Fareham Garden Rescue


Fareham

Garden renovation series. Charlie Dimmock and the Rich Brothers compete to design a £6,000 Italian garden for a couple in Fareham.


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Transcript


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With her can-do attitude, love of simple gardens

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and decades of experience,

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

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Looking good, boys!

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

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

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

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-Wow.

-Look at it turn.

-It's amazing, isn't it?

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

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

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

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They're meeting frustrated garden owners across the country...

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Not a lot going on, is there?

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-Not a lot!

-I don't know what to do with it.

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..and will each pitch them a design based on their needs...

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-Wow!

-..and budget.

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Oh, that sounds amazing.

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

-The winner...

-Yes!

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-Yeah!

-..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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Keep working, keep working, boy.

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Whoa, whoa, whoa, easy!

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This is what happens...

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Just get on with it. Sometime today would be good.

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..when different styles collide...

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I think your brother's throwing the toys out of his pram.

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-Right, are we doing this?

-..to turn garden dreams into reality.

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-Open your eyes.

-Oh!

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Oh, it's lovely!

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Wow!

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-Look at that!

-Whoa!

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It's not our garden.

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It's time for Charlie and the Rich brothers to find out today's garden challenge.

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We've heard from Alan and Vanessa, and they're a wonderfully smiley

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-couple from Hampshire.

-Oh, OK, my neck of the woods.

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Yeah, very close.

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Alan and Vanessa have lived in their home for nearly 30 years,

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and for the first time, they have the chance to build the garden they've always wanted.

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When we first got here, we had two young children,

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so we wanted a place for them to play, play football and things like that.

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But now it really needs something doing to it.

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It's the field it was 27 years ago, isn't it?

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Their two children may have grown up and fled the nest,

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but the couple's garden is firmly stuck in the past.

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A field pretty much sums it up.

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It's a ten by 30 metre plot and while Alan likes his lawn,

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there's so much grass here, he needs a ride-on mower to cope with it.

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There's not really anything there,

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-there's not even a patio near the back door.

-No, there's nothing.

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Nothing going on at all, other than lots of grass and a hedge.

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Over the years, Alan and Vanessa have had moments of inspiration,

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but they've quickly run out of steam,

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so there's half finished projects all over the place.

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I've tried a few things, they've been a bit disastrous.

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I tried to create a wild flower garden,

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but not one flower did appear.

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I've tried to grow lavender, but I don't know what it is,

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I've not succeeded, I'm afraid.

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But now, the couple are determined to have the garden of their dreams

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and they're not afraid to pay for it.

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-So, what's the budget on this?

-£6,000.

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-That's quite a lot, isn't it?

-That's a lot, that's good.

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It's a really good chunk, but from the pictures, it looks like a huge garden, doesn't it?

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-Yeah.

-So filling that costs a lot, doesn't it?

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And on top of that, the couple want a particular style of garden that

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doesn't come cheap.

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We're looking, really, for something with an Italian influence.

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We've been holidaying in Italy about 12 years now

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and we absolutely love the Italian gardens that we've been to,

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and then we come back here and, you know...

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THEY LAUGH

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-..it's not quite the same.

-Italian style.

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Oh, OK, it's nice to have a theme, though, it makes it...

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-It gives you some inspiration.

-It does, yeah. Hopefully we've got Italian weather when we get

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-there, as well.

-Don't hold your breath!

-A little bit of limoncello.

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THEY LAUGH

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Well, they might seem jovial,

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but this will be a major challenge for our design teams.

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Creating an Italian garden in Fareham will not be easy.

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Known for their strong, geometric lines,

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ornate stonework and clipped topiary,

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they are notoriously hard to get right.

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So, Charlie and the Rich brothers waste no time in taking a closer look.

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They're heading to the couple's home in Fareham

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to see the garden for themselves.

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They're looking for clues that will give them an edge when it comes to

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their design.

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-It's big.

-It is, definitely.

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Quite a nice shape, though, I quite like this.

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Yeah, it's sort of wide, but not deep.

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Some people don't like that, they don't know what to do with it.

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That means you can divide the garden up into areas.

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There's a nice boundary as well.

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-Nice and green.

-Nice and private,

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so I think that's going to be one aspect we don't have to look at.

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I have to say, the garden doesn't really give much away about what

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-Alan and Vanessa might like.

-No.

-Not at all.

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-No personality in here.

-Maybe we'll find that elsewhere.

-Yeah.

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There's plenty of space to work with here,

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but the boys want to discover more about the couple's style and taste,

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and inside there are clues everywhere.

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-Look at this.

-Wow.

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-Quite formal, isn't it?

-It has a kind of Renaissance feeling about it.

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Nice word! You've got the mirrors and the side table there,

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-and then look at this, a little chunk of stone as well.

-Yes.

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Meanwhile, Charlie's finding out just what kind of Italian garden the

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couple would like.

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With the garden, was there something that you felt that you wanted?

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Because Italian gardens are very formal, very sort of impressive.

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Some of them are, but some of them have got a sort of contemporary

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-twist on them now.

-Oh, OK.

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Big plants and paths and things, and that's what I'm kind of looking for.

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It's almost got a touch of gold everywhere, so the details, I think,

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will be really key with this,

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and even the colour scheme has this lovely bit of unity.

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I think when we design the garden,

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I think to drag that formality and that structure will be perfect.

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Yeah, no half measures.

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This could be tricky.

