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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 of the Chelsea Flower Show...
-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.
-Not a lot going on, is there?!
-Not a lot!
I don't know what to do with it.
And will each pitch them a design based on their needs...
That sounds amazing.
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.
Keep working, keep working, boys!
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Easy!
This is what happens...
Just get on with it! Some time today would be good!
..when different styles collide...
I think your brother's throwing the toys out of his pram!
Right, are we doing this?
..to turn garden dreams into reality.
-Open your eyes.
Oh, it's lovely.
-Look at that!
Wow! It's not our garden!
It's time for Charlie and the Rich Brothers to get their teeth
into today's challenge.
This is Andy, Fiona and little Alex.
-He's very bonny, isn't he?
-He's very young.
And they want a very user-friendly garden
that they can use as a family.
I have is to say, I don't think I've seen a garden so devoid of plants.
-It's literally nothing.
That's it. Now, I don't mean to be rude, but
it is quite boring.
Andy, a naval architect, and Fiona, a civil servant,
moved into their house four years ago
and immediately got stuck into the garden.
When we moved in, it was really, really overgrown. So, after a lot of
clearing out, and a lot of weeding,
we're now back to, well, it's nothing more than a blank canvas,
so we really need to start from scratch.
Since having a child, the couple have realised that
their 13 by 30 metre plot is not only boring, it's dangerous, too.
We have a little boy, a one-year-old, called Alex and
currently the patio's all uneven and broken. The steps are too high.
And the ditch at the bottom is just a big hazard for him.
Unless it's heavily supervised with a lot of preparation,
we don't go out there with him, which is a bit of a big shame.
We don't use it at all. We've probably used it a handful of times
since we moved in.
So, really, having a safe place for him to play and burn off energy
It's not all about Alex, though, is it?
No, I think it's a balance, you know?
He's fresh on the scene.
So, I think, as a family now, we can split the garden into two,
so we can have a, kind of, natural play area for Alex, but also have
this lovely entertaining space.
Not only is the space unsuitable for Alex,
it's not really luring Andy and Fiona out of the house, either.
Fiona is really, really into cooking,
so we would love a garden space. Once Alex is in bed,
we can have friends or family round for dinner.
We can have people round to entertain.
Drinks in the garden ourselves.
So, to give Alex a safe area and have a space all to their own,
what are Andy and Fiona prepared to spend?
Our budget for the garden is £5,000.
And we think it's a good investment for the future
if we can get out and use the garden more.
That's all right, isn't it? You can do a lot with that.
It's quite a small garden, as well, so I think having a budget like that
means we can really involve lots of different elements
-within this space.
-Should get a real wow factor there somewhere.
£5,000 is a lot for a garden this size,
so our designers have no excuses.
They'll need to come up with something
that knocks this couple's socks off.
So, to get under the skin of this particular challenge
they're heading to the family's home in Southampton
to see the garden for themselves.
It's quite a nice-sized garden for a house of this size.
-Yeah, it's great.
-That's a pretty strong boundary, isn't it?
Yeah, it's a bit in-your-face.
At the moment, it's all you see, isn't it?
-There's nothing here except for one tree and one plant.
Minimal, yeah, but not the good minimal.
No, and it's very neat.
Well, neat is one word for this dull and empty plot,
but it does have one feature,
and it looks a lot worse in the flesh than it did in the pictures.
I have to say, that is a really steep slope, isn't it?
-It didn't look that steep in the photos.
No, it's going to be quite key how we actually deal with that,
because I think it's a bit of a problem space at the moment.
-Yeah, well, it's a nothing space, isn't it?
One quarter of the plot drops by nearly a metre.
No wonder it's not entirely safe for little Alex.
There's no reason to come into the garden,
because there's nothing to look at.
We get it - it's blank and featureless.
So the boys head inside to see if they can pick up some clues
about the couple's taste.
But it's not going to be easy.
