Southampton Garden Rescue


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With her can-do attitude, love of simple gardens and decades of

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experience, 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

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that change people's perceptions of gardens.

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

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-Wow.

-Good turn.

-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?!

-Not a lot!

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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!

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..and budget.

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That sounds amazing.

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Doesn't look like it could be our garden.

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The winner...

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CHEERING

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..brings their design to life.

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-Hold on, hold on!

-Sweet as a nut.

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And the loser has to help them build it.

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Keep working, keep working, boys!

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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! Some time 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?

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..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!

-Look at that!

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Wow! It's not our garden!

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It's time for Charlie and the Rich Brothers to get their teeth

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into today's challenge.

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This is Andy, Fiona and little Alex.

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-He's very bonny, isn't he?

-He's very young.

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And they want a very user-friendly garden

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that they can use as a family.

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I have is to say, I don't think I've seen a garden so devoid of plants.

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-It's literally nothing.

-Just lawn.

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That's it. Now, I don't mean to be rude, but

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it is quite boring.

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Andy, a naval architect, and Fiona, a civil servant,

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moved into their house four years ago

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and immediately got stuck into the garden.

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When we moved in, it was really, really overgrown. So, after a lot of

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clearing out, and a lot of weeding,

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we're now back to, well, it's nothing more than a blank canvas,

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so we really need to start from scratch.

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Since having a child, the couple have realised that

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their 13 by 30 metre plot is not only boring, it's dangerous, too.

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We have a little boy, a one-year-old, called Alex and

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currently the patio's all uneven and broken. The steps are too high.

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And the ditch at the bottom is just a big hazard for him.

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Unless it's heavily supervised with a lot of preparation,

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we don't go out there with him, which is a bit of a big shame.

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We don't use it at all. We've probably used it a handful of times

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since we moved in.

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So, really, having a safe place for him to play and burn off energy

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is essential.

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It's not all about Alex, though, is it?

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No, I think it's a balance, you know?

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He's fresh on the scene.

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So, I think, as a family now, we can split the garden into two,

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so we can have a, kind of, natural play area for Alex, but also have

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this lovely entertaining space.

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Not only is the space unsuitable for Alex,

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it's not really luring Andy and Fiona out of the house, either.

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Fiona is really, really into cooking,

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so we would love a garden space. Once Alex is in bed,

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we can have friends or family round for dinner.

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We can have people round to entertain.

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Drinks in the garden ourselves.

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So, to give Alex a safe area and have a space all to their own,

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what are Andy and Fiona prepared to spend?

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Our budget for the garden is £5,000.

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And we think it's a good investment for the future

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if we can get out and use the garden more.

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That's all right, isn't it? You can do a lot with that.

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It's quite a small garden, as well, so I think having a budget like that

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means we can really involve lots of different elements

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-within this space.

-Should get a real wow factor there somewhere.

-Yes.

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£5,000 is a lot for a garden this size,

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so our designers have no excuses.

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They'll need to come up with something

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that knocks this couple's socks off.

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So, to get under the skin of this particular challenge

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they're heading to the family's home in Southampton

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to see the garden for themselves.

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It's quite a nice-sized garden for a house of this size.

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-Yeah, it's great.

-That's a pretty strong boundary, isn't it?

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Yeah, it's a bit in-your-face.

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At the moment, it's all you see, isn't it?

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-There's nothing here except for one tree and one plant.

-Yeah, minimal.

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Minimal, yeah, but not the good minimal.

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No, and it's very neat.

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Well, neat is one word for this dull and empty plot,

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but it does have one feature,

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and it looks a lot worse in the flesh than it did in the pictures.

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I have to say, that is a really steep slope, isn't it?

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-Yeah.

-It didn't look that steep in the photos.

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No, it's going to be quite key how we actually deal with that,

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because I think it's a bit of a problem space at the moment.

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-Yeah, well, it's a nothing space, isn't it?

-Yeah.

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One quarter of the plot drops by nearly a metre.

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No wonder it's not entirely safe for little Alex.

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There's no reason to come into the garden,

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because there's nothing to look at.

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We get it - it's blank and featureless.

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So the boys head inside to see if they can pick up some clues

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about the couple's taste.

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But it's not going to be easy.

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It looks like baby Alex has taken over the house.

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Ah. What do you notice here?

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-Definitely a lot of toys.

-Yeah, a lot of toys, neat toys.

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They look very neat.

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But I think maybe what might be a nice thing is

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-to give them a little divide in the garden.

-Yeah.

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Give baby Alex his space, so he's not cluttering up,

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and give the parents their space.

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-They are plastic.

-So maybe a nice thing might be to introduce

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a bit more natural play.

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Maybe Charlie will have more success

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figuring out what this couple really want.

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Alex arrived at a time when

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time available to do the garden just plummeted.

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-OK. So that's why you've come to me and the boys?

-Yeah,

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we need some help. We need some serious help.

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Meanwhile, in the dining room,

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the boys have made an important discovery.

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-That's a big, old family.

-That is.

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Do you think it's going to be paramount to, kind of, accommodate

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all these when they're having a family gathering?

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Yes, some nice big spaces. By the look of the frames,

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-probably quite neat, as well.

-Yeah, very neat in here.

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Having now taken everything out, it's time to put something in,

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-and it's time to maintain it, rather than just...

-Oh, that's really nice

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to hear, because a lot of people go,

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"Yeah, I want the look, but I don't want the maintenance."

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But to say that you don't mind doing a bit and actually

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start getting involved,

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and you want Alex to get involved with that as well?