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The couple's house is full of traditional Mediterranean touches,

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but they want a garden that's more contemporary,

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and Charlie's also discovered that Vanessa's a bit of a hoarder.

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These poles here, they look like they've got a purpose.

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It's actually a rustic rose pergola that was purchased for my daughter's

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wedding. They were going to ditch them and I said, "Oh, no,

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"that might be a little project, we'll take them home."

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-And when was that?

-Eight years ago.

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Eight years ago! OK.

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What else have you got hidden away, then?

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I've got a pillar that I bought, that is stuck on a packing crate,

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in what I call my upcycling part of the garden.

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Oh, OK. So that could be an area for me and the boys to explore,

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because we might be able to use some of those things?

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Oh, yes, yes. I'm all for upcycling.

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OK.

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There's an awful lot for our designers to consider here.

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A classic Italian garden with a modern twist,

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that's ideal for socialising,

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with a bit of upcycling thrown in for good measure.

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This is going to test Charlie and the boys' creative skills to the limit.

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So, our rival designers get straight to work.

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Each of them will come up with a design that works within Vanessa and

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Alan's budget.

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Their £6,000 will be used to cover the cost of materials

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for their new garden.

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While the labour will be supplied by Charlie, the Rich brothers,

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and their team of landscapers.

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The couple will then have to choose a winner,

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and whoever loses will have to help the winner build the garden.

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It's time for the designers to pitch their ideas.

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The boys have seen the couple's love for traditional formal Italian

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design. Will they play it safe or try something more radical?

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-Right...

-SHE GASPS

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While Charlie has seen how they love to recycle.

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Can she find a way to make this part of her new design?

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Oooh. Wow!

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I want you to think Italian villa,

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but I want you to have the romance of nature taking the garden back.

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Oh, it's amazing.

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We've got the formality of the clipped box,

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to give the structure to the garden, with the Italian cypress,

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and then we've got a pathway using limestone,

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so that will help reflect the light and make it feel much more Italian

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-and bright.

-That's clever.

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And then we've got your pillar...

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-Oh!

-..which is... OK.

-VANESSA LAUGHS

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With a rose growing up it.

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Oh, that's so pretty.

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Charlie has cleverly made Vanessa's old pillar a sculptural feature in a

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very traditional design and it's gone down well.

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So, how will the boys respond?

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What we wanted to do was give you that feeling that when you walked out of

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your house, that you stepped into your own little patch of Italy.

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We've done that by giving you a more formal Italian-style garden,

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but also a slightly more informal one as well.

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-That's lovely.

-This area's got that very grand feeling,

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quite simple in its design.

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We've got a lovely kind of topiary hedge

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that just surrounds a really simple planting of lavender,

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and then we'd have an avenue here of olive trees as well.

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-Sorry.

-Don't worry.

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I think it's...

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It's clear how much this new garden is going to mean to Alan and Vanessa,

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and so far, both designs are going down a storm.

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Whilst Charlie has kept to a more traditional theme,

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the boys are using the width of the plot to create two different types

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of Italian garden.

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So, it's going to be the details that decide which design wins.

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This is where you've got your seating already. At the moment, it's not very private.

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You want more of an intimate, cosy feeling,

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so we'd provide that with some nice shrubs and a tree there,

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more of a focal tree.

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And we've got some old stone walls as well,

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so the idea of that is this old little kind of rural garden.

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So what are these stone walls? I know they're made of stone...

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That would be traditional dry-stone style,

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so it would have that real authenticity.

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But not to be outdone, Charlie has also included an outdoor seating area,

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with an extra twist.

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And then, down at the bottom of the garden is our patio area for all

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friends and family to relax,

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and we've got a ruin that's just slightly there...

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-Still there.

-And we're going to have grapevines growing up over it and,

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again, lots of scented plants.

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Oh, my goodness!

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It's beautiful.

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But the boys have one more feature that they hope might just clinch it.

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You've got a lovely water feature,

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so it's going to feel really relaxing there, somewhere maybe you can perch on the side.

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It's very calming, just another element within the garden.

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Oh, my word,

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it's much more than I ever imagined.

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I will leave you to think.

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The designers have come up with two very different Italian gardens.

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-It's lovely.

-Now it's all down to Alan and Vanessa to decide.

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Tell me what you thought about this one?

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Having waited 27 years to create a garden they can feel proud of,

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it's important they make the right choice now.

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I do love this water feature and the avenue of olive trees.

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-That's so Italian, isn't it?

-Yeah.

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We both kind of feel ours went pretty well, actually.

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I think we got a little bit of emotion.

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Oh, Vanessa definitely had emotion in my pitch.

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-She was like... Not knowing.

-What, couldn't look at it? That bad?!

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I think this is so pretty,

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where you come out and you've got this lovely pathway to this lovely area.

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It is a good spot to sit, actually, there.

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And I also love these little, these little cypress trees.

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I've given the romance, the love of Italy.

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-That's nice.

-I kind of feel that we've given her the formal, the informal,

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but also that kind of lovely space for the lifestyle.

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-Bring it on.

-I think the romance will win it.

-Yeah?

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But Alan and Vanessa can only pick one, so who will it be?

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Will they be swayed by Charlie's enticing pathways,

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elegant cypress trees and the romantic Italian ruin?

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Or will it be the Rich brothers' formal area,

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with the avenue of olives and an informal entertaining space with a

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tranquil water feature?

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It's decision time.

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Hi, guys. Hello.

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It was such a hard decision.

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In fact, they're both beautiful, beautiful designs.