It looks like baby Alex has taken over the house.
Ah. What do you notice here?
-Definitely a lot of toys.
-Yeah, a lot of toys, neat toys.
They look very neat.
But I think maybe what might be a nice thing is
-to give them a little divide in the garden.
Give baby Alex his space, so he's not cluttering up,
and give the parents their space.
-They are plastic.
-So maybe a nice thing might be to introduce
a bit more natural play.
Maybe Charlie will have more success
figuring out what this couple really want.
Alex arrived at a time when
time available to do the garden just plummeted.
-OK. So that's why you've come to me and the boys?
we need some help. We need some serious help.
Meanwhile, in the dining room,
the boys have made an important discovery.
-That's a big, old family.
Do you think it's going to be paramount to, kind of, accommodate
all these when they're having a family gathering?
Yes, some nice big spaces. By the look of the frames,
-probably quite neat, as well.
-Yeah, very neat in here.
Having now taken everything out, it's time to put something in,
-and it's time to maintain it, rather than just...
-Oh, that's really nice
to hear, because a lot of people go,
"Yeah, I want the look, but I don't want the maintenance."
But to say that you don't mind doing a bit and actually
start getting involved,
and you want Alex to get involved with that as well?
-Yeah, we'd love some area, or just little bits throughout,
something he could do and play with
and would really draw him into the garden as well.
Even though this isn't a huge garden and the budget is decent,
there's not a lot for our designers to go on, other than it being safe
for Alex and a setting for Andy and Fiona to entertain their very
large family and many friends,
they've virtually been given free rein.
It's going to be a challenge, so the trio waste no time and head straight
to their drawing boards. Each of them will come up with a design that
works within Andy and Fiona's budget.
The couple will then have to choose a winning design
and the loser will help the winner build the garden.
Their £5,000 will be used to buy all the materials for their new garden
as Charlie and the Rich Brothers,
along with a crack team of landscapers,
will provide the labour.
It's time for the designers to pitch their ideas.
This is our design.
The boys have seen that Andy and Fiona love family gatherings,
so will that be the dominant theme in their design?
Whilst Charlie has learned that Andy and Fiona aren't afraid
to get their hands dirty once the garden is in.
But there's some practical issues to address first,
and Charlie's had a radical idea.
I'm hoping to change your mind about the ditch,
because it is actually quite nice to have level changes.
So, coming out from your kitchen, we have steps out, and you're
going to have a view going down to the sunny part, which is going to be
your entertainment area. So we go down, and we're going to
terrace this and make this into a patio area
with big, shallow steps going down.
They're not actually steps, they're going to be, like,
platforms down into that area.
So that'll be like a sunken garden, and I'm going to use plants
that are going to give you colour all year round.
So, rather than use up the budget building up the slope,
Charlie's suggesting a lower tier with two different areas.
And the boys are thinking along similar lines.
So, we've taken inspiration from your kitchen.
It's very modern, very minimal.
So we want to create the same kind of feeling out here.
So it'll be a very modern slab.
And that would run down to the bottom.
And also, we've put in a kind of, tiled wall as well,
so that doubles up as seating. If you have friends and family over,
then this space becomes a lot more usable.
It looks really good.
But what have they got in mind to entertain baby Alex?
Then this side of the garden,
you know, Alex needs that space to run around, play football,
sit in his little pedal car, hurtle around, this is his area down here.
So we have a slide going down the slope.
We're going to cut that back a little bit to give him a bigger area
and put play bark down there...
with a nice playhouse.
So, from the dining room, you won't really see that play area.
A stroke of genius from Charlie.
Playhouses aren't the prettiest of features,
so by putting Alex's on the lower level
it won't dominate the garden
and will be almost invisible from the house.
How will the boys respond?
On the left-hand side we've got these lovely rolling hills
that Alex can enjoy now. When he gets a bit older, they become this
really fun space to play that's nice and safe.