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-Yeah.

-Yeah, we'd love some area, or just little bits throughout,

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something he could do and play with

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and would really draw him into the garden as well.

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Even though this isn't a huge garden and the budget is decent,

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there's not a lot for our designers to go on, other than it being safe

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for Alex and a setting for Andy and Fiona to entertain their very

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large family and many friends,

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they've virtually been given free rein.

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It's going to be a challenge, so the trio waste no time and head straight

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to their drawing boards. Each of them will come up with a design that

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works within Andy and Fiona's budget.

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The couple will then have to choose a winning design

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and the loser will help the winner build the garden.

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Their £5,000 will be used to buy all the materials for their new garden

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as Charlie and the Rich Brothers,

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along with a crack team of landscapers,

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will provide the labour.

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

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This is our design.

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The boys have seen that Andy and Fiona love family gatherings,

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so will that be the dominant theme in their design?

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Whilst Charlie has learned that Andy and Fiona aren't afraid

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to get their hands dirty once the garden is in.

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Wow.

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But there's some practical issues to address first,

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and Charlie's had a radical idea.

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I'm hoping to change your mind about the ditch,

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because it is actually quite nice to have level changes.

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So, coming out from your kitchen, we have steps out, and you're

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going to have a view going down to the sunny part, which is going to be

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your entertainment area. So we go down, and we're going to

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terrace this and make this into a patio area

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with big, shallow steps going down.

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They're not actually steps, they're going to be, like,

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platforms down into that area.

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So that'll be like a sunken garden, and I'm going to use plants

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that are going to give you colour all year round.

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Sounds good.

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So, rather than use up the budget building up the slope,

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Charlie's suggesting a lower tier with two different areas.

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And the boys are thinking along similar lines.

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So, we've taken inspiration from your kitchen.

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It's very modern, very minimal.

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So we want to create the same kind of feeling out here.

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So it'll be a very modern slab.

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And that would run down to the bottom.

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And also, we've put in a kind of, tiled wall as well,

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so that doubles up as seating. If you have friends and family over,

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then this space becomes a lot more usable.

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It looks really good.

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But what have they got in mind to entertain baby Alex?

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Then this side of the garden,

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you know, Alex needs that space to run around, play football,

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sit in his little pedal car, hurtle around, this is his area down here.

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So we have a slide going down the slope.

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We're going to cut that back a little bit to give him a bigger area

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and put play bark down there...

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with a nice playhouse.

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So, from the dining room, you won't really see that play area.

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A stroke of genius from Charlie.

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Playhouses aren't the prettiest of features,

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so by putting Alex's on the lower level

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it won't dominate the garden

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and will be almost invisible from the house.

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How will the boys respond?

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On the left-hand side we've got these lovely rolling hills

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that Alex can enjoy now. When he gets a bit older, they become this

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really fun space to play that's nice and safe.

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Then on the other side, we've got these steps running down into this,

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-more, kind of, adult space.

-So, this is kind of his space

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that he could venture around, run around.

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And there was a little slide that we dig into the bank.

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Great minds think alike.

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The boys have also included a slide for Alex

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that makes use of the level change.

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But whilst Charlie is planning to terrace the slope,

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they're suggesting contouring the lawn so the lower level

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links naturally with the upper tier.

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-Thank you very much.

-Thanks.

-Cheers, guys.

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It's going to be the details that decide this one.

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And Andy and Fiona are giving nothing away.

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I really like the modern look and how this, kind of, brings the patio

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-closer together.

-The only downside I can see is that I don't know,

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with the slope, about keeping on top of the garden.

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It might be more of a challenge.

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I don't know about you, Charlie, but we found it quite hard to read them.

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-Yes.

-So we don't quite know how it went.

-No facial expression at all.

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-I'm taking that as a good sign.

-Yeah?

-I feel like we're going to

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-win, but I mean, what did you take from it?

-I took it as a bad sign.

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I just don't know quite how those steps will work out.

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They're quite short and small, where these steps are really long,

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and really ease down into the bank.

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-Yeah, you have a lot more graduation there.

-You do.

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There's so much going on in this design.

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They can only choose one, so who will it be?

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Will they be won over by Charlie's year-round planting

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and safe, shallow steps,

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or the boys' contemporary patio and naturalistic play area?

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It's decision time.

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Here we go.

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-So, we made a decision.

-All right.

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It was a lot tougher than we thought it was going to be.

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We can say that you were both very difficult to read,

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none of us had any idea.

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We eventually got to a decision. We've gone with...

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The design we've chosen.

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Oh, I've got one. Yay!

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I want to make the playhouse.

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So, Charlie takes this one, but she'll certainly need the boys' help

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if she's going to transform this joyless plot

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into a garden to entertain the whole family.

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Early morning in Southampton,

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and while Charlie is away fine tuning her design,

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Paul the project manager,

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with landscapers Andy, Jason, and Malcolm,

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begin the garden built with gusto.

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First job is to dismantle the steep steps from the house to the garden.

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Charlie's design includes new child-friendlier steps

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with shorter rises.

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-One step.

-Is it the right way up?

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They're using railway sleepers to build the new steps.

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Oh! Look at that.

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They're pre-cut to size, and at £25 per sleeper

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are a cheaper and quicker option for building steps than other materials.

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And once they're in, Andy can use them as the fixed point to position

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and build Charlie's central raised bed.

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Out front, the digger's arrived.

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It'll save the chaps some backbreaking work

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when it comes to tackling the ditch at the end of the garden.