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Anyway, this is the garden that we've chosen.

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-Oh, wow.

-Really cool.

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So, what made you pick this one?

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For me, when I first saw the avenue of olive trees and the lavender,

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I just thought that that was beautiful.

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So, the Rich brothers have emerged triumphant,

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and Charlie's ruin will have to wait for its moment in the sun.

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But this is not an easy design to bring to life.

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With two different garden styles in one

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and the bespoke stone wall to build,

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it's going to take the talents of all three gardeners to make it happen.

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It's the first day of the build.

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With the Rich brothers away planning the final touches to their Italian

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design, it's up to the crack landscaping team of Lee, Joe,

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Andy and the project manager, Paul, to get started.

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And the first job is the rustic dry stone wall that's at the heart

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of the boys' design.

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I've just started taking the turf off now.

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This is going to be the foundation for the wall that goes right across

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the garden. So once all the turf's off along here,

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we're going to dig out probably six inches, something like that,

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get some big stones at the base of the wall that will take the weight,

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and then we'll start building the wall upwards.

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The boys are looking to invoke a flavour of the Tuscan hills with

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this feature, but it's no simple bricks and mortar structure.

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A dry stone wall is actually two separate but interlocking walls,

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tied together by longer through stones,

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while the middle is filled with small rocks and pebbles.

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The only way to do it properly is by hand, but it's a painstaking job,

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so the boys have left chief landscaper Andy to make a start.

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I'm just going to pack all these little bits in, fill all the gaps in. There can be no movement.

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Then we just get a stone, try and cross that into there...

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..so that the next one will maybe cross into there. And then we'll

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keep battering in as we come up, so we'll keep the sides coming in,

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tapering in, and it'll hold it together better.

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They can be made from lots of different types of stone, like slate,

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sandstone or granite.

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Vanessa and Alan's is being made from pale limestone.

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It's eating up over £500 of the six grand budget,

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but it's worth it to create that sun-bleached Mediterranean look.

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As well as the wall, Alan and Vanessa loved the modern water feature in

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the boys' design. It looked quite small on the plan,

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but in real life it's a monster.

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-Like that, keep going, keep going.

-Keep moving this way.

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Down, down.

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In between the wall and water feature,

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there is going to be a large seating area.

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And project manager Paul is keen to get it cut out.

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But he's got a problem.

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Months of dry, hot weather have baked the ground so hard that even

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the trusty turf cutter can't get through.

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As you can see, this is just not working.

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So, on a good day, it's got a blade that moves underneath it,

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it should move straight through the turf and we can just roll it straight up.

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But unfortunately, the ground's hard,

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there seems to be loads of stone in the ground, so I think it's time to get a digger.

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This is a potential setback.

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It could take hours for the digger to turn up,

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and they can cost over £100 to hire.

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So the team will have to adjust the budget to avoid overspending.

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Fortunately, the Rich brothers and Charlie have arrived to take control.

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It may be the boys' project, but they're not letting Charlie off the hook.

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Do you want to know what you're doing?

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-Yeah.

-Informal planting.

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Yeah. Hold on, hold on, hold on, that's like most of the garden.

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Yeah, precisely. And then also this boundary here, the hedge,

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a little bit unloved at the moment, isn't it?

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-Trim it down.

-OK.

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Harry, stone walling, how about that?

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-Nice, yeah, love it.

-I knew you'd like that.

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And I'm going to be doing this bit, all the straight lines, the symmetry.

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There's an awful lot to do, actually, especially if it's precision stuff.

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So you won't be making me cappuccinos all day long, then?

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Maybe. It depends how fast you work.

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Oh, OK, let's get going, then.

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Any hopes she may have had of a gentle afternoon pootling amongst

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the Mediterranean plants are dashed,

0:17:550:17:57

as Charlie is tasked with tackling the enormous mixed hedge.

0:17:570:18:01

Meanwhile, the boys are keen to see how their new water feature will fit

0:18:030:18:07

-with their design.

-This is cool, isn't it?

0:18:070:18:09

It's very cool.

0:18:090:18:10

To connect the informal Italian garden on side of the plot with

0:18:120:18:15

its more contemporary neighbour, the boys have chosen a steel cattle trough.

0:18:150:18:19

But now it's in, they're worried it might be a bit too rustic.

0:18:200:18:25

-What's this little nugget on the end?

-Oh, yeah. I think it's maybe worth...

0:18:250:18:28

-What do you think about that?

-I think we definitely get rid of it.

0:18:280:18:32

And as the queen of water features,

0:18:320:18:34

Charlie can't resist sticking her oar in.

0:18:340:18:36

Get rid of it? It looks pretty smart, boys.

0:18:360:18:38

You don't want to get rid of this, do you?

0:18:380:18:40

We're thinking of just going with the simplicity of that rectangle and

0:18:400:18:44

cutting it off.

0:18:440:18:46

See, I would plant that up.

0:18:460:18:48

-OK, yeah...

-Or, they could put a pump in at some point,

0:18:480:18:52

and then have it overflowing and put watercress in there and that would

0:18:520:18:56

then filter the water.

0:18:560:18:58

Sounds like a good idea.

0:18:580:19:00

So I think we're going to go with cutting it off.

0:19:000:19:02

OK, then, I'll just get on with my hedge, then!

0:19:020:19:04

I'll go and cut that off.

0:19:040:19:06

-Right, ready?

-Yeah.

0:19:170:19:18

-Look at that.

-A little bit of tidying up around that.

