Northampton Garden Rescue


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With her can-do attitude, love of simple gardens

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and decades of experience,

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

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Looking good, boys.

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

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

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

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-Oh, wow.

-Oh, good turn.

-That's amazing, isn't it?

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

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

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

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

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Not a lot is going on, is there?

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-Not a lot.

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

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

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-You look confused.

-I am.

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-Go for it.

-..and budget.

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

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-The winner...

-Wow!

-Charlie's!

-Yeah, awesome!

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..brings their design to life...

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Hold on. Hold on.

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-Sweet as a nut.

-..and the loser has to help them build it.

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Keep working, keep working, 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. Sometime today would be good!

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..when different styles collide...

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

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Are we doing this?

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..to turning garden dreams into reality.

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-Oh, wow!

-Oh, my goodness!

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Wow!

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-Look at that.

-Oh, my God! Wow!

-Wow!

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It's time for Charlie and the Rich brothers to find out which garden

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they're going to compete over this time.

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We've heard from Sharon and she's in Northampton.

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Although it doesn't look it, she is turning 40.

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Ooh! So it's a big 4-0 job.

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Yes, exactly.

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Sharon, a cost controller for a car manufacturer,

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has lived at her home in Northampton for 12 years,

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during which time she's renovated the house.

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When I first moved in, it was pretty much a student digs,

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all my friends used to come around, and I had tenants as well that lived

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here for a while.

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As I reach my 40th year, I want to make sure that it feels like a home,

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rather than, I guess, a squatter's student house.

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Sharon doesn't just want the garden to be an adult space, however.

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There's another important person in her life - her goddaughter, Alex.

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And she'd like the garden to appeal to her, too.

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And do we have to consider the goddaughter as well?

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Yeah, that's quite key.

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Sharon said she wants the garden to have, kind of, two lives, really.

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One is to embrace the fact that her goddaughter can play safely,

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and kind of have fun, and the other is to have this adult

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entertainment space where she can have her friends around,

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have a few parties and just use it, really.

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My goddaughter's at an age where she can now play on her own,

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and I make sure she stays in the house at the moment.

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But hopefully once the garden has been done, it'll be a nice,

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safe place for her to play.

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And, in order to transform the unloved, neglected patch into both

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the grown-up and child friendly space she hankers after,

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Sharon is prepared to dig deep.

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The budget for this garden, I have £3,500.

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-Quite good, really.

-Yeah.

-It's not a huge garden.

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No, and it looks like there's a lot of really usable plants.

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-Yeah.

-Definitely.

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So, it's the terraced house.

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So, to get a better idea of the job, the designers head to Sharon's home

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in Northampton on a drizzly afternoon

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to see the garden for themselves.

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Well, it's nice that they've laid the rain on.

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-The red carpet for you.

-Oh, and the rain. Lovely.

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-That's not a bad patio, is it?

-Not too bad, is it?

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-That's a nice looking patio.

-Yeah.

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Just needs a bit of TLC, really, doesn't it?

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Yeah, quite like the way it drops down to different levels as well.

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-Yeah, nice elevation over the garden.

-Yeah.

-Mmm!

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Let's not miss out the old feature trees, look at them.

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-Yeah.

-That guy in the middle.

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-That magnolia... The neighbour's magnolia.

-That is incredible.

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Despite the few attractive plants and trees,

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the trio soon run out of inspiration in this garden.

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Well, yeah, it's a little bit without colour.

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-Yeah.

-I know it's, you know, early on, but, I mean, it's a bit bland.

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-Unless you like green.

-Yeah.

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-Yeah, green. Phormium, conifer, grass.

-Ivy.

-Ivy, that's about it.

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But that magnolia is going to look stunning when it's out.

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-That's... Yeah.

-Some great-looking trees there, aren't there?

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-Yeah.

-Really good.

-So, no inspiration here.

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-Yeah.

-I think you should go and get some ideas.

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I think that's a great idea, Charlie.

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-Mind you, perhaps I'll do that.

-No.

-No, not this time.

-No?

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No, no, no. You look good here, I think.

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Tell Sharon to come out with a brolly, please.

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So, Harry and David head inside to see if they can get a better idea of

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Sharon's likes and dislikes.

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This is cool.

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Good vibrancy in the colours of the cushions.

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It's nice, isn't it? Look at that colour, that's cool.

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That's a really cool colour, isn't it?

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I think you could definitely put that in some kind of structure or

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somewhere in the garden as, like, a bit of a feature.

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Yeah, a bit of punch. Well, that's what she wants, doesn't she?

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Vibrancy, the colour in the garden. I think that would be cool.

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I suppose the green as well, that's a lovely colour combination.

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-Lovely.

-Plants.

-That looks cool as well, I reckon.

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That's nice. Doesn't that work well?

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-Put that in the mix.

-Oh!

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-Easy.

-I like it.

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Meanwhile, Charlie's braving the elements and finding out why,

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after a decade in her house,

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Sharon's decided to improve the garden now.

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So, this year I turned 40.

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I know I don't look it, but, yes, I turned 40 this year.

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So, the idea is to have a party in the garden with all my friends come

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over and enjoy the, obviously, the outdoor space.

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OK. You feel like you're growing up now.

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-Yeah.

-You need a proper garden.

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Definitely. So, now I have reached this milestone age of 40

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I believe that I need to kind of be a little bit more adult-like,

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and have something to represent that, as well.

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So, yeah.

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Oh, that is tall, isn't it?

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-It makes you look small for some reason.

-It must be the plant.

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Yeah. You can imagine though, can't you, that kind of...

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If you want to introduce a bit more of a fantasy element...

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-Yeah.

-..for Alex, I think that would look really cool.

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Imagine as a kid, running through tall outside plants.

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Immersive. Surrounded by plants.

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-Yeah.

-Nice, well, there's lots of food for thought.

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Mmm!

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So, to sum up - big entertainment area for the 40th,

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because you're now a grown-up.

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-Exactly, yes.

-And then at the end of the garden,

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-an area for your goddaughter and other children to play...