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Andy, Andy, straighten up a bit, mate, straighten up.

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That's it.

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Lovely.

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Andy and Fiona's garden features a 1:2 slope,

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so there's a fair bit of excavating to do.

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But this slope is nothing compared to what

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other gardeners have had to cope with.

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Kate Gartner inherited an extreme gradient

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outside her back door in Bedfordshire,

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but was determined to turn it to her advantage.

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Before we designed the garden,

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it was a single slope with a holly hedge

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around the outside, lots of brambles, lots of weeds,

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unloved for about 30 years, and it didn't really look very promising.

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They started out by creating a seating area outside the house.

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I would say over the course of the development of the garden,

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we've probably moved something like 60 or 80 tonnes of soil

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to actually create spaces.

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We've built retaining walls. We've put steps in.

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By terracing the slope, Kate and her husband have made different

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spaces on every level, each with a unique feel and atmosphere.

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We talk about rooms, we have lots of different areas within the garden,

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so, as you go through the garden, you're almost on a journey.

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You can't ever quite see the whole garden,

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but when you get to the top you can look down on it.

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Not only did they use landscaping to tackle the slope,

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they employed nature to help them, as well.

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Because our soil is very sandy, to stop the garden sliding

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we've used things like geraniums and fuchsias to actually create

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an anchor, and then other key plants planted into it

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to create some of the structure.

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Some of the practicalities of gardening on a slope make it

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challenging. So, for instance, you need to think about how you're going

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to access through the plants.

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We've got stepping stones on the bank to stand on.

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Try and plant close together, so we don't have too much weeding to do.

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So, it may only be a couple of times a year

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where I need access the bank itself

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to do essential maintenance and pruning. The rest of the time,

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we get to sit and enjoy the garden.

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Back in Southampton, they're a long way from conquering this slope.

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So Charlie, the boss, has arrived to get things moving.

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She's placed Alex's play area in the former ditch,

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so a child-friendly entrance and exit to that area are all-important.

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Always start at the lowest level, which is here, and then go up.

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So we're going to be putting steps in up here.

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And we're just using sleepers.

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These are softwood, but tanalised,

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you're going to get about 15, 20 years out of them, quite happily.

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So, that would give us our first step.

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And I don't want it too uniform, because this is a play area,

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so, I'm staggering it and also bringing them in and out.

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Nice, even steps, quite shallow,

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so Alex can get up and down easily.

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Then, we're going to go up one step into the vegetable patch,

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which will be a tunnel. So, this is one level.

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Then we'll step up again into this level,

0:17:570:18:01

which will be Mum and Dad's chill-out patio area.

0:18:010:18:05

And then one more step and we're at the top of the garden.

0:18:050:18:09

So there's no dreaded ditch any more, it's all nice, even steps

0:18:090:18:14

that everybody can cope with.

0:18:140:18:16

With the team hard at work making the ditch into a usable space,

0:18:190:18:23

more help arrives in the form of Harry and David. And Charlie

0:18:230:18:26

doesn't hesitate in putting them straight to work.

0:18:260:18:30

This here garden...

0:18:300:18:32

So it's a garden of two halves, and we're not talking football, boys,

0:18:320:18:35

not the football, no. We've basically got Alex's area.

0:18:350:18:39

So, children's fun play area

0:18:390:18:42

and then adult area for Mum and Dad

0:18:420:18:44

to chill out while watching Alex play.

0:18:440:18:47

-Yeah.

-Now, I do have a little bit of an issue. Well, a bit of fun

0:18:470:18:51

for you, really. This area we've got here, because we got that lovely

0:18:510:18:55

-crab apple at the bottom.

-Yeah?

0:18:550:18:57

I'm thinking that we run a flower bed down here

0:18:570:19:01

-to cover up the wall.

-The wall, yeah? Nice.

0:19:010:19:05

You know, nice, big...

0:19:050:19:07

But what about running a race track down through it?

0:19:070:19:10

-A race track?

-What, through the plants?

-Through the plants, yeah.

0:19:100:19:14

-What do you think? No?

-That's fine, it's normal.

0:19:140:19:17

In a pedal car. I thought he could weave around, and go round the tree,

0:19:170:19:21

back on, so then he's got a complete circuit he can do in the garden.

0:19:210:19:25

-Let's push for it.

-I'll ask him. I'll ask him, see what he says.

0:19:250:19:28

-That's good.

-You know, as you boys are so young,

0:19:280:19:32

and boys and toys, I think you can do the racetrack,

0:19:320:19:36

-the slide, the playhouse, the tunnel, yeah?

-Done.

0:19:360:19:40

It's full day, isn't it?

0:19:400:19:41

It is going to be lots of fun but lots of work.

0:19:410:19:44

But there's an awful lot of work to be done

0:19:460:19:48

before the fun can start, boys.

0:19:480:19:50

First, there's the little job of building Alex's new playhouse.

0:19:500:19:54

-Close that, mate.

-There is a bit of a draught out today.

0:19:540:19:58

Charlie's got us building Alex's playhouse.

0:19:580:20:01

It's very much a family garden,

0:20:010:20:03

so Andy and Fiona have their space, and then Alex has his space,

0:20:030:20:06

-his little clubhouse.

-Very important.

-Very important.

0:20:060:20:09

And who better to do flatpack than us?

0:20:090:20:12

Charlie knows that we love it so much, doesn't she?

0:20:120:20:15

-She knows us too well.

-What now?

-Instructions.

0:20:150:20:18

They both...