0:19:200:19:23

That's made a massive difference, hasn't it?

0:19:230:19:25

At last, the digger has arrived,

0:19:290:19:30

so the team can finally start the massive task of digging out the seating area.

0:19:300:19:34

Charlie is making progress with the hedges, too.

0:19:410:19:44

And even unruly hedges are not without some benefits.

0:19:440:19:47

This isn't really what I would call a formal hedge that's really pristine

0:19:480:19:53

and neat, so it's quite informal.

0:19:530:19:56

But great for wildlife,

0:19:560:19:57

because we've got a real mixture of different plants in here.

0:19:570:20:00

So there's a lot of ivy, and people think ivy is really bad,

0:20:000:20:04

but it's actually great for wildlife,

0:20:040:20:07

because it has all of these flowers on in the autumn and winter time

0:20:070:20:10

that's really full of nectar, so it's fantastic

0:20:100:20:14

for insects and wildlife.

0:20:140:20:17

And they get berries on them afterwards, which, again, the birds love.

0:20:170:20:21

And Harry's taking charge of transforming the shiny cattle trough.

0:20:270:20:31

So that it blends with the dry stone wall next to the house,

0:20:310:20:34

the boys have chosen to face it with the same limestone.

0:20:340:20:37

This isn't a traditional dry stone wall.

0:20:390:20:41

What we're doing here is facing it. When you can see, when you've got the stone in, you have this lovely,

0:20:410:20:45

authentic, dry stone wall effect.

0:20:450:20:47

And, you know, you've got the stability with the muck in the back,

0:20:470:20:50

and you've got less stone,

0:20:500:20:52

so all round, it's a great way of facing a tank like this.

0:20:520:20:55

While Harry keeps chipping away at the stonework,

0:20:590:21:02

David needs to make a start on measuring out the formal garden beds.

0:21:020:21:06

You're looking very studious. I don't think I've ever seen you like that.

0:21:070:21:10

Check me out. Man with a plan.

0:21:100:21:13

And a scale ruler. Look. Blimey, that's seen better days.

0:21:130:21:17

It's Paul's, so he's probably written the numbers on, hasn't he?

0:21:170:21:19

THEY LAUGH

0:21:190:21:21

Well, perfect you're over here, we've got some lines and symmetry...

0:21:210:21:25

Straight lines, I'm not very good at straight lines, I promise you.

0:21:250:21:28

-They cost more, don't they?

-They're very difficult.

0:21:280:21:32

The formal part of the Rich brothers' garden design is made up of four

0:21:320:21:36

symmetrical planting beds.

0:21:360:21:38

These will create avenues and vistas up and down the garden.

0:21:380:21:42

So, that's going to be our point to go off.

0:21:420:21:45

And for the symmetry to work, they need to be meticulously laid out.

0:21:450:21:49

-So, roughly, if we say about here...

-Yeah.

0:21:490:21:54

-Right, if that's approximately there...

-Yeah.

-It'll be perfect.

0:21:540:21:57

Don't worry.

0:21:570:21:59

And Charlie seems to have forgotten who's supposed to be the boss.

0:21:590:22:02

Get that cane in a bit further, you.

0:22:020:22:04

That's about as much as I've got.

0:22:040:22:07

HE LAUGHS

0:22:070:22:08

You have the bit that's going to get into a knot.

0:22:110:22:14

Whoa, whoa, whoa.

0:22:150:22:16

Just get on with it! Sometime today would be good.

0:22:180:22:21

Going as fast as I can.

0:22:210:22:23

When you're marking out,

0:22:230:22:26

especially when it's a formal garden with right angles,

0:22:260:22:29

you've got to make sure that you're getting right angles,

0:22:290:22:33

because you don't want the square to look like it's been squished.

0:22:330:22:36

So, it's measure and measure and double-check,

0:22:360:22:40

before you start cutting the flower beds out.

0:22:400:22:42

With their four elegant, symmetrical beds,

0:22:440:22:47

the boys are hoping to evoke the spirit of the great Italian formal

0:22:470:22:50

gardens.

0:22:500:22:51

The classic Italian garden style, like the one at Hever Castle,

0:22:560:22:59

is characterised by wide avenues, neatly clipped evergreen plants

0:22:590:23:04

and ornate statues.

0:23:040:23:05

Completed in 1908,

0:23:100:23:12

the garden was built to display William Waldorf Astor's collection

0:23:120:23:15

of Italian sculptures.

0:23:150:23:17

The long, sweeping lawns and topiary borders draw the eye.

0:23:190:23:23

And the statues are used to create focal points.

0:23:230:23:26

Water is also a must, whether it's a playful fountain to delight visitors,

0:23:290:23:33

or a tranquil pool for contemplation.

0:23:330:23:35

Italian gardens were places of romance intended for the pleasure of

0:23:390:23:43

the view and the enjoyment of the sights, sounds

0:23:430:23:46

and smells of the garden itself.

0:23:460:23:48

Back in Fareham, the brothers have used these Italian design principles

0:23:500:23:54

to divide the space and add depth to the garden.

0:23:540:23:57

One of the main issues with this garden was that it was quite long, but quite thin, so what we've done

0:23:590:24:03

here, and you can tell it's happening already,

0:24:030:24:05

is that actually by creating these little points of interest,

0:24:050:24:08

it's stopping our eye, slowing it down, and you're creating that journey through,

0:24:080:24:12

so it actually gives the impression that it's a lot wider than it is.

0:24:120:24:15

Beautiful.

