found it is how you needed to leave it.
And moving into our first very own home,
I can't...I haven't got words to describe it, really.
They must be really excited about actually having their own garden
that they can do some gardening in.
Yeah, I think they've waited a long time,
as a family, to have their own space,
and this is the right time and we're the right people,
so we've got to create something special.
Since moving in, they've been concentrating on doing up the house,
but now it's the garden's turn.
But it's a mess.
Having a three-year-old and three dogs trampling on it
has done nothing for the lawn, and aside from a broken shed,
there isn't much to catch the eye.
The garden space is all very plain,
and we're not really doing anything with it, really.
We're both lovers of outdoor and nature,
and really, really important
that we're trying to attract the wildlife,
the birds and the bees and the butterflies,
and bringing Norman up showing him, you know, how vegetables grow
and how we plant seeds and what happens, the whole cycle.
It's quite sterile, though. Hedge, shrub, lawn.
Yeah, in essence, it is another blank canvas.
With indoor renovation still to complete, Andrea and Gary only
have a limited budget to create the new flower-filled haven they crave.
The budget we've got is £1,500.
-It's not a tiny garden, it's not a large garden, is it?
-This one's going to take all our creativity, isn't it?
-I think so, yeah.
With a new life ahead of them in a new home,
all Andrea wants is a new garden to match.
I've got you, I've got you!
With the challenge on the table,
Charlie and the Rich brothers will now go head-to-head for the chance
to make over Andrea and Gary's garden.
Each of them will come up with a design
that will work within the family's £1,500 budget.
Andrea will then have to choose a winner,
and whoever loses will help the winner build the garden.
It's the day of the pitch
and the designers have travelled to Devizes
to unveil their plans to Andrea.
Charlie's a kindred spirit
when it comes to wildlife-friendly gardens...
Oh, wow! OK.
..while the boys are known for their more contemporary designs.
So, who will she go for?
So, here is our design.
So, we really wanted to stress
on the point of what you guys do as a family together.
So, we wanted to give you your own little patch of nature,
-but in your back garden.
One of the key elements within the design is something called
Norman's Meadow Rooms. These are two rooms set within this meadow.
It allows him to have two spaces, two different spaces to play.
So, he can maybe set up a tent in there or something like that.
Yeah, sounds good.
I have gone down the route of dividing the garden,
so along here is like a picket fence with double gates here.
-So, if Norman's in here playing with his football,
you can have the dogs on the patio
-and they won't be whipping his football away.
Your timbers that you've got, the pallets and that,
I was going to use to make a potting bench
because I can see that you're keen to learn about gardening...
-..and I'm sure Norman will love to be up there
digging, planting some seeds.
Both designers have kept family life at the centre of their designs.
However, Charlie's hoping her year-round planting scheme
will win Andrea over.
Plant-wise, I've gone very pretty, cottagey around here,
but incorporating some shrubs to reduce the maintenance,
and those shrubs are going to give you colour
at different times of the year.
This meadow is knee-high,
so all year round, you'll get this different kind of flood of flowers,
which is going to look absolutely dramatic in the garden.
Wanted to bring in some witch hazel, which have a winter flower on them,
which will encourage the birds in.
In the corner, we've put a nice ornamental cherry tree.
-It'll really give that vibrancy to that space.
Knowing the family are keen to grow their own veg,
both designers have made room for edibles, too.
-I have incorporated vegetables in the planting.
And that can look really pretty cos you can edge borders
with salad leaves, which cut and come again.
Over here, these are two dwarf fruit trees.
We've got two raised planters here. Very manageable.
-A great start for you guys to grow.
We've also left some room in case you want to put another one in,
in case you start going mad on the vegetable front.
Both the designers have, in very different ways,
addressed Andrea's brief.
But now the gloves are coming off, and in a bid to win,
Charlie's going straight to the heart
of Andrea's passion for wildlife.
Bearing in mind you want to encourage lots of birds
into the garden, interest,
they love mixed hedges using natives and evergreens,
so all the way round the gaps here,
this is a mixed hedge using your pyracantha with beech,
hazel and things like that which the birds love to nest in,
and then I've got here a very wild, woodlandy bit.
So, we've got a couple of trees that are going to get high enough
-to hide the roofline.
But they haven't got such dense shade
that plants won't grow underneath.
That's it. The pitch is over. It's now down to Andrea.
Will she plump for the Rich brothers' design
with its naturalistic meadow and outdoor playroom,
or Charlie's design with its interlocking circles
and cottage-garden borders?
It's decision time.
Here she comes.
-Hi. OK, so, I've chosen the winner.
Loved both designs, but I could only pick one.
And the one is...
-Hey, nice! Well done.
-I thought you were leaning the other way.
I liked the fact that there was this wild bit here with the trees
to attract the wildlife and the birds, which I really,
really wanted, and it's something for Norman to get involved with.