-Yeah.

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..without it being, it's the play park's come to visit your garden.

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-Definitely, yes.

-I think we're all right with that.

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Fantastic.

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

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this is still a big challenge for our designers.

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There's lots to consider,

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so the trio waste no time and head straight to their drawing boards.

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Each of them will come up with a design that works within Sharon's budget.

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She'll then have to choose a winning design and the loser will help the

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winner build the garden.

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Her £3,500 will be used to buy all the materials for their new garden,

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because Charlie and the Rich brothers, along with a crack team of

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landscapers, will provide the labour.

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

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The boys have seen how important it is for Sharon to have colour in the garden.

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-Hello.

-Hello.

-Hey.

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Will they play it safe, or offer something a little bit more daring?

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OK, so...

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Whilst Charlie has learned about Sharon's desire to entertain in that

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space, can she offer something to make that possible?

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-Here we go, Sharon.

-Sell it to me, then, Charlie.

-Yeah? Right.

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-You look confused.

-I am.

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-Go for it, go for it.

-OK.

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So, these are your steps, your patio area.

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-Yeah.

-Got that lovely blank wall.

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I want to put three big impact plants there in big containers.

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Olives or maybe phormiums or bamboo,

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so that you have got a bit of a backdrop to your party patio.

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-Yeah.

-You then come down the steps onto this area, here,

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which is going to have a raised fire pit.

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-If you know what I mean?

-Yes, yes, yeah.

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So, it'll be, sort of, one up from your patio level.

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-Yeah, OK.

-Raised fire pit, there,

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then come down onto a bit more paving around it,

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so that if you do feel that you're not too much of a grown-up,

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and you want to get your bean bags out on the lawn, you can.

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And then we've got a water feature.

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A stainless steel one, so it'll be a gentle sound of water running.

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-Yeah.

-The only thing you need to do with that, maintenance wise,

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-is top it up.

-OK.

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So, that's the party area.

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Well, Charlie has addressed the entertainment area head-on and

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Sharon looks delighted, but the brothers are bound to have

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something up their sleeves, too.

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We thought it would be perfect to give you larger spaces for

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entertaining, for dining out, with a fire bowl.

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And also there is this area where Alex can imagine she's in a fantasy

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-wonderland.

-Perfect.

-So, at the front area, here,

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we've split it into these two, kind of, adult spaces.

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And as you come down the steps, we really wanted to have a bit of a

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wow factor and these rendered yellow walls are going to create a bit of a

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punch and give a bit of life to the garden.

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They also do another job and that is to separate these two spaces.

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So, you've got the dining table, you can have a barbecue,

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you can be eating out with friends.

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And then, by wandering around, down the board work,

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you can enter to this more of a kind of sit down,

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soft seating area with a fire bowl.

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It's nice to have that separation between the two rooms.

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Touche.

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The idea of two separate rooms seems to have struck a chord with Sharon.

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But can Charlie redress the balance with her ideas for the child-friendly space?

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Now, we then get into your goddaughter's zone.

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-Yeah, OK.

-So, we have a little archway with log stepping stones

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running through heavy planting and then onto these boardwalks

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-that are going to be one or two boards wide...

-Yeah.

-..that will be

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suspended over the planting and zigzag round

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-onto this structure, here...

-OK.

-..which I'm thinking is going to

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be a small deck, which could be a theatre.

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So, she can do a little performance for you.

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But then there will be steps up onto round the trunk a higher little

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deck where she could maybe sit and draw, a slide coming down or it

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could just be a tube coming down and just for a

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little bit of theatre, we've put a curtain up, that you can take down

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or we could use a shower curtain which should stay out over the summer.

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You don't always want to be taking it up and down.

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-And you can always use that area, as well.

-Definitely.

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Charlie has included a play area for Sharon's goddaughter in her design.

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But the brothers have taken a more naturalistic approach,

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creating an atmospheric enchanted space with plants.

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So, we're going to have things that are really tall and like spires,

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-like foxgloves.

-I think what we want to do, as well,

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is to introduce large leaf things, like gunnera,

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which is this lovely, kind of, huge architectural leaf.

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-OK.

-And eupatoriums, which are really tall and have this lovely

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flower which gives like, purple.

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So, I think the idea is to introduce a select variety of lovely

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architectural plants that are going to give that immersive feeling when

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you're in the garden. But they'll be, kind of, simple to look after,

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-so you're not going to be...

-That's good.

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What they do give you is this, kind of, blast of colour and a huge

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amount of form in the garden.

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And then also what we thought would be really nice is,

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to give the garden longevity, is to not make the child's play area

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too focused on looking like a child's play area.

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So, it's very adaptable.

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-OK, thank you.

-Thank you very much.

-Thank you, guys. Cheers.

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Both designs address Sharon's brief perfectly.

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-OK. I'll leave you to it.

-Thank you.

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So, it's going to be the details that decide this one.

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She can only choose one, so whose will it be?

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Will she be won over by Charlie's raised fire bowl,

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party patio and play area?

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Or the brothers' contemporary rendered wall and naturalistic wonderland?

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Hey, Charlie. How did it go?

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Yeah, all right.

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Did you go magical Hansel and Gretel?

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Ooh, in a way, maybe. More Alice in Wonderland, that was our angle.

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Oh, OK.

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They understood the fact that I wanted two zones.

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They split it up really well.

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I like the fact that they've chosen colours I like,

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they've made it low-maintenance.

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OK, well, I went more theatre, darling.

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So, stage, curtain, upstage, downstage, the lot.

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Charlie's ideas for the play zone were interesting, as well.

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In fact, I think Alex would really like it.

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So, you've got the area where, to get the child zone, Alex has to go

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through one way and the adults have to go another way as well.

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So, that's nice. And the theatre at the back,

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she loves playing and telling stories.

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Yeah, really, really a magical area for Alex to play in.

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It's decision time.

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This is going to be a difficult decision,

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but I'm going to try my best to choose the right one.

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-Keen, they're keen.