0:24:210:24:23

-Done.

-Woohoo!

-The masterpiece is finished.

0:24:230:24:26

Hiring the digger was an unexpected cost

0:24:280:24:31

and the team need to get their money's worth.

0:24:310:24:33

So, with the garden beds finally laid out to David's satisfaction,

0:24:330:24:37

the digger can do its worst.

0:24:370:24:39

With so much to do,

0:24:430:24:45

Harry has left Joe to complete the facing on the water feature.

0:24:450:24:48

We're nearly there now. Just get round this corner.

0:24:490:24:53

Get the top on. Job done.

0:24:530:24:56

And the brothers set to work on finishing the dry stone wall by

0:24:570:25:01

capping it with some large,

0:25:010:25:02

informal limestone coping stones that perfectly complement their

0:25:020:25:06

design ideas for the informal part of the garden.

0:25:060:25:09

With these walls, we wanted to double them up as seating,

0:25:110:25:13

because we know Vanessa and Alan will have guests round,

0:25:130:25:16

and these are perfect ways of maximising seating space.

0:25:160:25:18

But what we didn't want to do was cope it with quite a modern slab,

0:25:180:25:21

because that wouldn't tie in with our Italian style, would it?

0:25:210:25:24

Yeah, it's got a lovely, kind of, authentic feeling, hasn't it?

0:25:240:25:26

I think what's so nice then, when you have these larger slabs,

0:25:260:25:29

it has these lovely little pockets where we'll look to plant it up,

0:25:290:25:32

put some soil in, so over time, it's going to naturalise and they'll

0:25:320:25:36

have this lovely, old-looking stone wall set within this rural

0:25:360:25:39

Mediterranean garden.

0:25:390:25:40

Coping stones are a way of capping a stone wall to stop erosion from

0:25:420:25:46

the wind and rain. But tiles, slate, metal, concrete,

0:25:460:25:50

or even wood can also be used.

0:25:500:25:52

Some could say that we are coping.

0:25:570:25:58

HE LAUGHS

0:25:580:26:00

Barely, barely.

0:26:000:26:02

Right, let's go and do the wall.

0:26:020:26:04

No formal Italian garden would be complete without a few ornate focal

0:26:090:26:13

points and Charlie has reminded the brothers about Vanessa's Doric column.

0:26:130:26:18

But it's looking a bit too modern for the rustic Italian theme of the garden.

0:26:190:26:23

The boys thinks it looks a bit new,

0:26:230:26:25

they want it looking like that.

0:26:250:26:27

So they've given me some acrylic paint and a sponge.

0:26:270:26:31

Paints are a good, quick fix,

0:26:320:26:34

but if you have more time, Charlie knows a good trick for encouraging

0:26:340:26:37

the natural ageing process.

0:26:370:26:39

One of the best ways to make an ornament weather really quickly is

0:26:410:26:46

put yoghurt on it. So, just paint yoghurt on it.

0:26:460:26:49

You get bacteria growing on there, which encourages things like algae

0:26:490:26:53

and lichen and mosses to grow naturally.

0:26:530:26:56

So, it gives that really beautiful, weathered, soft effect.

0:26:570:27:01

With the formal garden beds dug out,

0:27:100:27:12

the brothers set to work on the planting.

0:27:120:27:15

It pays to place the tallest plants in the bed first, and nothing evokes

0:27:150:27:19

la dolce vita more than mature olive trees.

0:27:190:27:22

Olives are a great tree for growing in the UK.

0:27:240:27:26

They're quite hardy and they tolerate up to about -10 in the winter,

0:27:260:27:30

so they're great for that, but they don't tolerate the wet.

0:27:300:27:33

They don't like the wet. So, as long as you've got quite well-drained soil, then that's really good.

0:27:330:27:37

Another great thing is you can grow it in pots,

0:27:370:27:39

so it's great for balconies, because it tolerates a bit of wind as well.

0:27:390:27:42

At £95 a pop, these olives aren't cheap,

0:27:470:27:50

so the boys are careful to get it right.

0:27:500:27:53

Yeah, 180.

0:27:530:27:54

Nice. Yeah, that's perfect.

0:27:560:27:58

With the formal half of the garden well under way, the Rich brothers

0:27:580:28:01

have tasked Charlie with planting up the new water feature.

0:28:010:28:05

The boys want the water feature to look very elegant and sleek and simple.

0:28:070:28:12

So, with that in mind, we're just going for one waterlily.

0:28:120:28:16

It will come up and spread on the surface,

0:28:160:28:18

and you will get lots of flowers through the summer.

0:28:180:28:21

I'm just adding gravel to the top.

0:28:210:28:23

Right. Oh! Oh!

0:28:260:28:28

It is well rooted, I might take some of that off,

0:28:280:28:31

because that will really make it look like a mud pool!

0:28:310:28:34

SHE LAUGHS

0:28:340:28:36

All the best jobs.

0:28:380:28:39

Righty-ho. Now, a lot of people think that you have to raise your waterlily up.

0:28:420:28:47

This waterlily is quite happy at 18 inches to two foot deep.

0:28:470:28:51

This is about 18 inches deep.

0:28:510:28:53

So, it can go straight to the bottom of the pond

0:28:530:28:55

and it'll come up to the surface...

0:28:550:28:57

quite quickly.

0:28:570:28:59

Ba-dam!

0:29:000:29:02

Mud.

0:29:020:29:04

I bet they spent all day trying to keep that as clean as possible,

0:29:040:29:07

then Charlie comes along and ruins it!