0:20:210:20:22

Doesn't actually matter which way up.

0:20:220:20:24

Do you want the door opening inwards, yeah, or outwards?

0:20:240:20:27

Outwards.

0:20:270:20:28

It's going to be tricky.

0:20:280:20:29

Always have flat ground when you're doing it.

0:20:290:20:31

-Shall we just get this one in first?

-Hold it up?

0:20:310:20:33

So you need the biggest screws, mate.

0:20:330:20:36

-Four?

-Three.

-Three.

0:20:360:20:40

-Happy?

-Yeah, very happy.

0:20:420:20:45

Clearly with the boys at the helm,

0:20:450:20:46

that playhouse isn't going to be built any time soon.

0:20:460:20:50

Meanwhile, in the back garden, Charlie wants to run her racetrack

0:20:500:20:55

idea by the client to see if she can get his buy-in.

0:20:550:20:59

Now, you'll probably remember on my design, there wasn't anything here.

0:20:590:21:04

-Right, yeah.

-I didn't really know about this very artistic, wavy bed.

0:21:040:21:09

Now, maintenance wise, I can imagine

0:21:090:21:11

-it's a bit of a nightmare to keep it nice.

-It is, indeed, yes.

0:21:110:21:14

Yeah, and it doesn't really go with my contemporary, sort of, linear,

0:21:140:21:18

rectangular design.

0:21:180:21:19

So what I'm hoping is that we can take that off as a straight border.

0:21:190:21:24

-Yes?

-Plant it up nicely with some really, sort of, basic

0:21:240:21:29

easy to maintain shrubs that have got a lot of colour.

0:21:290:21:31

But I thought it might be fun to put, like,

0:21:310:21:34

-a pedal car track running through.

-Oh, wow. Yeah.

0:21:340:21:37

Yeah? So Alex could be on-road on the patio, then he could

0:21:370:21:42

off-road through here. And then I'm thinking that we'll swing it round.

0:21:420:21:46

We're going to put something here to stop him being able to go totally

0:21:460:21:50

down there. Then it'll swing round and come back onto the grass.

0:21:500:21:54

-Fantastic.

-Yeah?

-Yeah, that sounds absolutely amazing.

0:21:540:21:57

It's a big thumbs up for the track idea.

0:21:570:22:00

That'll be another job for Harry and David to get their teeth into.

0:22:000:22:04

Should they ever finish the playhouse, that is.

0:22:040:22:07

"Then using four screws Q...

0:22:070:22:08

"..attach part G to the sides of part A."

0:22:090:22:13

Let's have a "part A" later.

0:22:150:22:16

-Nice?

-Perfect.

-I think Alex is going to love this.

0:22:220:22:25

I remember when Dad built us a little den made out of pallets

0:22:250:22:28

-amongst the conifer trees.

-Yeah. That was awesome, wasn't it?

0:22:280:22:30

-I'm pretty sure that had carpet in it, as well.

-It did.

0:22:300:22:32

-It was our own little getaway, wasn't it?

-It was.

0:22:320:22:34

I'm getting too old for this.

0:22:360:22:38

Just add a little bit of height.

0:22:380:22:40

Take pride in your work.

0:22:420:22:43

Just screw it anywhere.

0:22:430:22:45

Are you ready?

0:22:460:22:48

With the final screws going in to the playhouse,

0:22:480:22:50

it's looking fabulous. But the brothers haven't

0:22:500:22:53

finished with the fun yet.

0:22:530:22:54

There's plenty more to be done in the back garden to make this

0:22:540:22:57

the perfect area to entertain little Alex.

0:22:570:23:01

Having put Alex's part of the garden squarely in the boys' hands,

0:23:010:23:05

Charlie can now get on

0:23:050:23:06

with marking out where all the planting beds will go.

0:23:060:23:11

This garden is a bit of a nightmare

0:23:110:23:13

because it's definitely not square or rectangular.

0:23:130:23:17

It's a really odd shape.

0:23:170:23:18

So, to try and create a formal, contemporary feel,

0:23:180:23:22

I've had to decide to just work off of the main views,

0:23:220:23:25

which are out of the patio doors and the kitchen window.

0:23:250:23:29

And then work this way to get nice, rectangular, square beds.

0:23:290:23:34

And then all the other beds are going to be off

0:23:340:23:38

at slightly different angles.

0:23:380:23:40

But hopefully, once it's planted up,

0:23:400:23:42

you won't notice that it's all a bit squiffy.

0:23:420:23:45

It's a technical word, squiffy.

0:23:450:23:47

At the back, David has moved onto the steps

0:23:570:24:00

that Charlie wants inlaid into the gradient.

0:24:000:24:02

Charlie wants that really organic, kind of higgledy-piggledy feeling,

0:24:020:24:05

so we've got them different lengths, different heights.

0:24:050:24:08

We're just going to scatter them up so Alex can run around

0:24:080:24:10

and have a little bit of fun with his little legs.

0:24:100:24:12

Each sleeper is laid and levelled and then fixed securely in place

0:24:120:24:16

with a couple of pegs.

0:24:160:24:19

And then we're going to screw them in from the back.

0:24:190:24:21

So you won't see them, it'll be really seamless,

0:24:210:24:24

but it'll be really sturdy.

0:24:240:24:26

Where is this one going, Dave?

0:24:260:24:28

-Here?

-Yes. Yeah, just about that angle there.

0:24:280:24:32

The steps obviously make a slope much more functional.