-Hello.

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Hey, guys. Hello.

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-OK.

-Last but not least, Charlie. There we are.

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It was an incredibly hard decision, but I've made my choice.

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And it's this one.

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Yeah!

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Awesome!

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-So, what made you choose our design?

-OK, so two main reasons.

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Firstly, I loved your extended area.

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So, I've got two main areas. One, obviously,

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to have the barbecue and for seating.

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And also I loved the fact that you've extended it to the child zone,

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-but it can grow with Alex.

-Yes.

-So, the fact that as she grows up,

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I can change it from a kind of child's area to somewhere where

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teenagers can play and, I guess, have bean bags and stuff.

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Yeah, it was a really hard choice.

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-Perfect.

-Awesome.

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So, the Rich brothers have won this one, but they'll certainly need

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Charlie's help if they're going to transform

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this joyless plot into a garden to entertain all ages.

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It's early morning in Northampton, and while the Rich brothers are

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sourcing materials for the garden project, manager Bowen...

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Simple, nice, smooth sandstone paving area here.

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..along with landscapers Lee, Andy and Steve are raring to go.

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Before they can start building Harry and David's design,

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there is a lot of clearing up to do.

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The old concrete path has got to go to make way for the Rich brothers'

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new boardwalk.

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And the old turf is making way for their Alice in Wonderland themed play area.

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Now Andy can start laying the base for Sharon's new entertaining space,

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recycling the old path as hard core for the new paving.

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That's saved us a bit of time, anyway, having to recycle this concrete.

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It has. There's a lot to get rid of on this one.

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Lee's job is to make a start on the new boardwalk that will replace

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the concrete path.

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Whilst I'm removing all this concrete path,

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I've cut slots out into it, 500mm intervals,

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so I can now place by joists into these, cement them all in,

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that will create a nice, firm structure.

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With the hard core in place,

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Andy can start laying the first of the two patios...

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..whilst Steve is cracking on with the rendered wall that will divide

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the entertaining space from Alex's play area and will eventually add

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vibrant yellow colour all year round.

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By the time the Rich brothers and their lackey, Charlie, are on their way,

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the garden is off to a flying start.

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One of the two patios is almost laid and the board walk is in place.

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So, how will the brothers divvy up what's left to do?

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Are you feeling lucky?

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-That sounds ominous.

-Jobs for today.

-Yeah.

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So, me and Harry are going to stick to, predominantly, the hard landscaping.

0:16:510:16:55

-Right.

-A bit of slabbing, a bit of rendering a wall to do.

0:16:550:16:57

-Oh, you're good at that, are you?

-We're going to find out.

0:16:570:17:00

-Oh, dear!

-And then you're going to be doing a bit of decorating.

0:17:010:17:04

So, a bit of painting and also adding a few really cool, kind of,

0:17:040:17:07

-fantasy objects to make it feel like Alice in Wonderland.

-OK. All right, then.

0:17:070:17:11

The garden is a hive of activity, but there's a long way to go.

0:17:140:17:17

Right, well, I'm going to crack on with some slabbing.

0:17:170:17:20

-Yes.

-Make sure the boys are doing some work.

0:17:200:17:22

While Charlie cuts the ivy away from the old apple tree,

0:17:220:17:26

David is going to finish the main patio area.

0:17:260:17:29

Within this garden, we've got two very distinctive slabbed areas.

0:17:290:17:33

The area I'm doing at the moment, that's more for Sharon,

0:17:330:17:35

so it's the adult seating area.

0:17:350:17:37

And it's very contemporary, very modern.

0:17:370:17:39

Fits in really nicely with the rest of the garden.

0:17:390:17:42

And the slabs we've chosen, we've chosen them for a few reasons.

0:17:420:17:45

One of them is to pick up on the existing colour of slabs, so that grey.

0:17:450:17:48

So, it unifies the whole garden.

0:17:480:17:50

The other reason is, it'll complement the wall really nicely.

0:17:500:17:53

It's got that, kind of, warm, burnt yellow colour.

0:17:530:17:55

They'll contrast and make a really good effect.

0:17:550:17:57

And also, they're lovely and sawn

0:17:570:18:00

so again, it just emphasises that really lovely contemporary feeling.

0:18:000:18:03

Turn them round. Oh!

0:18:070:18:09

Oh, I tell you what, they're pretty heavy.

0:18:140:18:17

Because they're quite nice sawn contemporary slabs,

0:18:170:18:20

what's really nice is, when you lay them, is to leave them without a mortar joint.

0:18:200:18:23

So it butts up the joints really nicely,

0:18:230:18:25

it's really neat and a really smart finish.

0:18:250:18:27

While David finishes the patio, Harry's at the other end of the

0:18:300:18:34

garden using the very same paving slabs to create a different effect -

0:18:340:18:38

the Alice in Wonderland-inspired checkerboard.

0:18:380:18:41

You can really change the character of the space just by using the slabs

0:18:410:18:46

in a different way.

0:18:460:18:47

Just by introducing a bit planting,

0:18:480:18:50

it's really going to soften the space and it's going to be quite un-defined.

0:18:500:18:53

Whereas Dave, up there, is really butting the slabs up together.

0:18:530:18:56

And it's nice. You're using the same material, but in a different way.

0:18:560:18:59

This space is just as decorative as it is usable.

0:18:590:19:02

And that means we can get away with just putting this mortar bed down on

0:19:020:19:05

compacted soil, but the key is to leave nice loose soil in between the

0:19:050:19:09

slabs, so it means when you come to planting, it makes it really easy.

0:19:090:19:12

What's so good about having this informal area, this patchwork of slabs,

0:19:150:19:19

is that if Sharon wants to adapt it over time,

0:19:190:19:21

then it's very easy to do so.

0:19:210:19:23

She can add more planting, she can add more slabs,

0:19:230:19:25

and she can create a very different use to this space.

0:19:250:19:28

Up near the house, expert carpenter, Lee, is really working his magic

0:19:300:19:34

with the wooden planters that complete the dividing of the adult

0:19:340:19:37

entertainment area.