Then on the other side, we've got these steps running down into this,
-more, kind of, adult space.
-So, this is kind of his space
that he could venture around, run around.
And there was a little slide that we dig into the bank.
Great minds think alike.
The boys have also included a slide for Alex
that makes use of the level change.
But whilst Charlie is planning to terrace the slope,
they're suggesting contouring the lawn so the lower level
links naturally with the upper tier.
-Thank you very much.
It's going to be the details that decide this one.
And Andy and Fiona are giving nothing away.
I really like the modern look and how this, kind of, brings the patio
-The only downside I can see is that I don't know,
with the slope, about keeping on top of the garden.
It might be more of a challenge.
I don't know about you, Charlie, but we found it quite hard to read them.
-So we don't quite know how it went.
-No facial expression at all.
-I'm taking that as a good sign.
-I feel like we're going to
-win, but I mean, what did you take from it?
-I took it as a bad sign.
I just don't know quite how those steps will work out.
They're quite short and small, where these steps are really long,
and really ease down into the bank.
-Yeah, you have a lot more graduation there.
There's so much going on in this design.
They can only choose one, so who will it be?
Will they be won over by Charlie's year-round planting
and safe, shallow steps,
or the boys' contemporary patio and naturalistic play area?
It's decision time.
Here we go.
-So, we made a decision.
It was a lot tougher than we thought it was going to be.
We can say that you were both very difficult to read,
none of us had any idea.
We eventually got to a decision. We've gone with...
The design we've chosen.
Oh, I've got one. Yay!
I want to make the playhouse.
So, Charlie takes this one, but she'll certainly need the boys' help
if she's going to transform this joyless plot
into a garden to entertain the whole family.
Early morning in Southampton,
and while Charlie is away fine tuning her design,
Paul the project manager,
with landscapers Andy, Jason, and Malcolm,
begin the garden built with gusto.
First job is to dismantle the steep steps from the house to the garden.
Charlie's design includes new child-friendlier steps
with shorter rises.
-Is it the right way up?
They're using railway sleepers to build the new steps.
Oh! Look at that.
They're pre-cut to size, and at £25 per sleeper
are a cheaper and quicker option for building steps than other materials.
And once they're in, Andy can use them as the fixed point to position
and build Charlie's central raised bed.
Out front, the digger's arrived.
It'll save the chaps some backbreaking work
when it comes to tackling the ditch at the end of the garden.
Andy, Andy, straighten up a bit, mate, straighten up.
Andy and Fiona's garden features a 1:2 slope,
so there's a fair bit of excavating to do.
But this slope is nothing compared to what
other gardeners have had to cope with.
Kate Gartner inherited an extreme gradient
outside her back door in Bedfordshire,
but was determined to turn it to her advantage.
Before we designed the garden,
it was a single slope with a holly hedge
around the outside, lots of brambles, lots of weeds,
unloved for about 30 years, and it didn't really look very promising.
They started out by creating a seating area outside the house.
I would say over the course of the development of the garden,
we've probably moved something like 60 or 80 tonnes of soil
to actually create spaces.
We've built retaining walls. We've put steps in.
By terracing the slope, Kate and her husband have made different
spaces on every level, each with a unique feel and atmosphere.
We talk about rooms, we have lots of different areas within the garden,
so, as you go through the garden, you're almost on a journey.
You can't ever quite see the whole garden,
but when you get to the top you can look down on it.
Not only did they use landscaping to tackle the slope,
they employed nature to help them, as well.
Because our soil is very sandy, to stop the garden sliding
we've used things like geraniums and fuchsias to actually create
an anchor, and then other key plants planted into it
to create some of the structure.
Some of the practicalities of gardening on a slope make it
challenging. So, for instance, you need to think about how you're going
to access through the plants.
We've got stepping stones on the bank to stand on.
Try and plant close together, so we don't have too much weeding to do.