0:29:070:29:09

Fortunately, the boys are preoccupied with their Mediterranean borders.

0:29:120:29:16

To create this formal Italian garden, we're using this low box hedging to

0:29:180:29:21

create this lovely border to the flower beds.

0:29:210:29:24

So they don't blow the budget, Harry's using young box plants,

0:29:250:29:28

which are cheaper.

0:29:280:29:30

But as they can grow 20 centimetres a year, the border won't take long to fill out.

0:29:300:29:34

I'm planting these six per metre.

0:29:360:29:38

So, as soon as they grow and are established to the point you want,

0:29:380:29:40

cut them off and you've got this lovely, crisp hedge.

0:29:400:29:43

-That's a really nice first row, mate.

-Thank you.

-Well done. How many left?

0:29:460:29:49

-288?

-288.

0:29:490:29:52

-Crack on.

-I will do.

0:29:520:29:53

In formal Italian gardens, the lawns and hedges are always kept neatly

0:29:550:29:59

clipped for maximum effect.

0:29:590:30:01

And after all the work that's been done in the garden,

0:30:020:30:05

Vanessa and Alan's lawn is in need of a little TLC

0:30:050:30:08

in order to really complement its new look.

0:30:080:30:12

Now, Alan likes his lawn, and it's looking a little bare in places,

0:30:120:30:17

especially where we've had the digger.

0:30:170:30:20

We're going to be putting grass seed down.

0:30:200:30:23

So I'm just raking off the stones and getting it roughly level.

0:30:230:30:26

Don't think you've got to get every last stone.

0:30:260:30:29

It's just the big, lumpy ones.

0:30:290:30:32

Right. More or less level.

0:30:340:30:36

Definitely better than it was.

0:30:360:30:38

So, we've just got a multipurpose grass seed.

0:30:380:30:42

It's always good to measure it out.

0:30:420:30:45

Don't just throw it from the box,

0:30:450:30:47

because you'll probably lay too much down and it won't grow evenly.

0:30:470:30:51

So, it's 30g a square metre, and then divide it in half.

0:30:510:30:55

And, first of all, we'll sow one way,

0:30:590:31:01

then we'll sow the other way.

0:31:010:31:03

And, by rights, it should be nice and even with no patches.

0:31:030:31:07

With any luck, in just a few months,

0:31:100:31:12

Alan's beloved lawn will start to see the benefits.

0:31:120:31:15

But once it's established, it pays to follow some simple rules

0:31:150:31:18

to keep your lawn in tiptop condition.

0:31:180:31:22

And no-one knows this better than Ade Ambler,

0:31:250:31:28

winner of Britain's Best Lawn 2015.

0:31:280:31:31

To keep my lawn to this quality,

0:31:320:31:34

I would probably spend at least 14 hours a week

0:31:340:31:37

maintaining and looking after. It is a commitment.

0:31:370:31:40

Ade has been following the same golden rules for lawn care

0:31:430:31:46

for over 20 years.

0:31:460:31:48

To keep your lawn lovely, my top three tips are

0:31:480:31:51

mow it regularly,

0:31:510:31:52

keep the edges nice and clean and sharp,

0:31:520:31:54

and a feed at least two or three times a year.

0:31:540:31:56

And if you want to get really serious about your lawn care,

0:31:580:32:01

Ade also recommends raking or scarifying it

0:32:010:32:05

to remove moss or dead grass,

0:32:050:32:07

which can smother the roots and prevent new growth.

0:32:070:32:10

This is best done in spring and autumn.

0:32:100:32:12

You can also aerate the soil.

0:32:160:32:18

This can be done with a garden fork

0:32:180:32:20

or more specialised tools.

0:32:200:32:22

This tool here is an aerator,

0:32:240:32:26

and it's perforating the topsoil by about two or three inches.

0:32:260:32:30

And it's helping to allow food, water, and nutrients

0:32:300:32:34

to get below the surface.

0:32:340:32:35

No Lawn of the Year would be complete

0:32:380:32:40

without these iconic stripes...

0:32:400:32:41

..which are created simply by using a mower with a rear roller

0:32:430:32:46

to bend the grass and reflect the light.

0:32:460:32:48

Grass blades bent towards you look dark,

0:32:500:32:53

while those bent the opposite way look lighter.

0:32:530:32:55

There we have it, the iconic stripes.

0:32:580:33:00

We've scarified, we've aerated, we've edged, and now we've cut.

0:33:000:33:04

Back in Fareham, the formal half of Alan and Vanessa's Italian garden

0:33:180:33:22

is receiving some much-needed colour.

0:33:220:33:24

David is adding lavender,

0:33:250:33:27

which will provide clouds of purple flowers next summer,

0:33:270:33:30

as well as knockout scent.

0:33:300:33:31

There are more than 39 species of lavender,

0:33:320:33:35

many of which only thrive in the hot Mediterranean climate.

0:33:350:33:39

But some are more than happy in an English flowerbed.

0:33:390:33:42

This is English lavender. It's Hidcote. It's perfect for

0:33:450:33:48

the UK cos it's really tolerant of all the conditions.

0:33:480:33:50

What you'll find with lavender is that it tends to grow quite bushy

0:33:500:33:53

and quite woody. So what you want to do is prune it back quite hard

0:33:530:33:57

late summer, after it's flowered, but don't go into the wood,

0:33:570:34:01

otherwise you won't get any new growth.