0:19:370:19:39

Hey, Lee. How are you?

0:19:390:19:41

-I'm all right, you?

-Yeah, very good. This is looking pukka.

0:19:410:19:44

-Really, really good.

-Yeah, happy with it.

0:19:440:19:46

What's so nice about it, is actually the seamless

0:19:460:19:48

-finish on the front.

-Yeah, I've secret screwed it from the back.

0:19:480:19:51

I didn't want to see all the screw heads from the front.

0:19:510:19:54

-Yeah.

-I mean, it's such a nice wood, it would be a shame to spoil it.

0:19:540:19:57

Absolutely, yes. What Lee's saying is, obviously, what he's done is,

0:19:570:20:00

he's screwed from the inside.

0:20:000:20:01

So, that means you can't actually see any screw heads from the outside.

0:20:010:20:04

So, it gives that really gorgeous, seamless, quite modern look.

0:20:040:20:08

Originally, we were going to build this out of block and render,

0:20:080:20:10

but we have decided to go with larch timber.

0:20:100:20:12

There's a couple of reasons. It's going to match in with the walkway

0:20:120:20:15

really nicely, and also the natural preservatives, natural oils in here,

0:20:150:20:18

is really going to help it stand the test of time.

0:20:180:20:21

Help it grey and age. It'll be really nice.

0:20:210:20:24

In order to preserve that larch and prolong its life,

0:20:240:20:27

David is lining it with a waterproof membrane.

0:20:270:20:29

I'm just using roofing clouts for this.

0:20:290:20:32

That's because they've got quite a big head,

0:20:320:20:34

so that will really help prevent it from ripping.

0:20:340:20:36

And also they're galvanised, so it'll stop it from rusting as well.

0:20:360:20:39

Working hard or hardly working?

0:20:470:20:50

I think hardly working.

0:20:500:20:51

You're most probably right, there.

0:20:510:20:53

Charlie has an idea to run past David.

0:20:530:20:56

Now, this view down the garden...

0:20:560:20:58

-Yes.

-Apple tree, lovely.

0:20:580:21:00

Needs a little helping hand, I believe.

0:21:000:21:03

-This guy in the foreground?

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

0:21:030:21:05

Do you mind if I prune it a little bit?

0:21:050:21:08

Perfect. Yeah, lovely. You're so handy today, aren't you?

0:21:080:21:10

The boys don't want me to take too much of the tree down,

0:21:130:21:16

but this branch here is really going all the wrong way,

0:21:160:21:20

so I want to get a bit of a better shape to it.

0:21:200:21:22

So, I'm going to take this branch out.

0:21:220:21:25

First, Charlie shortens the offending branch to lighten the load.

0:21:250:21:28

Argh! It's a bigger branch than you think.

0:21:330:21:35

Then the rest needs cutting away with great care.

0:21:370:21:39

First off, you want to undercut.

0:21:410:21:43

So, there's the ridge.

0:21:430:21:44

I'm going to just cut in about a third of the way.

0:21:460:21:51

So, the angle of the blade is sort of on an angle.

0:21:530:21:57

So, rainwater will run off.

0:21:570:21:59

Now I'm going to cut above that, but because I'm left-handed,

0:21:590:22:03

I need to be on this side.

0:22:030:22:04

There we go. And then you're going to cut just above your undercut.

0:22:050:22:10

Just about there.

0:22:100:22:12

The same angle.

0:22:120:22:13

And by doing that, there's no chance that your bark will tear.

0:22:150:22:20

Now, I made a bit of a mistake there, didn't I?

0:22:210:22:23

The boys set me up with some nice,

0:22:230:22:24

light duties and then I suggested about pruning a tree.

0:22:240:22:29

Duh!

0:22:290:22:30

There you go.

0:22:320:22:33

Charlie's not the only one who's been taking a sword to wood.

0:22:350:22:39

Andy has been busy carving some magical mushroom seating for the

0:22:390:22:42

children's fantasy area, with a chainsaw.

0:22:420:22:45

Andy, these are incredible.

0:22:460:22:48

-They look pretty good, don't they?

-Yeah, I mean,

0:22:480:22:50

you really captured the essence of a wild mushroom.

0:22:500:22:53

-So, what...? What is it?

-It's a nice piece of Redwood.

0:22:530:22:55

-Yeah?

-Yeah.

-The colour is beautiful.

0:22:550:22:58

-You can kind of see the grain there as well, can't you?

-It's really nice.

0:22:580:23:01

It's the perfect piece of wood. That's the hardest bit.

0:23:010:23:04

Yeah, did you go out searching for it?

0:23:040:23:05

We just went to the local log pile and managed to buy some bits of wood.

0:23:050:23:10

And did it have that natural shape, as well?

0:23:100:23:12

No, no. It was just a straight cut off bit of wood.

0:23:120:23:15

I love this as well, the kind of nice little tapered edge.

0:23:160:23:18

Yeah. Cut in from the top, straight down.

0:23:180:23:21

-Yeah.

-Leave it all one piece.

-I know, cos it's pretty heavy.

0:23:210:23:23

Yeah, it's pretty heavy, but at least it'll stay together.

0:23:230:23:26

Yeah, I love it. And, you know, it's pretty tricky to do, isn't it?

0:23:260:23:28

-I don't think anyone could do this.

-Yeah, you need to be trained in chainsaw operation.

0:23:280:23:33

-Yeah. Yeah, so be safe.

-You need to be safe.

0:23:330:23:35

Get somebody who's a competent chainsaw operator.

0:23:350:23:37

Yeah. So, how many have I got, then?

0:23:370:23:39

-You have got four.

-Four?

-Yeah.

0:23:390:23:42

I'm not sure there's going to be much-room in the garden.

0:23:420:23:45

-Oh.

-It takes a while to grow on you, don't worry, Andy.

0:23:450:23:47

That's a bad joke. That's a bad joke.

0:23:470:23:49

A garden is an ideal place to great a stimulating space for children to play in.