So, it may only be a couple of times a year
where I need access the bank itself
to do essential maintenance and pruning. The rest of the time,
we get to sit and enjoy the garden.
Back in Southampton, they're a long way from conquering this slope.
So Charlie, the boss, has arrived to get things moving.
She's placed Alex's play area in the former ditch,
so a child-friendly entrance and exit to that area are all-important.
Always start at the lowest level, which is here, and then go up.
So we're going to be putting steps in up here.
And we're just using sleepers.
These are softwood, but tanalised,
you're going to get about 15, 20 years out of them, quite happily.
So, that would give us our first step.
And I don't want it too uniform, because this is a play area,
so, I'm staggering it and also bringing them in and out.
Nice, even steps, quite shallow,
so Alex can get up and down easily.
Then, we're going to go up one step into the vegetable patch,
which will be a tunnel. So, this is one level.
Then we'll step up again into this level,
which will be Mum and Dad's chill-out patio area.
And then one more step and we're at the top of the garden.
So there's no dreaded ditch any more, it's all nice, even steps
that everybody can cope with.
With the team hard at work making the ditch into a usable space,
more help arrives in the form of Harry and David. And Charlie
doesn't hesitate in putting them straight to work.
This here garden...
So it's a garden of two halves, and we're not talking football, boys,
not the football, no. We've basically got Alex's area.
So, children's fun play area
and then adult area for Mum and Dad
to chill out while watching Alex play.
-Now, I do have a little bit of an issue. Well, a bit of fun
for you, really. This area we've got here, because we got that lovely
-crab apple at the bottom.
I'm thinking that we run a flower bed down here
-to cover up the wall.
-The wall, yeah? Nice.
You know, nice, big...
But what about running a race track down through it?
-A race track?
-What, through the plants?
-Through the plants, yeah.
-What do you think? No?
-That's fine, it's normal.
In a pedal car. I thought he could weave around, and go round the tree,
back on, so then he's got a complete circuit he can do in the garden.
-Let's push for it.
-I'll ask him. I'll ask him, see what he says.
-You know, as you boys are so young,
and boys and toys, I think you can do the racetrack,
-the slide, the playhouse, the tunnel, yeah?
It's full day, isn't it?
It is going to be lots of fun but lots of work.
But there's an awful lot of work to be done
before the fun can start, boys.
First, there's the little job of building Alex's new playhouse.
-Close that, mate.
-There is a bit of a draught out today.
Charlie's got us building Alex's playhouse.
It's very much a family garden,
so Andy and Fiona have their space, and then Alex has his space,
-his little clubhouse.
And who better to do flatpack than us?
Charlie knows that we love it so much, doesn't she?
-She knows us too well.
Doesn't actually matter which way up.
Do you want the door opening inwards, yeah, or outwards?
It's going to be tricky.
Always have flat ground when you're doing it.
-Shall we just get this one in first?
-Hold it up?
So you need the biggest screws, mate.
-Yeah, very happy.
Clearly with the boys at the helm,
that playhouse isn't going to be built any time soon.
Meanwhile, in the back garden, Charlie wants to run her racetrack
idea by the client to see if she can get his buy-in.
Now, you'll probably remember on my design, there wasn't anything here.
-I didn't really know about this very artistic, wavy bed.
Now, maintenance wise, I can imagine
-it's a bit of a nightmare to keep it nice.
-It is, indeed, yes.
Yeah, and it doesn't really go with my contemporary, sort of, linear,
So what I'm hoping is that we can take that off as a straight border.
-Plant it up nicely with some really, sort of, basic
easy to maintain shrubs that have got a lot of colour.
But I thought it might be fun to put, like,
-a pedal car track running through.
-Oh, wow. Yeah.
Yeah? So Alex could be on-road on the patio, then he could
off-road through here. And then I'm thinking that we'll swing it round.
We're going to put something here to stop him being able to go totally
down there. Then it'll swing round and come back onto the grass.