0:24:320:24:34

But they do something to the mind, as well,

0:24:340:24:36

they, kind of, make it more accessible.

0:24:360:24:38

So when you have a slope, it looks quite daunting,

0:24:380:24:40

especially from the bottom, so what the steps do is

0:24:400:24:42

they break that up and they create that journey.

0:24:420:24:45

Elsewhere in the garden, progress is swift and the landscapers begin

0:24:500:24:54

bringing in the plants so Charlie can start placing them

0:24:540:24:57

and really see how the garden is going to take shape.

0:24:570:25:00

She's kicking off the planting with a fig to help add intimacy and

0:25:000:25:04

beauty to Andy and Fiona's new seating area.

0:25:040:25:06

When you're planting a fig...

0:25:100:25:12

to make it fruit well, what you want to do is restrict the roots.

0:25:120:25:19

And I'm going to do that by using

0:25:190:25:21

these leftover slabs from the old patio.

0:25:210:25:24

Now, you want them to be about an inch above the surface.

0:25:240:25:29

So that the roots don't hop over the top,

0:25:310:25:33

because they can do that.

0:25:330:25:34

So you want to contain them.

0:25:340:25:35

And then on the bottom we're going to break up these old bits.

0:25:350:25:40

If the roots were left unchecked,

0:25:400:25:42

the plant would produce masses of green foliage and not much fruit.

0:25:420:25:45

So I'm aiming for about four inches of rubble at the bottom of the hole.

0:25:480:25:51

Put a bit of soil at the bottom.

0:25:530:25:55

Charlie leaves the fig on its frame for now, but Fiona and Andy will

0:25:590:26:02

need to add some wire to the fence to support it as it grows.

0:26:020:26:06

By adding gorgeous statement plants like the fig,

0:26:080:26:12

Charlie is aiming to provide a beautiful space for Andy and Fiona

0:26:120:26:16

to relax in as well as a stimulating play area for Alex.

0:26:160:26:19

It needs to work for them all.

0:26:190:26:22

Family gardens are something that garden designer Dawn Isaac

0:26:270:26:30

specialises in creating.

0:26:300:26:32

So a family-friendly garden needs lots of different areas.

0:26:320:26:35

Things to keep the kids interested. So it should have somewhere for

0:26:350:26:38

them to sit and eat, but also for them to play.

0:26:380:26:40

Here it's a sunken trampoline to expend all that energy on.

0:26:400:26:44

But it could be anything else, it depends what space you've got.

0:26:440:26:46

Somewhere for them to get creative,

0:26:460:26:48

so it could be, like, a mud pie kitchen, and somewhere for them

0:26:480:26:51

to hide away from parents,

0:26:510:26:52

because however much we don't like to think about it

0:26:520:26:54

our children would be much happier sometimes to be out of our sight.

0:26:540:26:58

Sharing mealtimes is an important aspect of family life

0:26:580:27:02

that Dawn always tries to facilitate in the gardens she designs.

0:27:020:27:05

A room in the house that's always used for families is the kitchen.

0:27:060:27:09

So, in this garden we've taken the kitchen outside.

0:27:090:27:12

There is an outdoor space here where you can cook pizzas,

0:27:120:27:15

or have a barbecue, and all sit together as a family, because it's

0:27:150:27:18

one of those really important times

0:27:180:27:20

that you actually get to spend time together.

0:27:200:27:22

In designing this garden in Surrey,

0:27:250:27:27

Dawn has carefully concealed the play area.

0:27:270:27:29

What I've done in this garden is segregate it in that you can see

0:27:310:27:35

these beautiful, big borders. And it looks like a traditional, beautiful,

0:27:350:27:38

English country garden that any parents can be terribly proud of.

0:27:380:27:41

But actually, look closely, and all around the corners,

0:27:410:27:44

in lots of places, hidden away, are things that the children love.

0:27:440:27:47

So the children's play area in the corner you can barely see.

0:27:470:27:50

There's a beautiful, raised play platform,

0:27:500:27:54

and it's hidden within the apple tree. That makes it more interesting

0:27:540:27:57

for the children.

0:27:570:27:58

And there's even a little side path with an insect shelter

0:27:580:28:01

and stepping stones and a hammock to go and chill out

0:28:010:28:03

when you've just about had enough.

0:28:030:28:05

Back in Southampton, like Dawn, Charlie is keeping the

0:28:100:28:13

overall look of the garden very much in mind too.

0:28:130:28:17

She's moved on to planting the rest of the 99 plants she's sourced

0:28:170:28:21

to transform the family's flat and featureless garden.

0:28:210:28:26

Now, this raised bed is quite key to the garden.

0:28:260:28:29

It, sort of, divides the areas. So, you've got the patio area here,

0:28:290:28:34

and then the lower patio.

0:28:340:28:36

So it sort of leads you down that way as well as screening this patio.

0:28:360:28:40

Now, this is an evergreen shrub - Daphne odora Aureomarginata.

0:28:430:28:49

So, it's got a little yellow edge to the leaf.

0:28:490:28:53

Evergreen has whitey-pink flowers

0:28:530:28:55

that have got the sweetest scent to them,

0:28:550:28:58

so it'll be great in this patio area.

0:28:580:29:00

And also, if they've got the kitchen doors open, it'll just drift in

0:29:000:29:03

while they're cooking.

0:29:030:29:04

Charlie fills in around the evergreens

0:29:130:29:15

with some purple heucheras

0:29:150:29:17

and some catmint with stunning contrasting silvery foliage.

0:29:170:29:21

And then I'm going to run some little violas all the way through.