0:23:550:24:00

Ivan Hicks has been designing wildly imaginative gardens for more than 30

0:24:010:24:05

years with a special affinity for children's gardens.

0:24:050:24:09

It makes a funny noise.

0:24:090:24:11

At Stratford Butterfly Farm in Stratford-upon-Avon,

0:24:120:24:16

young visitors are enthralled by the gorgeous and fascinating tropical

0:24:160:24:19

species fluttering around the butterfly enclosure.

0:24:190:24:22

But outside, Ivan was tasked with making the surrounding gardens

0:24:260:24:29

an equally enthralling place to explore...

0:24:290:24:32

..starting with a mirrored walkway.

0:24:330:24:35

Well, immediately, you hear excitement when they enter through

0:24:350:24:40

these great rings, which are lined with stainless steel.

0:24:400:24:43

Immediately, it's like being at the fairground.

0:24:430:24:45

They can see contortions.

0:24:450:24:46

And in the summer, you can see butterflies flying around them and

0:24:460:24:50

butterflies reflected in the stainless steel, as well.

0:24:500:24:52

I'm upside down!

0:24:520:24:53

The butterfly farm aims to introduce children to wildlife in a fun way.

0:24:550:24:58

They wanted a garden that would attract native butterflies,

0:25:000:25:04

but they wanted something that interests children on a wide scale.

0:25:040:25:07

So, they have this small wildlife pond, here,

0:25:070:25:10

which we've adapted for little people.

0:25:100:25:13

It's quite Hobbit-y in a way. It's a lot of fun, but it's meant to be.

0:25:130:25:17

It's meant to appeal to children.

0:25:170:25:19

But it's also home for all kinds of bugs and creatures to live in.

0:25:190:25:23

Kids have always been into magic and fantasy.

0:25:280:25:31

It's a bit like Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings.

0:25:310:25:34

They love all that sort of material.

0:25:340:25:37

So, this latches into that, and locks into those ideas, actually.

0:25:370:25:41

And it opens up the imagination.

0:25:410:25:43

You see them coming round here and they can see creatures and people

0:25:430:25:48

running about. I can't, but they can.

0:25:480:25:50

-There!

-There!

0:25:500:25:52

Ivan's fantastical additions look like they've always been there and

0:25:550:25:59

nothing is bought off the shelf.

0:25:590:26:01

What I love doing is just playing with what's available or found

0:26:010:26:05

materials. And in every garden you can generally find some house bricks

0:26:050:26:08

and pieces of wood.

0:26:080:26:10

And we've had a view glittery things, just because it throws light

0:26:100:26:14

about and adds a little bit of magic and mystery to it.

0:26:140:26:17

It's not expensive materials.

0:26:180:26:20

It's bits of nature and bits of discarded...

0:26:200:26:22

You're recycling, of course, in a way.

0:26:220:26:24

What I like to do is incorporate a sense of humour.

0:26:240:26:27

I've got a sense of humour myself,

0:26:270:26:29

but you can add it to the garden and that appeals to children and adults.

0:26:290:26:34

They can see that you're having a lot of fun.

0:26:340:26:37

But a few little things, like numbers on the doors and silver

0:26:370:26:41

balls and mirrors and things like that.

0:26:410:26:43

It does make it look as though someone is living there.

0:26:430:26:46

When it comes to gardens for children,

0:26:490:26:51

your only limitation is your own imagination.

0:26:510:26:54

In Sharon's garden, the hard landscaping is almost complete.

0:26:570:27:02

All the paving is laid in the adult area

0:27:020:27:04

and the rendered wall and raised beds are nearly finished.

0:27:040:27:07

The new boardwalk leads down to the bottom of the garden,

0:27:080:27:11

where the chessboard paving is there to be seen.

0:27:110:27:14

Charlie has found herself a quiet corner outside the garden,

0:27:150:27:18

where she is cooking up a magical messy project.

0:27:180:27:21

Some kokedama, a Japanese style of hanging planters.

0:27:230:27:27

I'm going to make some kokedamas, or "kookedamas," not quite sure how to say it.

0:27:290:27:34

But they're moth balls with a plant in it.

0:27:340:27:36

They're quite fun. Luckily, Sharon's soil has quite a lot of clay in it.

0:27:360:27:41

And then it's a case of mud pies.

0:27:410:27:44

It's a messy job, but somebody's got to do it.

0:27:440:27:47

Oh, lovely!

0:27:480:27:49

Very satisfying.

0:27:500:27:52

Get into a nice, sticky mass.

0:27:530:27:56

Make a nice ball.

0:27:570:27:59

See, I did say it was like mud pies.

0:28:020:28:04

Now I've got my plant soaking in a bucket of water.

0:28:050:28:08

So, I'm using a little variegated ivy.

0:28:080:28:10

And you then just break that in half, like that.

0:28:110:28:15

And you pop that in there, like so and you stick it back together.

0:28:150:28:20

And then it's a case of wrapping it in moss.

0:28:210:28:24

And the great thing about moss, especially sphagnum moss,

0:28:240:28:27

is it soaks up moisture.

0:28:270:28:29

So, if there's any rain, it soaks it up like a sponge.

0:28:290:28:32

So, it'll keep the ball of soil damp.

0:28:320:28:36

Find your bits of string...

0:28:360:28:37

..and tie them up really tight.

0:28:390:28:42

This is where you really need a helping hand for tying the knots.

0:28:430:28:48

But I think I can do it.

0:28:480:28:49

So, plant-wise, you can use all sorts of plants to go in kokedamas.

0:28:510:28:59

From house plants to ivys, bulbs,

0:28:590:29:03

snowdrops look really cute in them.

0:29:030:29:06

I've done some daffodils.

0:29:060:29:09

And some heucheras.

0:29:090:29:11

So, it's really up to you.

0:29:110:29:13

And we're going to hang them from the tree in the fantasy area at

0:29:130:29:19

different heights. So, it should look quite cute.