-Yeah, that sounds absolutely amazing.
It's a big thumbs up for the track idea.
That'll be another job for Harry and David to get their teeth into.
Should they ever finish the playhouse, that is.
"Then using four screws Q...
"..attach part G to the sides of part A."
Let's have a "part A" later.
-I think Alex is going to love this.
I remember when Dad built us a little den made out of pallets
-amongst the conifer trees.
-Yeah. That was awesome, wasn't it?
-I'm pretty sure that had carpet in it, as well.
-It was our own little getaway, wasn't it?
I'm getting too old for this.
Just add a little bit of height.
Take pride in your work.
Just screw it anywhere.
Are you ready?
With the final screws going in to the playhouse,
it's looking fabulous. But the brothers haven't
finished with the fun yet.
There's plenty more to be done in the back garden to make this
the perfect area to entertain little Alex.
Having put Alex's part of the garden squarely in the boys' hands,
Charlie can now get on
with marking out where all the planting beds will go.
This garden is a bit of a nightmare
because it's definitely not square or rectangular.
It's a really odd shape.
So, to try and create a formal, contemporary feel,
I've had to decide to just work off of the main views,
which are out of the patio doors and the kitchen window.
And then work this way to get nice, rectangular, square beds.
And then all the other beds are going to be off
at slightly different angles.
But hopefully, once it's planted up,
you won't notice that it's all a bit squiffy.
It's a technical word, squiffy.
At the back, David has moved onto the steps
that Charlie wants inlaid into the gradient.
Charlie wants that really organic, kind of higgledy-piggledy feeling,
so we've got them different lengths, different heights.
We're just going to scatter them up so Alex can run around
and have a little bit of fun with his little legs.
Each sleeper is laid and levelled and then fixed securely in place
with a couple of pegs.
And then we're going to screw them in from the back.
So you won't see them, it'll be really seamless,
but it'll be really sturdy.
Where is this one going, Dave?
-Yes. Yeah, just about that angle there.
The steps obviously make a slope much more functional.
But they do something to the mind, as well,
they, kind of, make it more accessible.
So when you have a slope, it looks quite daunting,
especially from the bottom, so what the steps do is
they break that up and they create that journey.
Elsewhere in the garden, progress is swift and the landscapers begin
bringing in the plants so Charlie can start placing them
and really see how the garden is going to take shape.
She's kicking off the planting with a fig to help add intimacy and
beauty to Andy and Fiona's new seating area.
When you're planting a fig...
to make it fruit well, what you want to do is restrict the roots.
And I'm going to do that by using
these leftover slabs from the old patio.
Now, you want them to be about an inch above the surface.
So that the roots don't hop over the top,
because they can do that.
So you want to contain them.
And then on the bottom we're going to break up these old bits.
If the roots were left unchecked,
the plant would produce masses of green foliage and not much fruit.
So I'm aiming for about four inches of rubble at the bottom of the hole.
Put a bit of soil at the bottom.
Charlie leaves the fig on its frame for now, but Fiona and Andy will
need to add some wire to the fence to support it as it grows.
By adding gorgeous statement plants like the fig,
Charlie is aiming to provide a beautiful space for Andy and Fiona
to relax in as well as a stimulating play area for Alex.
It needs to work for them all.
Family gardens are something that garden designer Dawn Isaac
specialises in creating.
So a family-friendly garden needs lots of different areas.
Things to keep the kids interested. So it should have somewhere for
them to sit and eat, but also for them to play.
Here it's a sunken trampoline to expend all that energy on.
But it could be anything else, it depends what space you've got.
Somewhere for them to get creative,
so it could be, like, a mud pie kitchen, and somewhere for them
to hide away from parents,
because however much we don't like to think about it
our children would be much happier sometimes to be out of our sight.
Sharing mealtimes is an important aspect of family life
that Dawn always tries to facilitate in the gardens she designs.