0:29:220:29:29

With the steps now finished, the boys move on to creating Charlie's

0:29:320:29:35

vision of a racetrack for Alex on the left-hand side of the garden.

0:29:350:29:40

And the first task is to get the big plants in.

0:29:400:29:43

-That's not as heavy as I thought.

-No, it's not. Where's it going?

0:29:430:29:47

-So this is going to be the start of your racetrack, isn't it?

-Nice.

0:29:470:29:50

-Shall I go that way?

-Yes, let's go the most complicated way.

-Let's go.

0:29:500:29:56

-So...

-Here somewhere?

-On the corner. There.

0:29:560:30:01

-Check that out.

-Look at that.

0:30:010:30:03

-Through here...

-That'll be quite exciting, you know?

0:30:030:30:07

So, if you mark out the track, bearing in mind I do want to work

0:30:070:30:12

-plants in.

-Do you know what plants do you want to weave in?

0:30:120:30:14

Depends what gaps you leave me.

0:30:140:30:16

All right, so it's determined by us, then.

0:30:160:30:18

The boys mark the racetrack out in sand before cutting the turf.

0:30:190:30:23

-What do you think about that so far?

-Yeah, mate, lovely.

0:30:250:30:27

It's going to be a super nice little serpentine path through, isn't it?

0:30:270:30:30

Whip around past the miscanthus.

0:30:300:30:32

Then at the end, a nice, sharp corner around...

0:30:320:30:35

-Little bit of a hairpin?

-Yeah.

-A challenging hairpin at the end.

0:30:350:30:38

It's always a good idea when marking out paths or new borders

0:30:380:30:41

to do this...

0:30:410:30:42

Nice.

0:30:420:30:44

..to make sure you're happy with the shape before committing.

0:30:440:30:47

-Look at that!

-Perfect.

-It's nice, isn't it?

0:30:470:30:50

-Awesome. Just needs repurposed now.

-It does.

0:30:500:30:54

Even if it's raining, you can just practice the handbrake turns.

0:30:540:30:57

-Cool, right, let's get digging it out, shall we?

-Yes.

0:30:570:31:00

The Rich brothers are giving Alex's racetrack a surface of bound gravel,

0:31:000:31:04

but need to prepare the area first.

0:31:040:31:06

Just digging down now to create the racetrack.

0:31:060:31:09

And we want it to be a nice, firm base so he doesn't sink in.

0:31:090:31:12

We don't even mind these few little bumps, because that's more fun.

0:31:120:31:16

And there's only one way to check

0:31:190:31:21

that they've got the width of the track just right.

0:31:210:31:25

Because he's got little legs, hasn't he?

0:31:250:31:27

He's got quite little feet on the ends of those little legs as well.

0:31:270:31:29

Look at that, that's good width. Nice, not too sharp.

0:31:290:31:33

Beautiful.

0:31:370:31:38

Charlie has chosen bound gravel

0:31:430:31:45

for both the racetrack and the new seating area.

0:31:450:31:48

Once shovelled into place, it needs a tamp down with a whacker plate

0:31:480:31:51

to compact it and give it a firm surface.

0:31:510:31:54

This finish is great for giving a more informal look.

0:31:570:32:00

And it also is cost-effective at £10 per metre squared.

0:32:000:32:03

While Andy's on the whacker plate,

0:32:060:32:07

Harry and David quickly finish off the steps.

0:32:070:32:10

There we are, I think the steps look pretty epic, don't they?

0:32:100:32:12

Yeah, I quite like the way they're quite disjointed.

0:32:120:32:15

Yes, and a nice level change, I would say, for little Alex's legs.

0:32:150:32:18

Yes, nice and easy to walk up and down.

0:32:180:32:20

I'll have a little go, actually.

0:32:200:32:22

Perfect. Look at that. Good for small legs.

0:32:230:32:26

Meanwhile, Charlie's adding an extra pop of colour to her raised bed

0:32:270:32:31

in the form of winter bedding plants.

0:32:310:32:34

The great thing about bedding is if you're starting out in gardening

0:32:340:32:39

they're straightforward and easy, they're not too expensive,

0:32:390:32:43

so if you go slightly wrong and they do die

0:32:430:32:45

then you're not that worried.

0:32:450:32:47

But they're also very reliable. So, things like pansies and daisies,

0:32:470:32:53

wallflowers, and, of course, bulbs.

0:32:530:32:55

Bulbs have to be one of the most reliable plants to put in.

0:32:550:33:00

They'll give you big impact, lots of colour.

0:33:000:33:04

If you're not sure what to plant because of the time of year,

0:33:040:33:08

just go to the garden centre and I promise you,

0:33:080:33:11

they will have a selection of the appropriate bedding for you.

0:33:110:33:15

With the racetrack complete, Andy and Jason use rounded posts

0:33:180:33:22

driven into the ground

0:33:220:33:24

to form a barrier to stop Alex flying off down the slope.

0:33:240:33:27

The next part of Charlie's design for the play area

0:33:290:33:31

is a hazel tunnel for Alex to explore.

0:33:310:33:34

So it's not only a lovely tunnel for Alex,

0:33:340:33:36

but also it's a great climbing frame for fruit bushes.

0:33:360:33:39

The hazel sticks are tied together at the top,

0:33:400:33:43

like a wigwam, to make a sturdy structure.

0:33:430:33:47

But Charlie wants it to be lined with edible treats as well.

0:33:470:33:50

-What have you got me there, Dave?

