Love Your Garden Series 9 Episode 6 A Dog's Paradise

Love Your Garden Series 9 Episode 6  A Dog's Paradise

This week in Love Your Garden Series 9 Episode 6,  Alan Titchmarsh is in Swindon, Wiltshire to surprise Veteran Lorraine Tilston-Brookes and her special dogs Doris and Poppy. 

Lorraine Tilston-Brookes

A shocked Lorraine opened the door and Alan was warmly greet by Lorraine and her dogs. 

After negotiating the dog bed Alan is told its the dogs that glue the house together. 


Lorraine moved to her bungalow with retired therapy dog Poppy and current dog Doris, 3 years ago. 


Steve Fraser support officer for BLESMA The Limbless Veteran charity talks how Lorraine is dependent on her therapy dog to protect and support her both in and out of the house.

Lesley Smith a friend talks about how the dogs are so important to helping Lorraine.

Lorraine tells Alan how she became disabled. She was in the Royal Airforce and in 1983 she had an accident where she fell off the back of a lorry causing damage to her spine that aged it by 30 years. 

She suffers from Chronic pain Syndrome and Degenerative Disc C leaving her unable to bend over and in constant pain. 

Lorraine was 18 when this happened and because of this she had to eventually leave the RAF.

support group

Lorraine has dedicated her life to helping other ex military personnel working as a welfare officer for RAFA . She runs breakfast clubs and organises get togethers. 

Michelle Ouzman RAF-Senior Aircrafts Woman tells how Lorraine has helped her get to know other ex RAF people in the area. She tells how Lorraine has encouraged her to be part of something and she has made lots of friends through this.

Lorraine tells Alan about the high level of suicide for Veterans after finding the transition from the military 'family' into a life without the routine and structure of the forces 'family'. 

In 2018, 71 military veterans and personnel committed suicide.

The Garden
Alan describes the 12m x 7m garden as just a gravel yard! The dogs do not like the gravel. Doris has her own paddling pool as she loves water. 

The Garden

The only raised beds in the garden are for the dogs. Lorraine has 1 chair amongst the rubble.

The Garden

Lorraine wants a garden that is comfortable for her and the dogs and somewhere she can invite people round to and not be embarrassed by.

As Alan Titchmarsh sees off Lorraine his trusty help arrives in the form of his contract landscaping team and his fellow gardener designers David Domoney, Katie Rushworth and Frances Tophill.

the team

They are also joined by veterans and friends of Lorraine, including Michelle Ouzman who spoke about how they all  help each other out. 

The dogs are so important to her and that they are there to comfort her when needed.

Terry Kelly (Spider), Weapons Electrical Naval Seaman A/B tells Alan how Lorraine wouldn't expect anyone to do this for her and she will love this garden.

the team

David job is to get lots of smooth surfaces to help with Lorraine's mobility problems, no lawn, gravel or bark chips.

Katie job is to take control of the right hand side that needs to be dog proof and Lorraine proof that's both playful and tranquil!

Frances job is the end of the garden to make a relaxing area.

Alan Job is to do something with the garage!


The garden is going to be a challenge to turn it into somewhere nice for Lorraine to relax and entertain which is also suitable for 2 huge Leonberger dogs.

A Work in Progress
David starts work on the garage for Alan by covering it in battens and it is then clad in the same wood that David is making a decking area and boardwalk. 

David domoney

These are in the same colour palate as the rest of the garden soft greys and greens.


David has some new instant raised beds blocks to try out which are glued together.

David then starts work on the sandstone paving.

David domoney

David makes a border with wonderful smells for the dogs to enjoy, he fills it with chives, thyme, sage, oregano and rosemary.


Patio furniture is added to the dining area near the house.

Katie has started work on the rill water feature / come dog pool. the long pool has dark grey tiles to look attract when not full of dogs. 

Katie Rushworth

Katie makes some sun loungers in the decking by having some holes covered with decking planks with spaces for drainage which will be topped by soft dog beds and cushions.

dog beds

Katie Rill / dog pool has a pump added so she can pump out the dirty water onto the plants to keep the water as clear as possible.