A room in the house that's always used for families is the kitchen.
So, in this garden we've taken the kitchen outside.
There is an outdoor space here where you can cook pizzas,
or have a barbecue, and all sit together as a family, because it's
one of those really important times
that you actually get to spend time together.
In designing this garden in Surrey,
Dawn has carefully concealed the play area.
What I've done in this garden is segregate it in that you can see
these beautiful, big borders. And it looks like a traditional, beautiful,
English country garden that any parents can be terribly proud of.
But actually, look closely, and all around the corners,
in lots of places, hidden away, are things that the children love.
So the children's play area in the corner you can barely see.
There's a beautiful, raised play platform,
and it's hidden within the apple tree. That makes it more interesting
for the children.
And there's even a little side path with an insect shelter
and stepping stones and a hammock to go and chill out
when you've just about had enough.
Back in Southampton, like Dawn, Charlie is keeping the
overall look of the garden very much in mind too.
She's moved on to planting the rest of the 99 plants she's sourced
to transform the family's flat and featureless garden.
Now, this raised bed is quite key to the garden.
It, sort of, divides the areas. So, you've got the patio area here,
and then the lower patio.
So it sort of leads you down that way as well as screening this patio.
Now, this is an evergreen shrub - Daphne odora Aureomarginata.
So, it's got a little yellow edge to the leaf.
Evergreen has whitey-pink flowers
that have got the sweetest scent to them,
so it'll be great in this patio area.
And also, if they've got the kitchen doors open, it'll just drift in
while they're cooking.
Charlie fills in around the evergreens
with some purple heucheras
and some catmint with stunning contrasting silvery foliage.
And then I'm going to run some little violas all the way through.
With the steps now finished, the boys move on to creating Charlie's
vision of a racetrack for Alex on the left-hand side of the garden.
And the first task is to get the big plants in.
-That's not as heavy as I thought.
-No, it's not. Where's it going?
-So this is going to be the start of your racetrack, isn't it?
-Shall I go that way?
-Yes, let's go the most complicated way.
-On the corner. There.
-Check that out.
-Look at that.
-That'll be quite exciting, you know?
So, if you mark out the track, bearing in mind I do want to work
-Do you know what plants do you want to weave in?
Depends what gaps you leave me.
All right, so it's determined by us, then.
The boys mark the racetrack out in sand before cutting the turf.
-What do you think about that so far?
-Yeah, mate, lovely.
It's going to be a super nice little serpentine path through, isn't it?
Whip around past the miscanthus.
Then at the end, a nice, sharp corner around...
-Little bit of a hairpin?
-A challenging hairpin at the end.
It's always a good idea when marking out paths or new borders
to do this...
..to make sure you're happy with the shape before committing.
-Look at that!
-It's nice, isn't it?
-Awesome. Just needs repurposed now.
Even if it's raining, you can just practice the handbrake turns.
-Cool, right, let's get digging it out, shall we?
The Rich brothers are giving Alex's racetrack a surface of bound gravel,
but need to prepare the area first.
Just digging down now to create the racetrack.
And we want it to be a nice, firm base so he doesn't sink in.
We don't even mind these few little bumps, because that's more fun.
And there's only one way to check
that they've got the width of the track just right.
Because he's got little legs, hasn't he?
He's got quite little feet on the ends of those little legs as well.
Look at that, that's good width. Nice, not too sharp.
Charlie has chosen bound gravel
for both the racetrack and the new seating area.
Once shovelled into place, it needs a tamp down with a whacker plate
to compact it and give it a firm surface.
This finish is great for giving a more informal look.
And it also is cost-effective at £10 per metre squared.
While Andy's on the whacker plate,
Harry and David quickly finish off the steps.
There we are, I think the steps look pretty epic, don't they?
Yeah, I quite like the way they're quite disjointed.
Yes, and a nice level change, I would say, for little Alex's legs.