0:29:190:29:22

At the house end of the garden, Harry's ready to give the block work

0:29:240:29:28

walls their finishing coat of render,

0:29:280:29:30

which has had dye added to give it that yellow hue.

0:29:300:29:33

The scratch coat is dry, so I'm now just going to apply the top coat.

0:29:350:29:39

I haven't really done much rendering before,

0:29:390:29:41

but I know there's a bit of a knack.

0:29:410:29:43

So, I'm just going to start at the bottom with the trowel.

0:29:430:29:47

And I'm going to push down and pull up,

0:29:470:29:49

making sure that this top layer doesn't catch on the top bead.

0:29:490:29:53

Although a little roughness and irregularity can look fine in a

0:29:540:29:57

garden setting, Harry is going to give these ones a more refined finish.

0:29:570:30:03

So, at the moment, the wall looks a little bit rough.

0:30:030:30:05

But the next stage is to smooth that out.

0:30:050:30:08

It's really important to have a slight dome to the top of the wall.

0:30:080:30:10

And that allows the rain water to run off.

0:30:100:30:12

Now this is all done, the final stage is to buff it all up and I'm

0:30:120:30:16

going to use a bucket of water and a sponge.

0:30:160:30:18

Wait for it... It's dry now, so I'm just going to gently, small,

0:30:190:30:23

circular motions so that it all knits together really nicely.

0:30:230:30:27

You don't want the sponge to be really wet.

0:30:270:30:29

So, it's a good idea just to squeeze all that water out.

0:30:290:30:31

As you can see, you have...

0:30:330:30:34

Compared to the side of the wall when I first started,

0:30:340:30:37

this is lovely and smooth.

0:30:370:30:38

Everyone's putting their best foot forward,

0:30:460:30:48

but this garden's got a long way to go.

0:30:480:30:50

-How's it going, Harry?

-Yes, very pleased.

0:30:520:30:54

-Yeah?

-Yeah, it's good fun.

-It looks great from this side.

0:30:540:30:57

-I didn't do that side.

-Have you seen Charlie anywhere?

0:30:570:30:59

Do you know what? I've had my head down, so I have no idea where she is.

0:30:590:31:03

I haven't seen her in ages. I'm going to try and find her.

0:31:030:31:05

-Crack the whip a little bit.

-Yes. Better you than me.

0:31:050:31:07

Still lurking behind the skip...

0:31:100:31:12

-Oh, hello.

-Ah!

-This is where you've been hiding.

0:31:120:31:15

It looks like Charlie's kokedama moss and soil balls are ready to roll.

0:31:150:31:20

Oh, I tell you what, these will look awesome hanging in the tree.

0:31:200:31:23

-Yeah, they look good, don't they?

-Look at this.

0:31:230:31:25

-Well, shall we carry them through?

-Yeah, I think so.

0:31:250:31:27

Stringing the kokedamas up from the branches of the old apple tree will

0:31:270:31:31

help create the division between Sharon's adult space and Alex's fantasy play area...

0:31:310:31:36

Don't swing them around.

0:31:360:31:38

..and adds a touch of fairy tale strangeness.

0:31:380:31:40

Right.

0:31:400:31:41

So, what do you want them...? Like, all different heights?

0:31:420:31:46

But there's not much time for hanging around.

0:31:470:31:50

Charlie's already been reassigned to painting duties up near the house.

0:31:500:31:54

Mmm, loving that yellow.

0:31:540:31:55

This wall, here, just outside the kitchen door, is a bit sad.

0:31:570:32:01

So, we've decided to paint it yellow, because Sharon loves yellow.

0:32:010:32:06

I hope she does, because this is definitely yellow.

0:32:060:32:08

We swept off the wall to get rid of any loose paint.

0:32:090:32:12

And we're using a masonry paint.

0:32:120:32:15

I'm going to roller it on. It might need a couple of coats,

0:32:150:32:19

but it's definitely going to brighten this area.

0:32:190:32:22

Corners like this, down the side of the house, get neglected.

0:32:220:32:26

And simply just putting a coat of paint on tidies them up and actually

0:32:260:32:30

makes them look way better.

0:32:300:32:32

It's easy and quick to do, and not too expensive.

0:32:320:32:36

Although Sharon knows that the walls down there are going to be yellow,

0:32:370:32:41

I think this is going to be a bit of a surprise for her,

0:32:410:32:43

cos we haven't checked.

0:32:430:32:44

And speaking of checks, the far end of the garden is also about to get

0:32:470:32:51

a splash of bright colour, but this time, it's green.

0:32:510:32:54

We've just finished the checkerboard paving, and that

0:32:560:32:59

was inspired by the Alice in Wonderland theme.

0:32:590:33:01

It's a mix of hard landscaping and soft landscaping.

0:33:010:33:04

This turf mixed knitted with the paving really creates this lovely,

0:33:040:33:07

soft space to play.

0:33:070:33:08

Because Harry is setting the turf flush with the level of the paving

0:33:100:33:13

stones, Sharon will be able to mow straight over the top and get clean

0:33:130:33:17

edges to the grass without any further trimming.

0:33:170:33:19

Once you've cut your turf, it's good to push it down,

0:33:210:33:24

so the roots really do connect with the soil.

0:33:240:33:26

And then, the next thing is, you need to water it for at least two

0:33:260:33:29

weeks so it really knits in and establishes.

0:33:290:33:31

Some of the checkerboard squares are going to offer another sensory

0:33:340:33:36

experience - the gorgeous scent of fresh camomile.

0:33:360:33:39

These are the camomile plugs and they're about 60p per plant.

0:33:420:33:46

We've chosen them because it's a lovely sunny spot down here

0:33:460:33:48

and they're perfect ground cover.

0:33:480:33:49

When your foot brushes past them, then you get this beautiful aroma.

0:33:490:33:53

They're very simple to put in.

0:33:530:33:56

All you've got to do is push a hole in like that and then place them in.