So, Charlie's wildlife planting clinched it,
but she's really going to need the boys' help on this one.
She's promised Andrea a child-friendly, dog-friendly,
wildlife-friendly and edible garden,
and has to deliver all of it for just £1,500.
It's early morning in Devizes, and the hammers are out already.
With only £1,500 to spend on this garden,
Charlie's away coming up with some last-minute upcycling ideas
to make Andrea's budget go further.
In the meantime, she's sent the landscaping team
to mark out the key features in the garden.
To make room for the two inter-locking circles
in Charlie's design, the team need to reposition the patio
before taking up the turf round the circle's edges
ready to line them with bricks.
Meanwhile, Charlie and the Rich brothers have arrived
and Charlie has a plan of attack.
So, with this garden, we're definitely not going to
the garden centre and not going to the builder's store to buy lots
-and lots of stuff.
-That's what I was going to be doing all day there,
-just travelling back and forth.
-The budget doesn't allow it.
But, having said that, we should be able to achieve something
really quite attractive
with the money we have got and upcycling.
-Bit more of a challenge.
My concern is I want to leave lots and lots of space
for Norman to play,
but then I don't want it to look like a football pitch.
I want it to look like a garden.
-Yeah, just enough space to exhaust Norman.
We just need to think about it and, you know, spend some time
making sure we get it exactly right.
I don't want it to look like Steptoe's yard, but...
-I don't know what Steptoe's yard is.
-Oh, you're so young.
So young, they are.
So, without further ado, Charlie sets the boys to work,
creating the second of the interlocking circles.
Charlie's used brick here and that works really nice and
with the paving that's already here,
but there are actually loads of different ways that you can do it.
Yeah. You've got cobbles.
-You could have rounded, more tumbled cobbles, couldn't you?
Maybe some low hedging. Then, again, that's a very soft way of doing it.
Give it a little bit of elevation.
Whilst the circular structures start to take shape,
Charlie's upcycling mission has begun.
Upcycling's all the rage these days.
It's basically just using bits and bobs you've got laying around
that you use creatively to make something that's useful,
so, environmentally, it's much better
because you don't create landfill
and you're reusing what you've got about.
And when you've only got £1,500 to spend on a garden,
anything free is a bonus.
Knowing the family are keen to learn about gardening,
Charlie wants them to start composting.
A new composting bin can be costly,
so Charlie's using some leftovers found at the back of the garden.
So, I'm thinking...
This slat...boards across...
-Boards across the back...
-And then what I'd like to do is have boards that slide in.
We're going to have to face that as well.
-Not a problem.
Meanwhile, the turf has been lifted
and it's time to cement in the brick edging.
This is the mix of sand and cement we're using to lay the bricks onto.
It's five to one, which means it's five sand to one cement,
and that's your standard brick-laying mix.
With this, as it's just a feature,
it's not load-bearing and you're not walking on it,
so there doesn't need to be a layer
of hardcore beneath the cement and brick.
We're going to brush in a dry mix of sand and cement,
and that'll just help bind it a little bit,
-and also neaten it up as a finish.
-And it's really easy to do, as well.
You're not having to point it with a wet mix.
-Make life easy when you can.
In the recycling centre,
the home-made compost bin is coming along.
Charlie and landscaper Adam are putting in sliding panels,
so it'll be easy for the family to access.
-Oh, look at that!
-That's not bad.
Charlie may be using the leftovers from Andrea's old garden
to make the most of the limited budget,
but some gardeners consider upcycling
to be a style all of its own.
Garden designer Jeni Cairns loves reinventing old items.
She uses recycled and repurposed objects
as the cornerstone of many of her garden designs.
I grew up on a farm and my dad would never throw anything away,
and my grandma and my grandad.
I think it's sort of come down the line.
One of the things that I've made is a water feature
and I used drinking bowls out of animal sheds,
and drilled holes in them
so they could create this cascade as it went down.
And I used things like metal grating for the background and then
created a pebble mosaic.
Jeni's always on the lookout for her next recycling project and
sources as many of her materials from local salvage yards.
Her recent find was some old railway sleepers.
I had this sort of triangle area in my garden,
so I used them in a sort of fan shape set into tarmac chippings,
and then it's created this great space,
which could be an area where alpines and things that grow in gravel,
you know, could do really well,
and I think it's been a really successful part of the garden.
I've used oil drums quite a lot more recently because
there are so many of them and they can be reused in
so many different ways.
So, using a plasma cutter,
I could cut them in half and use wood as a top to make a seat,
or I would cut the ends
and create a piece of decorative artwork to go on the wall.
Just change things, and they look new and fresh and...
I just think there's so many...
There's an endless world of possibilities.
Back in Devizes, Charlie's got the recycling bit between her teeth
and has found some more treasure behind the shed.