Yes, nice and easy to walk up and down.
I'll have a little go, actually.
Perfect. Look at that. Good for small legs.
Meanwhile, Charlie's adding an extra pop of colour to her raised bed
in the form of winter bedding plants.
The great thing about bedding is if you're starting out in gardening
they're straightforward and easy, they're not too expensive,
so if you go slightly wrong and they do die
then you're not that worried.
But they're also very reliable. So, things like pansies and daisies,
wallflowers, and, of course, bulbs.
Bulbs have to be one of the most reliable plants to put in.
They'll give you big impact, lots of colour.
If you're not sure what to plant because of the time of year,
just go to the garden centre and I promise you,
they will have a selection of the appropriate bedding for you.
With the racetrack complete, Andy and Jason use rounded posts
driven into the ground
to form a barrier to stop Alex flying off down the slope.
The next part of Charlie's design for the play area
is a hazel tunnel for Alex to explore.
So it's not only a lovely tunnel for Alex,
but also it's a great climbing frame for fruit bushes.
The hazel sticks are tied together at the top,
like a wigwam, to make a sturdy structure.
But Charlie wants it to be lined with edible treats as well.
-What have you got me there, Dave?
-I've got me some good looking
tayberries. What have you got?
-I've got some thornless blackberries.
Where are you going to plant them?
One over here and one over there, between the gaps.
These guys are going to need some support when growing.
They can grow up to eight to ten feet tall, so that's where these
come in as really important.
And over time, they'll, kind of, weave their way
through this kind of wigwam. And create a lovely little
foraging tunnel for Alex when he travels through.
Autumn's a great time to plant your trees and fruit shrubs
because they're not putting as much energy into their growing,
but they're putting it into their root systems.
So this is really going to establish them really nicely for spring.
And also, when the soil's warmer and moist like it is now,
it's perfect growing conditions for them.
The team are on the home straight now, but there's a big piece of
Charlie's design that's missing, the playhouse.
And there's only one way to get it in the garden.
-Oh! Watch the tree.
-Would it have been a better idea to actually build it in here?
-I don't know.
-What do you mean, you don't know?
The fun of getting it in definitely outweighed building it here.
-Yes, it was way more fun.
-Was it? I think it should be on a,
-On an angle.
And if we can go back a little bit, just about that,
and then we need to level it up a bit.
Come on, everybody out, back to work, we've got garden to finish.
Slide's got to go in.
Planting's got to be done.
Yeah, I know who that probably was due to.
With the boss cracking the whip,
it's all hands on deck to get the garden finished.
Time for Alex's brand-new slide to be anchored in place.
But it will need a test run.
Is it fun?
That's cleaned it off.
-Doing it again!
And Charlie leaves the chaps to landscape around the slide
with sensory plants, chosen for their touchy-feelyness
to really add to Alex's enjoyment of the play area.
We're planting beds on a slope, so these plants
really help to stabilise it. And, again, being on a slope, you've got
two different aspects to this bed. So, from up there and down there
they'll both look really different.
Over the other side of the garden,
Charlie's going for a different effect with the planting.
I feel like I'm in the jungle down here. It's great.
Which is exactly the feeling I want Alex to get
as he's pedalling along through his racetrack.
I'm planting miscanthus.
I love miscanthus,
they add height to the garden without blocking out views.
And come late summer, early autumn,
they've got gorgeous seed heads that just sort of glint in the light.
With the last plants going in...
Move it, move it, move it.
..Andy and Fiona's furniture dusted off and placed in its new setting,
it's mission accomplished for the Garden Rescue team.
Before they called Charlie and the boys,
Andy and Fiona's garden was an empty, dull, and hazardous plot,
unsuitable for Alex to play in and uninviting for Mum and Dad.
Now it's had a £5,000 makeover and Charlie has spent every penny
on creating a safe, fun area for Alex
and a relaxing space for Andy and Fiona.