0:33:560:33:59

We're going to put about eight in here and in a couple of weeks,

0:33:590:34:02

they're going to spill over, soften the slabs and just create a lovely

0:34:020:34:06

little feature at the bottom of the garden.

0:34:060:34:08

But turf and camomile are not the only things that are going to be

0:34:100:34:14

planted in Alex's checkerboard.

0:34:140:34:16

I think I've found the perfect spot for one of Andrew's mushrooms.

0:34:160:34:19

I'm just going to put it in the middle of the camomile, here,

0:34:190:34:22

so over time, that will fill out and it'll almost look like the mushroom

0:34:220:34:24

is coming out off the ground. Charlie, what do you think?

0:34:240:34:27

That looks great. It looks really cool.

0:34:270:34:30

-Yeah.

-Fantasy, isn't it?

0:34:300:34:32

Alice in Wonderland, that would've been perfect.

0:34:320:34:35

Yeah. Yeah, because that is where...

0:34:350:34:36

The mushroom was where the caterpillar was sat on the mushroom, wasn't he?

0:34:360:34:40

-Yeah, shall we get one?

-Yeah.

0:34:400:34:42

See, I've got my own little bit of fantasy going on, here.

0:34:420:34:45

You know, Alice in Wonderland,

0:34:450:34:47

there's a white rabbit running late down the hole.

0:34:470:34:49

So, this is the rabbit hole.

0:34:490:34:51

I'm going to dress it up with a few little spring bulbs.

0:34:510:34:54

And this is really for Sharon's goddaughter.

0:34:540:34:57

Just a bit of fun. I'm sure she'll rearrange it all,

0:34:570:35:00

but that's the great thing about children being out in the garden,

0:35:000:35:03

just messing around and having fun.

0:35:030:35:06

And what with the apple tree, there, I've got lots of the fond memories

0:35:060:35:10

of climbing an apple tree and just sitting there for hours and watching time go by.

0:35:100:35:15

I wish I could do it now, but we've got quite a lot to do.

0:35:150:35:18

And this hard landscaping is exhausting.

0:35:200:35:22

This is no time to give in to exhaustion, though.

0:35:230:35:27

If the team don't want to be late for a very important date with

0:35:270:35:30

Sharon and her friends, they really need to crack on.

0:35:300:35:33

They've hardly started the planting yet.

0:35:370:35:40

Even the muscle is trying its hand at something a little more dainty than usual.

0:35:400:35:45

Makes a change from laying slabs.

0:35:460:35:48

-It certainly does, Dave.

-Good work.

0:35:480:35:50

-I enjoy it, mate.

-Yeah, good.

0:35:500:35:52

We've got things that these comfrey, here, and they're going to look

0:35:520:35:55

beautiful contrasting against the bright yellow wall.

0:35:550:35:57

It's a little bit more of a shadier spot,

0:35:570:35:59

so we've got hebes and ferns.

0:35:590:36:01

So altogether it's going to give it a really lovely,

0:36:010:36:03

vibrant green contrast against this really vibrant wall.

0:36:030:36:06

What to write on the sign?

0:36:080:36:11

Charlie is putting the finishing touches to her enchanted rabbit hole.

0:36:130:36:16

-Perfect.

-If only the same was true of the rest of the garden.

0:36:180:36:22

There's still a lot of stuff to go in.

0:36:220:36:24

And as everyone mucks in to complete the final touches...

0:36:290:36:33

It was about here, wasn't it?

0:36:330:36:35

..they're nearly at the finishing post.

0:36:360:36:38

Yes. Check it out!

0:36:380:36:41

Although, they still need to shed some light on the bottom end of the garden.

0:36:410:36:45

Lee's done a great job making these light boxes, and they're pretty

0:36:470:36:50

much just clear plastic with a lovely wooden frame.

0:36:500:36:53

Very simple to make and I think they're going to make a massive

0:36:530:36:55

-difference to the garden at night-time.

-Awesome.

0:36:550:36:58

Especially putting them down here, little Alex can move them around and

0:36:580:37:01

then when you look down out of the house in the evening, bright light shining.

0:37:010:37:04

-Really, really cool.

-I've got a yellow one.

-I've got a green.

0:37:040:37:06

These solar-powered lights in need no fitting.

0:37:070:37:10

Sharon just needs to leave them out in the daylight to charge.

0:37:100:37:13

And with that, Sharon's new garden is finally ready for her inspection.

0:37:140:37:19

Before she called upon the Garden Rescue team,

0:37:280:37:31

Sharon's garden was a neglected, nondescript plot.

0:37:310:37:35

Long and narrow, with an ugly concrete path

0:37:350:37:38

and an unruly old apple tree.

0:37:380:37:40

Now, it's been transformed by its £3,500 makeover.

0:37:430:37:47

The Rich brothers have invested the budget in a garden of two halves.

0:37:490:37:53

A swish and cool entertaining space for Sharon and her grown-up mates.

0:37:530:37:58

And a magical fantasy play area for young Alex and her friends.

0:37:580:38:02

The brothers spent £880 on a smart new decking boardwalk and the

0:38:030:38:07

matching raised beds and a further £150 on the rendered wall

0:38:070:38:11

that altogether embraced Sharon's cosy new seating area.

0:38:110:38:15

These simple structural features divide the space up and give strong

0:38:170:38:20

definition to this once bland plot.

0:38:200:38:23

The outlay on the new paving was £500,

0:38:260:38:29

providing two patio areas for Sharon and an Alice in Wonderland

0:38:290:38:32

checkerboard in the play area,

0:38:320:38:35

lit up after dark by the solar-powered lights.

0:38:350:38:37

Alex's play area owes as much to imagination as money.

0:38:400:38:44

With it white rabbit's burrow and these home-made mushroom stools

0:38:450:38:50

and the camomile plug plants, which altogether came in at £150.

0:38:500:38:55

The brothers went for easy care, but colourful planting,

0:38:560:38:59

that holds its own against the bright walls.

0:38:590:39:01

They spent a total of £670 on plants,

0:39:030:39:07

with the masonry paint costing £45.

0:39:070:39:10

Nicely done.