0:34:010:34:03

Then that'll be perfect for this style of garden,

0:34:030:34:05

cos it'll keep it really trim and really formal.

0:34:050:34:08

With the formal garden complete,

0:34:110:34:12

they make a start on the informal planting.

0:34:120:34:15

In this part of the garden,

0:34:170:34:18

the brothers have continued the Italian theme

0:34:180:34:21

by using Mediterranean plants to enclose the outdoor seating area.

0:34:210:34:24

We may not have the climate,

0:34:270:34:29

but there are plenty of Mediterranean plants

0:34:290:34:31

that will happily thrive in a garden in Kent.

0:34:310:34:33

As you can see, the soil is really stony,

0:34:370:34:40

which the Mediterranean-type plants will just love.

0:34:400:34:44

It'll make all the aromas much stronger,

0:34:440:34:46

because it's free draining,

0:34:460:34:48

so if the plants have got nice, strong growth,

0:34:480:34:51

with not lots of water,

0:34:510:34:53

the aromas are much better.

0:34:530:34:55

So, the boys have gone with some

0:34:580:35:00

very traditional Mediterranean plants.

0:35:000:35:03

Things like rosemary, we've got thyme, we've got bay.

0:35:030:35:07

Feel the, sort of, Bolognese sauce being ready made by Vanessa now.

0:35:070:35:11

But they've gone for some slightly more unusual ones

0:35:110:35:14

that have a Mediterranean feel.

0:35:140:35:17

So, we've got Pinus mugo, which makes a nice, low mound.

0:35:170:35:22

We've got a hibiscus here, syriacus.

0:35:220:35:26

It's got these big, open, pale pink flowers

0:35:260:35:30

with a bright splash of red in the centre.

0:35:300:35:33

A very upright plant, so it's going to add a bit of height.

0:35:330:35:36

And then we've got Pittosporum,

0:35:360:35:39

fantastic evergreen shrub or small tree.

0:35:390:35:43

Great for cut foliage in your vases with your flowers.

0:35:430:35:47

And then, to add a bit of, sort of, softening,

0:35:470:35:51

you've got the catmint running through,

0:35:510:35:53

which will give that blue haze

0:35:530:35:55

as they wander out onto their seating area.

0:35:550:35:58

It'll be very nice.

0:35:580:35:59

They may be hardy, but these plants will still need some protection

0:36:010:36:05

if it's particularly wet and cold.

0:36:050:36:06

A layer of mulch will stop roots freezing or waterlogging

0:36:080:36:11

in the colder months.

0:36:110:36:12

To blend the new dry stone wall with the surrounding planting,

0:36:140:36:17

David is adding some organic touches.

0:36:170:36:19

Our main focus with this stone wall was giving it a sense of age

0:36:210:36:25

and what we're doing now is we're adding sedum into the wall.

0:36:250:36:27

These are perfect plants for it,

0:36:280:36:30

cos they're used to having a really shallow root system.

0:36:300:36:32

So it's absolutely fine just to tear them off and then push them into

0:36:320:36:35

the cracks, as long as you've got

0:36:350:36:36

a little bit of soil left for them to cling onto.

0:36:360:36:39

And also, cos they're so hardy, what you can do is, these long,

0:36:390:36:43

straggly ones, you can pinch them off, about there,

0:36:430:36:46

then you can bed that into some soil, and then they'll grow again.

0:36:460:36:50

And then over time, that should sprawl over the wall.

0:36:500:36:53

With the planting nearly complete, it's time to bring on the gravel.

0:36:540:36:58

To surface the large, outdoor entertaining space,

0:37:000:37:02

the brothers are using a soft, ochre-coloured gravel to really transport

0:37:020:37:06

this seating area to the hills of Tuscany.

0:37:060:37:09

And once compacted,

0:37:120:37:13

this self-binding gravel will knit together to form a sealed surface.

0:37:130:37:17

With the gravel down,

0:37:210:37:22

Charlie and the boys can start to add the finishing touches.

0:37:220:37:26

And Vanessa and Alan's old sundial is to become the main focal point

0:37:260:37:30

in the formal garden.

0:37:300:37:31

Are you sure that's in the right spot?

0:37:320:37:34

-That looks level, actually.

-No, got to go over.

0:37:340:37:36

Too much, back the other way.

0:37:380:37:40

And finally, the boys bring out Vanessa's Doric column.

0:37:410:37:45

It's not a quick process, this.

0:37:450:37:47

-Slowing down.

-It's quite heavy, isn't it?

0:37:470:37:50

It's easy, Charlie, I don't know what you're moaning about.

0:37:500:37:53

-A wonky wheel.

-That's it, blame the tools.

0:37:530:37:55

-What do you think, Charlie?

-Yeah, looks all right.

0:38:010:38:03

The more it weathers, the better it'll look,

0:38:030:38:05

-but I think she'll love that.

-Yeah.

0:38:050:38:07

Before they called the Garden Rescue team, Alan and Vanessa's garden

0:38:170:38:21

was a neglected, featureless, expansive lawn.

0:38:210:38:24

Without charm or character,

0:38:240:38:26

it wasn't the place they wanted to spend time

0:38:260:38:28

and it certainly wasn't a place for entertaining friends and family.

0:38:280:38:31

Now it's had a £6,000 makeover

0:38:380:38:41

and the Rich brothers have spent every penny to bring a little bit

0:38:410:38:44

of the romance of Italy to their garden

0:38:440:38:46

and make it a place they can truly enjoy.