A garden they can all truly enjoy.
Charlie spent £350 on replacing the patio
with a sleek, new, concrete surface.
It's contemporary and laid on in a firm base to eliminate trip hazards.
She replaced the steep, dangerous steps out of the house
with shallower versions made from sleepers.
They're much more suitable for Alex's little legs
and make the garden more accessible for all.
And came in at a cost of £550.
The digger made short work of reshaping the dreaded slope
and creating, in its place, a usable seating area.
It has transformed the no-man's-land at the end of the garden
and was a snip at £175.
The planting brings this garden to life
and Charlie pushed the boat out and spent £2,200 on mature plants
to add instant structure and provide colour even in the darkest months.
And last but not least, Alex's playhouse, slide, and racecourse
will keep him safely entertained for hours in the garden
and collectively cost £375.
Fiona and Andy desperately wanted a space they could all use and enjoy
and were prepared to spend a whopping £5,000 of their own money
to make it happen.
It's time to find out if Charlie has delivered.
OK, you can open your eyes.
That is amazing.
-Look at that, absolutely loving it.
This border here is going to be a lovely, scented border,
full of purples and pinks and lots of bulbs that will come up.
Then this border here will grow up and screen the fence.
-The colour of the plants is amazing.
And this is, as we said,
-it was going to be a garden of two halves.
So this is really your half.
-This is your evening patio area.
Again, we've got lots of fruit trees and scented plants.
So, this fig tree is going to cover the whole of that fence.
Then these are evergreen jasmines, so lots of scent, and then
that's your vegetable area.
Down we go.
But it also makes, like, a nice walkway through to Alex's bit.
Do you want to go and check that out?
-Do you want to go inside?
-Do you want to go inside?
I think they're super pleased with the effect.
Before it was just a ditch, wasn't it?
I think now it's got real meaning.
Well, he seems to be enjoying that.
So, we've got rid of the ditch.
-We've got rid of the ditch.
It is. This is amazing, this part of the garden, I could
never imagine wanting to be in it. And now, you know, this area,
particularly for Alex, is just... He won't be out of it.
-So, it's just brilliant.
-Are you going?
-That was fun.
He definitely fits easier than you did, Dave.
-You want to go again?
-He'll now want to go round again.
-You want to go round again?
-Yeah. Guess how Mum and Dad
are going to be spending their evenings.
It won't be sat over there.
-Wow, look at you.
-Look at that.
Andy was a bit like that.
That's good, isn't it?
So, you should, by rights, be able to push him around the track.
You hold on.
Here we come.
Look at that, good father-son bonding, pushing him on the car.
And we've put the posts in, so once he's under his own power
he can't go hurtling off the bank, so they're quite robust.
-Wowee! Look at that.
-Was that fun?
And then you've got your final patio area.
And I'm hoping that these steps make it usable for you.
Yeah, they definitely do. You can easily wander in and out safely.
That way looks like our house,
but this way does not look like our garden.
It's just transformed our garden unbelievably.
I can't thank you enough.
Hopefully, so you'll be able to use it more, because you said you
-weren't using it at all.
-No, well, now, looking at Alex, we won't be
able to go back in the house.
£5,000 was a serious investment to make in their garden.
Do Andy and Fiona think it was money well spent?
We could never have come up with anything like this ourselves.
It's more than we could have possibly dreamt up
with any budget. So, 100%, it was definitely money well spent.
I have to say, I don't think
we could have crammed much more in, really.
No, it's really well-balanced, isn't it?
For me, I could never have imagined the race track and the car.
'Alex's reaction was even better
'than I could possibly have hoped for. So, I'm sure I'm going to go'
round there with him a lot of times.
Charlie Dimmock and the Rich brothers compete to design a £5,000 family garden in Southampton. The plot is unsafe for toddler Alex and uninviting for mum and dad, so the designers need to create something to suit them all.