In this garden, I'm going to include everything and the kitchen sink.
-I think that's going to look amazing.
Going to plant it up, are you?
-No. I thought it would make a great potting bench.
So, there's no rest for Adam.
No sooner has he finished the composter,
he's back amongst the pallets once more.
Offer it up, as they say.
Should sit nicely.
That's... That's all right.
So, the idea is this is a potting bench,
so you can put the compost in here
so it won't spill off or blow off,
and then you can pot up on here.
But then, likewise, you can put a plug in
and fill that with water, and Norman can play in the water
and have his cars and boats,
and maybe a bit of soil, and make a real mess,
which is great fun when you're a kid.
One of the reasons Andrew chose Charlie's design over the boys'
was her proposed areas for wildlife-friendly planting.
In the top right corner of the plot,
Charlie is planning a mixed native hedge for attracting the birds.
At the moment, the fence is there, but it's a bit stark.
And birds actually like to be able to hop in
and look around in a hedge, and then go to the bird feeders.
If it's a big, open area like this, they're always a bit wary.
A native hedge is a mixed hedge that you'd see in the hedgerows
up and down country lanes.
It's made up of plant and shrub species native to the UK.
We've got dogwood, so that's got big, open, pink flowers.
We've got viburnum, which has lovely white flowers early summer.
And then lots and lots of berries in the autumn,
which the blackbirds love. Then we have also got privet.
-And we've got hawthorn.
-We've got some beech as well, and hornbeam.
Because the bigger the mix,
the more of the variety of insects you'll get,
so the more variety of birds and other wildlife you'll get.
To make the budget go further, Charlie's bought young plants -
or whips - rather than mature shrubs.
We've got 100 whips.
We're going to do a double row, then we're going to space them out
about a foot to a foot and a bit apart,
so we're going to get 50ft of hedge for £90.
You couldn't do that with a solid fence. No way.
Another way to tempt birds into the garden is with feeders,
which can be bought from any garden centre.
Charlie's ordered a couple and given the boys the job of building them.
Where is M?
-Instructions back out.
They may have a Chelsea gold medal under their belts,
but when it comes to flat pack, they're all over the shop.
I'm just trying to find... Where's the box this all came out of?
At this rate, Charlie's hedge will be fully grown
and attracting birds before the feeders are ready.
Once planted, Charlie prunes the top of each whip.
By cutting off the top section, what happens is you make
all the growth come from the shoots at the bottom,
so, of course, it gets thicker.
The hedge will be planted in no time.
But, sadly, progress is a little slower out the front.
-There should be two of Ms.
Have a look, see if you can see an M...anywhere.
I've got my own troubles. I don't know which screw to use.
While the boys finally get to grips with the feeders,
things are moving on apace in the rest of the garden.
And, happily, the potting bench cum mud kitchen is a triumph...
Ooh, that's a lot lighter than I thought.
..and is ready to be moved into place, along with the compost bin.
-Look at that. Dream!
-It's as if it was measured.
With the recycling and upcycling complete
in Andrea and Gary's garden,
the team are cracking on with the planting.
-Charlie, we've got your trees for you.
Look at this. Beautiful crab apple - good choice!
I've got the sorbus,
so the beautiful kind of autumn colour in berries.
It's all about that.
-It's quite a showy one for late in the season.
To add height to her design, Charlie has included two trees that
will perform two key functions in the garden -
they'll provide cover and berries for the birds,
and block the unsightly rooftops at the back of the plot.
I have to say - both planted very, very well.
And as you're competitive,
I would say the final finish probably goes to David here
-cos he's fluffed his up a bit.
All right, I'll pay you that tenner later.
While Charlie carries on with the wildlife area,
Harry and landscaper Scott are starting on the picket fence.
Andrea and Gary have three dogs, so to help protect the new garden,
Charlie is putting in a divide between the patio and the plot.
I think it's going to be nice when this is up.
There's a nice division between the two gardens.
It's going to really define the area.
But Charlie's wondering what's happened
to the last part of the veg garden.
David, would you like to help me bring in the lean-to greenhouse?
-Ooh, I don't know if it's done.
-What do you mean, it's not done?
-Three-quarters of the way.
-Why is that, then?
Was there a piece of M that you didn't know where it went?
-It was O!
-It was O!
Well, shall we bring it in and finish it,
and see if it'll fit in that spot?
I like that idea.
David's been nobbled and he's back on flat-pack detail
under Charlie's watchful eye.
The instructions are down by you, aren't they?
Well, I can tell you now, you need to put four screws
along the back there, for that.
Then you need to come and put these screws in...
because your brother seems to have had a bit of a moment there.
So, we're putting a little cold frame in,
so it's sort of got polycarbonate on it,
so it's slightly insulated,
but it'll be great for starting seeds off.