0:39:110:39:12

Happily, the team isn't late for that date with Sharon and Alex,

0:39:120:39:16

who's come along with her mum, Megan.

0:39:160:39:18

Look down, Alex...

0:39:190:39:20

Have the Rich brothers pulled off Sharon's dream garden?

0:39:200:39:23

After three, open your eyes.

0:39:240:39:26

Three, two, one... Open.

0:39:260:39:29

Oh, my God!

0:39:290:39:30

It's amazing.

0:39:310:39:33

-Fantastic.

-My God!

-Oh, I really like this, this is fantastic.

0:39:330:39:36

Yes, that's your seating area.

0:39:360:39:38

-OK.

-And then this is your dining area.

0:39:380:39:41

-Oh, look. Fantastic.

-Yellow, yellow.

0:39:410:39:43

Looking very happy.

0:39:450:39:46

And then the steps down, as well. I like that, as well.

0:39:480:39:51

By putting the planter on the steps kind of gives...

0:39:510:39:53

It defines the entranceway into the garden.

0:39:530:39:56

I love the two different areas, as well,

0:39:560:39:58

-so the adults can play in this area. Well, eat in this area.

-Play.

0:39:580:40:01

It looks phenomenal. Down here, as well.

0:40:040:40:05

Like I say, the split level makes the garden looks so much bigger.

0:40:050:40:09

Yes.

0:40:090:40:10

I feel like you guys should go on down.

0:40:100:40:13

You've cut this back, as well. Thank you.

0:40:130:40:15

I love it. I like it.

0:40:170:40:19

Yes, so you've got this whole second area now.

0:40:190:40:22

I love it. When the party's happening,

0:40:220:40:23

a little bit there for entertaining.

0:40:230:40:25

People can sit down and enjoy the area, so, yes, I love it.

0:40:250:40:28

Oh, and look - low-maintenance. Thank you.

0:40:280:40:29

THEY LAUGH

0:40:290:40:31

She remembered - low-maintenance.

0:40:310:40:34

-And that's your yellow wall.

-Yes, fantastic. I love it.

0:40:340:40:36

-Extra seating, as well, yes?

-Yes.

-All the guests for the party.

0:40:360:40:40

Right, so, that the adult area done.

0:40:400:40:42

Down to the children's area.

0:40:420:40:43

-Alex, shall we go and see the kids' area?

-Yes.

-Yay.

0:40:430:40:47

Oh, look at that. Wow. Fantastic, I love it.

0:40:470:40:51

-Oh, and these little things, too.

-Yeah.

0:40:510:40:53

That's what Charlie's been working on -

0:40:530:40:55

ONE of the things Charlie's been working on.

0:40:550:40:57

The kokedamas... So those are quite cool.

0:40:570:40:59

Look at them.

0:40:590:41:01

Do you like 'em?

0:41:010:41:02

-Yeah.

-Yeah!

0:41:020:41:04

Thinks they're quite cool.

0:41:040:41:06

-And then the rabbit hole as well.

-Wow, I didn't see that.

0:41:060:41:09

-Shall we go and look at this, Alex?

-Come on over.

-Let's have a look.

0:41:090:41:12

-Can you see?

-What's in there?

0:41:120:41:15

You'd definitely fit in there.

0:41:150:41:17

You could fit in there, couldn't you? No?

0:41:170:41:20

Oh, fantastic.

0:41:210:41:23

So, this is the checkerboard slab area.

0:41:260:41:29

Oh, I like this, as well. Fantastic for Alex to come and just enjoy the area.

0:41:290:41:33

Yes. It's quite simple.

0:41:330:41:34

But I think it looks quite effective, and really fun, as well.

0:41:340:41:37

It's really nice. I like these little light boxes, here.

0:41:370:41:39

Yes, so there's solar bulbs in there, solar lights.

0:41:390:41:42

Shall we go and play, Alex?

0:41:420:41:43

And the mushrooms.

0:41:430:41:44

-Oh, wow.

-Andy made these amazing mushrooms.

0:41:440:41:47

-Shall we go and sit on this one?

-Look at that.

0:41:470:41:50

-That's the right size.

-Yes. Oh, oh, oh!

0:41:500:41:54

Look at that.

0:41:540:41:57

Alex fits the mushrooms really well.

0:41:580:42:01

It's a total transformation, and I'm so happy that my 40th birthday's

0:42:010:42:04

going to be amazing. I think Alex is happy, as well.

0:42:040:42:07

-Yes.

-She can come and play.

0:42:070:42:09

She looks very happy.

0:42:090:42:10

Only needed one paving, didn't we?

0:42:120:42:14

-Yes, only one slab.

-Thank you so much, guys.

0:42:140:42:16

It's fantastic. Thank you very much.

0:42:160:42:18

I'm so glad you like it.

0:42:180:42:20

I can safely say I think we hit the brief.

0:42:200:42:24

So you had £3,500 for the garden.

0:42:240:42:26

Do you think it was money well spent?

0:42:260:42:28

Definitely. I think you've done more than I could ever imagine.

0:42:280:42:30

My birthday's going to be fantastic, so adults can play here and Alex

0:42:300:42:33

looks like she's really happy and she can play in this area.

0:42:330:42:37

Both parts of the brief were filled, thank you so much.

0:42:370:42:40

I'm sure the 40th will go down a storm.

0:42:400:42:43

Down to this area, ladies.

0:42:450:42:47

Who said anything about waiting for her 40th?

0:42:470:42:50

Sharon can't wait to celebrate her amazing new garden with her friends.

0:42:500:42:54

THEY CHEER

0:42:570:42:59

To Shaz, for her 40th birthday and her brand-new garden.

0:43:030:43:06

Yay! Cheers, cheers. Thank you for coming.

0:43:060:43:10

Charlie Dimmock and the Rich brothers are tasked with transforming a long, thin garden in Northampton. With a fortieth birthday party only weeks away and a young goddaughter to consider, which designer will win the brief for an exciting, multifunctional space?


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