-I've got me some good looking

0:33:500:33:53

tayberries. What have you got?

0:33:530:33:55

-I've got some thornless blackberries.

-Nice.

-Loch Ness.

0:33:550:33:58

Where are you going to plant them?

0:33:580:34:00

One over here and one over there, between the gaps.

0:34:000:34:03

These guys are going to need some support when growing.

0:34:030:34:06

They can grow up to eight to ten feet tall, so that's where these

0:34:060:34:09

come in as really important.

0:34:090:34:10

And over time, they'll, kind of, weave their way

0:34:100:34:13

through this kind of wigwam. And create a lovely little

0:34:130:34:15

foraging tunnel for Alex when he travels through.

0:34:150:34:18

Autumn's a great time to plant your trees and fruit shrubs

0:34:180:34:21

because they're not putting as much energy into their growing,

0:34:210:34:23

but they're putting it into their root systems.

0:34:230:34:25

So this is really going to establish them really nicely for spring.

0:34:250:34:28

And also, when the soil's warmer and moist like it is now,

0:34:280:34:31

it's perfect growing conditions for them.

0:34:310:34:34

The team are on the home straight now, but there's a big piece of

0:34:340:34:38

Charlie's design that's missing, the playhouse.

0:34:380:34:42

And there's only one way to get it in the garden.

0:34:420:34:45

-LAUGHING:

-Oh! Watch the tree.

0:34:470:34:49

-Snug.

-Would it have been a better idea to actually build it in here?

0:34:540:34:58

-I don't know.

-What do you mean, you don't know?

0:34:580:35:01

The fun of getting it in definitely outweighed building it here.

0:35:010:35:04

-Yes, it was way more fun.

-Was it? I think it should be on a,

0:35:040:35:06

-don't you...

-Angle?

-On an angle.

0:35:060:35:08

And if we can go back a little bit, just about that,

0:35:080:35:12

and then we need to level it up a bit.

0:35:120:35:14

Come on, everybody out, back to work, we've got garden to finish.

0:35:140:35:17

Slide's got to go in.

0:35:170:35:19

Planting's got to be done.

0:35:190:35:22

CHARLIE LAUGHS

0:35:220:35:23

Yeah, I know who that probably was due to.

0:35:260:35:29

With the boss cracking the whip,

0:35:350:35:37

it's all hands on deck to get the garden finished.

0:35:370:35:40

Time for Alex's brand-new slide to be anchored in place.

0:35:410:35:44

But it will need a test run.

0:35:460:35:49

GROANING

0:35:490:35:51

CHARLIE LAUGHS

0:35:530:35:55

Is it fun?

0:35:570:35:58

That's cleaned it off.

0:36:000:36:03

-Doing it again!

-LAUGHTER

0:36:030:36:06

And Charlie leaves the chaps to landscape around the slide

0:36:060:36:09

with sensory plants, chosen for their touchy-feelyness

0:36:090:36:12

to really add to Alex's enjoyment of the play area.

0:36:120:36:15

We're planting beds on a slope, so these plants

0:36:190:36:21

really help to stabilise it. And, again, being on a slope, you've got

0:36:210:36:25

two different aspects to this bed. So, from up there and down there

0:36:250:36:28

they'll both look really different.

0:36:280:36:30

Over the other side of the garden,

0:36:340:36:36

Charlie's going for a different effect with the planting.

0:36:360:36:39

I feel like I'm in the jungle down here. It's great.

0:36:390:36:42

Which is exactly the feeling I want Alex to get

0:36:420:36:45

as he's pedalling along through his racetrack.

0:36:450:36:49

I'm planting miscanthus.

0:36:490:36:50

I love miscanthus,

0:36:500:36:51

they add height to the garden without blocking out views.

0:36:510:36:56

And come late summer, early autumn,

0:36:560:37:00

they've got gorgeous seed heads that just sort of glint in the light.

0:37:000:37:04

With the last plants going in...

0:37:100:37:11

Move it, move it, move it.

0:37:110:37:14

..Andy and Fiona's furniture dusted off and placed in its new setting,

0:37:140:37:18

it's mission accomplished for the Garden Rescue team.

0:37:180:37:21

Before they called Charlie and the boys,

0:37:270:37:29

Andy and Fiona's garden was an empty, dull, and hazardous plot,

0:37:290:37:33

unsuitable for Alex to play in and uninviting for Mum and Dad.

0:37:330:37:37

Now it's had a £5,000 makeover and Charlie has spent every penny

0:37:410:37:46

on creating a safe, fun area for Alex

0:37:460:37:49

and a relaxing space for Andy and Fiona.

0:37:490:37:52

A garden they can all truly enjoy.

0:37:520:37:54

Charlie spent £350 on replacing the patio

0:37:570:38:01

with a sleek, new, concrete surface.

0:38:010:38:04

It's contemporary and laid on in a firm base to eliminate trip hazards.

0:38:040:38:10

She replaced the steep, dangerous steps out of the house

0:38:100:38:13

with shallower versions made from sleepers.

0:38:130:38:15

They're much more suitable for Alex's little legs

0:38:150:38:18

and make the garden more accessible for all.

0:38:180:38:20

And came in at a cost of £550.

0:38:200:38:24

The digger made short work of reshaping the dreaded slope

0:38:270:38:30

and creating, in its place, a usable seating area.

0:38:300:38:33

It has transformed the no-man's-land at the end of the garden

0:38:330:38:37

and was a snip at £175.