Frances has started work on the L shaped seating are in the tranquil zone.


Frances plants a large Acer in the corner and adds Deschampsia and Stipa grasses. For colour she adds Snake's Head Fritillary behind the seating area.


A sail is added for shade.

Alan is adding a focal feature out of a series of arches to add height to the garden. Timber planks are used.


Against the dark grey fence he adds some Pencil Cyprus along the right hand side.

Alan has a feature Spanish olive tree to plant in pride of place. It has been pruned to a Pom Pom shape. 


Alan stresses the importance of the Olive tree being guaranteed disease free due to the spread of Xylella fastidiosa.

Alan plants a Chamomile lawn under the olive tree. This lawn will not need cutting and they divide to make more plants and will knit together.

Alan Titchmarsh

Alan and Frances are distressing some mirrors and painting the back with gold before framing them to break up the boards on the garage. 

When placing a mirror you need to be careful of birds that fly into them.

Alan Titchmarsh

In front of the mirror he plants an Acer and Cotoneaster Horizontalis fishbone Cotoneaster which will spread sideways along with some Rosemary.

A giant pebble of polished concrete is added as a focal point by the Rill.

Alan visits Calne in Wiltshire to see the gardens of Orchard House.

Orchard House

The gardens are designed into 2 courtyards which are fuss free and minimal. 

This restraint style of garden has minimal planting as to not to distract you. The muted colours help with the tranquillity of the garden. 

Orchard House
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The water feature a calming pools of water along with a water feature who sound is minimal.

David visits Caroline and David Broom who  have created a pet haven in their North London garden. 


They have built at 'Catio', a safe enclosed area on the patio for their beloved cats. 

This is a bit of an eyesore that they want David help with. 2m x 6 m space needs some new cat proof planting scheme to make it a pleasant area to sit for both feline and humans.


David Domoney plants nasturtiums in a container with a metal obelisk and its cat safe.  

Caroline plants some zinc pails as they retrain moisture and uses them as hanging baskets.


David Broom upcycles some galvanised buckets into hanging cat baskets.


David Domoney suggests planting catnip to stimulate the cats.

Caroline suggests planting cat grass to stop the cats eating other plants.

What this Garden means for Lorraine
Alan joins Lorraine on a dog walk with Poppy and Doris to a dog friendly pub.

He asks Lorraine about her family connection with the forces, Lorraine says her Grandfather was in the Army and her dad was in the Navy. So she chose the Airforce.


Lorraine attends the funerals for military personnel that have no or very few family to show respect to her military 'family'.

Once you are in the Services you are in for life.

Her dogs are the reason she carries on, Poppy was a rescues dog prior to being a Therapy dog. She visited people in hospital as part of their rehabilitation but she is now retired.

Lorraine says her dogs are her rock.

Alan Titchmarsh

Alan talks about the sense of purpose Lorraine has and her dedication to her role and to her dogs. 

Lorraine and her dogs are very deserving of the garden they are doing for them as a thank you for all she does for others.

Alan adds the final feature, a water feature of a broken orb that lights up and is surrounded by pebbles. 

water features

Planted round this are Iceland Poppies and Ladybird Poppies. 

Iceland Poppies

These are to symbolise the poppies at Flanders as a tribute to the Armed Forces. 

The Grand Reveal
The garden has been transformed to a zen, tranquil space for Lorraine and her dogs to enjoy. 

Quiet seating areas for them both and a dog pool surrounded by easy reach planting beds complete the look.

Lorraine open your eyes

Lorraine and Alan

'OH my god' 'where's the garage' 'absolutely lost for words' tears flow at the sight of the Poppies. 'it is perfect. I can reach things'.

Iceland Poppies

The dog pool for Doris she loves.
'Beautiful' she loves the garden mirror and olive tree.

Lorraine loves the beds and seats for them both. 'its going to take a long time to realise this is mine'

Let the dogs loose


They love their beds and teddies and Doris is straight in the pool.


Friends, family and fellow veterans flood in and the champagne corks pop, as Doris splashes happily in her pool.


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1 comment:

  1. Absolutely love this show great ideas and work by all involved