It'll just give them that little bit of boost,
especially in the spring, and give them a little bit of protection,
until it's ready to plant them out.
So, it'll be quite fun for Norman.
And also, Andrea said she wanted to be growing some of her own
vegetables and plants for the garden.
The landscaping in the garden is finally coming together,
so Charlie's free to start placing out her plants in the borders.
Now, I think shrubs first because of the structure.
The key to the planting in Charlie's design
are the two beds nearest the patio.
Shrubs will give them structure, so she places them first.
A lot of these shrubs might look like they're well spaced out,
but this spiraea is actually going to get quite tall, and as you
can see, the exochorda gets to that size,
so we need to give them the space.
Charlie's also adding some wigwams for growing sweet peas.
They'll pump out lovely scent next to the patio and add instant
height, which will be particularly welcome in Andrea and Gary's
garden while the new plants mature.
The one outstanding feature of Charlie's design
yet to go in is the pergola.
Adam has already concreted in the posts and they have set firm.
Thank you very much.
I always find that height gets neglected in gardens quite a lot.
Especially with this garden, there's quite a lot of detail
-on the ground, with the gravel and the bricks, isn't there?
-So that really lifts it up, doesn't it?
-I think it's a really nice feature, I think it's...
-Because you built it, that's why.
-But I like the way it frames
this circle in the lawn as well, as you walk off the patio.
I think it's really nice.
This garden has been more than just a test of the team's design
and horticultural skills.
They've had to be bricklayers, joiners and DIY experts as well.
But it's been worth it to make Andrea and Gary's limited
budget go as far as possible.
-And we have got some vegetables to go in there.
-Well, let's put them in, shall we?
And as the last adjustments are made to the bird feeders
and the final plants go in,
the garden is ready for its grand unveiling.
For years, Andrea and Gary have longed for a garden of their own,
and when they eventually got this one, it was drab and boring.
Now it's had a £1,500 makeover.
Charlie and the team have spent every penny of the budget to try
and make this garden work for all the family.
She spent £340 on a picket fence and timber to create a stunning
pergola, which adds instant height and a gateway to the new garden.
The interlocking circles have transformed the featureless lawn.
And the bricks to edge them came at a cost of £150.
The wildlife area will mature into a welcoming B&B for birds.
It all cost £250,
but will provide endless delight for the whole family.
The new, upcycled potting bench,
compost bin and lean-to greenhouse cost just £72,
and will set the family on track with growing their own veg.
And Charlie's well-chosen planting means that, as the garden matures,
it will have plenty of colour and interest,
even in the darkest months.
Andrea and Gary were prepared to stake £1,500 of their own money
on making the first garden they have ever owned
into something truly special.
It's time to find out if Charlie's design was up to the task.
-Do you think she'll like it?
-I think definitely.
-I think so.
I think this little dog will love it as well.
He'll run around there.
You can open your eyes.
This is your growing area, playing area, digging.
-Norman's got a step up to the sink area.
-I love that.
Norman is going to love his little area, isn't he?
I think, yeah, he's going to go straight to it...
Straight up on!
..that's all your planting.
They're quite small at the moment,
but they're going to fill this space.
This will become a lovely,
full place with lots of colour and plants.
And then we have got...
-..your mini orchard.
So, we've got an apple tree, a plum tree and a pear tree.
And then you've got your pergola.
It's lovely, yeah. Will that one climb over that?
Yes, we've got two honeysuckles, so a nice lot of scent.
But there's space for you to put your own climbers in as well.
Or what you could do is buy some seeds, start them off in
your little cold frame there, and then plant them out.
This garden has been transformed for just £1,500.
Charlie has boxed clever with the small budget,
and recycled and reused wherever possible
to try and give Andrea and Gary the garden they have longed for.
I think it's just fabulous. It's lovely.
It's just what I wanted and just how I had pictured it in my mind.
And, obviously, the plan as well.
For such a simple design and not a lot of money,
I think it's really made the garden something special.
I think my favourite bit of the whole garden is the bit
forward of the sink, and all that upcycled area.
And all that stuff's free.
It was just all plain and boring,
and now it seems like we have an actual garden,
and it feels so much more homely.
It's going to be great. I love it.
Charlie and the Rich brothers travel to Devizes in Wiltshire to compete to design a garden for Andrea, Gary and their son Norman. This is the family's first home of their own since Gary left the army and married quarters a year ago and they are keen to make it work for all members of the family. As wildlife lovers, they want an area that will attract the birds, a space to grow their own veg, an area for Norman to play and a flower-filled haven for mum and dad to enjoy. The only problem is they want it all for just £1,500.
The designers have to box clever with the budget to give the family the garden they are after and along the way, have some great ideas for upcycling old pallets and for creating interesting shapes within a boring rectangular plot.