0:38:370:38:39

The planting brings this garden to life

0:38:400:38:43

and Charlie pushed the boat out and spent £2,200 on mature plants

0:38:430:38:48

to add instant structure and provide colour even in the darkest months.

0:38:480:38:53

And last but not least, Alex's playhouse, slide, and racecourse

0:38:530:38:57

will keep him safely entertained for hours in the garden

0:38:570:39:00

and collectively cost £375.

0:39:000:39:03

Fiona and Andy desperately wanted a space they could all use and enjoy

0:39:050:39:09

and were prepared to spend a whopping £5,000 of their own money

0:39:090:39:13

to make it happen.

0:39:130:39:15

It's time to find out if Charlie has delivered.

0:39:170:39:20

OK, you can open your eyes.

0:39:200:39:21

-Wow.

-Wow.

0:39:220:39:24

That is amazing.

0:39:250:39:27

Alex, look.

0:39:270:39:29

-Look at that, absolutely loving it.

-Yeah.

0:39:290:39:32

This border here is going to be a lovely, scented border,

0:39:320:39:35

full of purples and pinks and lots of bulbs that will come up.

0:39:350:39:39

Then this border here will grow up and screen the fence.

0:39:390:39:44

-Oh, wonderful.

-The colour of the plants is amazing.

0:39:440:39:47

And this is, as we said,

0:39:470:39:48

-it was going to be a garden of two halves.

-Yes.

0:39:480:39:51

So this is really your half.

0:39:510:39:53

-This is your evening patio area.

-Oh, wonderful.

0:39:530:39:58

Again, we've got lots of fruit trees and scented plants.

0:39:580:40:02

So, this fig tree is going to cover the whole of that fence.

0:40:020:40:06

Then these are evergreen jasmines, so lots of scent, and then

0:40:060:40:10

that's your vegetable area.

0:40:100:40:12

Look!

0:40:130:40:14

Down we go.

0:40:160:40:17

But it also makes, like, a nice walkway through to Alex's bit.

0:40:170:40:22

Do you want to go and check that out?

0:40:220:40:25

-Do you want to go inside?

-Wow.

0:40:250:40:28

-Do you want to go inside?

-THEY LAUGH

0:40:280:40:30

I think they're super pleased with the effect.

0:40:300:40:32

Before it was just a ditch, wasn't it?

0:40:320:40:34

I think now it's got real meaning.

0:40:340:40:37

Well, he seems to be enjoying that.

0:40:370:40:40

So, we've got rid of the ditch.

0:40:400:40:41

-Yeah!

-We've got rid of the ditch.

-It's unbelievable.

0:40:410:40:44

It is. This is amazing, this part of the garden, I could

0:40:440:40:49

never imagine wanting to be in it. And now, you know, this area,

0:40:490:40:52

particularly for Alex, is just... He won't be out of it.

0:40:520:40:56

-So, it's just brilliant.

-Cool.

0:40:560:40:58

-Are you going?

-Yeah!

-THEY CHEER

0:41:010:41:05

-Good boy.

-That was fun.

0:41:050:41:07

He definitely fits easier than you did, Dave.

0:41:070:41:10

-You want to go again?

-He'll now want to go round again.

0:41:100:41:13

-You want to go round again?

-Yeah. Guess how Mum and Dad

0:41:130:41:16

are going to be spending their evenings.

0:41:160:41:18

It won't be sat over there.

0:41:180:41:20

-Wow, look at you.

-Look at that.

-Yeah!

0:41:220:41:25

Andy was a bit like that.

0:41:260:41:29

That's good, isn't it?

0:41:290:41:30

So, you should, by rights, be able to push him around the track.

0:41:300:41:34

You hold on.

0:41:340:41:35

Here we come.

0:41:370:41:38

Look at that, good father-son bonding, pushing him on the car.

0:41:400:41:44

And we've put the posts in, so once he's under his own power

0:41:440:41:47

he can't go hurtling off the bank, so they're quite robust.

0:41:470:41:51

-Wowee! Look at that.

-Hands-free.

0:41:510:41:54

-Yay!

-Was that fun?

0:41:540:41:57

And then you've got your final patio area.

0:41:580:42:02

And I'm hoping that these steps make it usable for you.

0:42:020:42:08

Yeah, they definitely do. You can easily wander in and out safely.

0:42:080:42:13

That way looks like our house,

0:42:130:42:15

but this way does not look like our garden.

0:42:150:42:17

It's just transformed our garden unbelievably.

0:42:170:42:20

I can't thank you enough.

0:42:200:42:21

Hopefully, so you'll be able to use it more, because you said you

0:42:210:42:24

-weren't using it at all.

-No, well, now, looking at Alex, we won't be

0:42:240:42:28

able to go back in the house.

0:42:280:42:30

£5,000 was a serious investment to make in their garden.

0:42:330:42:37

Do Andy and Fiona think it was money well spent?

0:42:370:42:40

We could never have come up with anything like this ourselves.

0:42:420:42:45

It's more than we could have possibly dreamt up

0:42:450:42:48

with any budget. So, 100%, it was definitely money well spent.

0:42:480:42:51

I have to say, I don't think

0:42:510:42:53

we could have crammed much more in, really.

0:42:530:42:55

No, it's really well-balanced, isn't it?

0:42:550:42:58

For me, I could never have imagined the race track and the car.

0:42:580:43:02

'Alex's reaction was even better

0:43:020:43:04

'than I could possibly have hoped for. So, I'm sure I'm going to go'

0:43:040:43:07

round there with him a lot of times.

0:43:070:43:09

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.


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