0:38:460:38:49

The brothers spent £600 on the rustic dry stone wall,

0:38:560:39:00

which not only divides the space into two garden rooms,

0:39:000:39:03

but is a beautiful work of art in itself.

0:39:030:39:06

Eight tonnes of self-binding gravel, costing just over £1,000.

0:39:090:39:15

Its sandy texture conjures up that sun-baked Italian feel

0:39:150:39:19

and is the perfect choice for this relaxed seating area.

0:39:190:39:22

While the 300 box hedging plants that will grow to give

0:39:260:39:30

the formal part of the garden its classic structure

0:39:300:39:32

came in at £725.

0:39:320:39:35

And the eight statement olive trees were an indulgence at £750,

0:39:380:39:43

but they create avenues across the garden

0:39:430:39:45

and add that all-important symmetry.

0:39:450:39:48

Last but not least, the elegantly simple water feature,

0:39:520:39:55

clad in natural stone to give the garden the bucolic charm of Tuscany,

0:39:550:39:59

was constructed for just £620,

0:39:590:40:03

including both the trough and the stone facing.

0:40:030:40:05

Vanessa and Alan have waited 27 years

0:40:090:40:11

to create an Italian-style garden for entertaining their large family

0:40:110:40:16

and they were prepared to spend big to make it happen.

0:40:160:40:18

Here they go.

0:40:200:40:21

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

0:40:220:40:25

I think Vanessa is going to be quite emotional.

0:40:270:40:31

-Time has come.

-Are you excited?

0:40:320:40:34

I am so nervous, honestly.

0:40:340:40:36

-Oh, my goodness.

-OK, well, have a look at your new garden.

0:40:360:40:39

- Oh, wow. - It's amazing.

0:40:410:40:43

- Oh, my goodness. - Oh, it's beautiful.

0:40:430:40:46

Look at... Look at that.

0:40:460:40:48

-Avenue of olives.

-Avenue of olives.

0:40:480:40:50

Oh, big smile on Vanessa's face.

0:40:520:40:54

I honestly don't know how you've managed this.

0:40:550:40:57

- It's amazing. - It's absolutely wonderful.

0:40:570:41:00

- Yeah. - There's so much to look at.

0:41:000:41:02

-Oh, my goodness, look.

-Take a seat.

0:41:020:41:03

Oh, look, it's our table and chairs.

0:41:030:41:06

Oh, my goodness.

0:41:060:41:08

-OK, then...

-Two coffees?

0:41:080:41:10

Due cappuccini.

0:41:100:41:12

I don't think Vanessa has clocked her pillar yet.

0:41:130:41:18

Oh, my goodness, look, I've just seen...

0:41:180:41:20

- Look behind you. - Oh, wow.

0:41:200:41:23

It's my Doric column.

0:41:230:41:26

Your little ruin in the corner.

0:41:260:41:27

Oh, my goodness, me.

0:41:270:41:30

Can I...? I've just got to have a look at this.

0:41:300:41:33

Keep wandering round.

0:41:330:41:34

ALAN: That's amazing. That water feature is absolutely amazing.

0:41:340:41:38

I think we should probably take a little wander through

0:41:380:41:40

-into the formal area.

-Oh, yes, lead the way.

0:41:400:41:44

I can safely say they like the garden.

0:41:440:41:48

All of the box hedging can grow up to the height you want,

0:41:480:41:51

-then you can clip them.

-Look at the olive trees.

0:41:510:41:53

- Aren't they so spectacular? - Yeah.

0:41:530:41:56

And the different colours of green in there, that's genius.

0:41:560:42:00

Absolutely love it.

0:42:000:42:02

£6,000 was a serious investment to make in their garden,

0:42:070:42:11

so do Vanessa and Alan think it was money well spent?

0:42:110:42:14

It's fantastic. It's amazing.

0:42:160:42:19

Words cannot describe

0:42:190:42:20

- how I feel about this garden. - Absolutely incredible.

0:42:200:42:23

It's just a little bit of Italy,

0:42:230:42:24

- like we wanted, really, isn't it? - Yeah.

0:42:240:42:27

-Really happy.

-It looks so different, doesn't it?

0:42:270:42:29

-Yeah.

-I mean, gone from a boring English garden

0:42:290:42:33

to this tranquil, Mediterranean, Italian feel.

0:42:330:42:36

It has completely changed everything, hasn't it?

0:42:360:42:38

The avenue of olives.

0:42:380:42:40

The little seating area at the end there to sit and

0:42:400:42:42

- have a glass of Prosecco. - I love the water feature.

0:42:420:42:45

- He loves the water feature. - Fantastic.

0:42:450:42:47

And I think the stone walling, come on, gorgeous, isn't it?

0:42:470:42:51

Worth almost blowing the budget?

0:42:510:42:53

Too right, too right.

0:42:530:42:55

-You were just in.

-Just in.

0:42:550:42:57

It's nice to spend absolutely everything, isn't it? Yeah.

0:42:570:43:00

- It's just... - Well worth it...

0:43:000:43:03

- It's a small price to pay... - And more.

0:43:030:43:05

..for a magnificent Italian garden, isn't it?

0:43:050:43:07

- Yeah. - We're delighted.

0:43:070:43:10

THEY CHEER

0:43:180:43:19

Charlie and the Rich brothers compete to design a £6,000 Italian garden for a couple in Fareham. The designers' creative skills are going to be tested to the limit if the uninspiring grass patch is to become a Mediterranean idyll.


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