Love Your Family Garden

Love your Family Garden

Alan Titchmarsh tells us there are millions of ways to transform a garden as he introduces us to this weeks Love Your Garden Themed Special 2020.

In this series Alan is sharing his secrets to his favourite styles of gardens and the twist the Love Your Garden Team have put on each garden they have transformed.

In this weeks episode it is the Family Garden with 3 very different styles.

The Enchanted Garden, The Teen Paradise and An Adventure Wonderland.

David Domoney Katie Rushworth Frances Tophill

The Love Your Garden Team of David Domoney, Katie Rushworth and Frances Tophill and the teams of contractors of cause all feature in these condensed garden transformations.

The Enchanted Garden

This Episode can be read in Full in Series 9: Episode 5 A Garden for Isla

Every family different but what they want from a garden is all the same, a relaxing seating area, somewhere to cook and an area for the kids to play.

Alan says to amuse younger children they need more than swings and climbing frames they need 'magic'!

Alan visits a garden in Sussex that has a secret moon gate entrance, plain dark grey on one side and a dry stone effect on the other.

Alan Titchmarsh
Garden hobbit house

The garden is filled with eye catching plants like Geums, Grasses and Alliums.

The Hobbit House is surrounded by plants and has a green roof and planting pockets down the sides.

Alan is in Folkstone Kent to see mum Rachel's extraordinary family. He surprises Rachel returning from the school run with her children Isla 5 and Betsy 2.

Rachel is shocked to see Alan and cant believe he is there to see her. Also in the household is Husband Ped and 11 year old George.


Isla was diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome also known as catastrophic Epilepsy. Dravet Syndrome which can lead to seizures that are life changing or even fatal.

Rachel says Isla is aware of her surrounding and when communicating with her.

When Isla was 14 months old she had a severe seizure that left her brain damaged leaving her unable to talk, walk or see.

Rachel Isla

Rachel now works with other parents of newly diagnosed children, to help them come to terms with having a child with Dravet Syndrome.

Alan declares it definitely is a family garden, Rachel said they did a quick fix in the summer but now Isla is bigger and heavier its harder as Rachel has to carry her outside.

before garden

Rachel would like a garden with a swing as Isla loves it, she also reacts to noise and things she can touch.

To have a garden they can all be in will be life changing so Alan calls in the Love Your Garden team and Contractors to make this dream Enchanted Garden happen.

Alan Titchmarsh David Domoney Katie Rushworth Frances Tophill

Alan wants a garden that will not only get Isla outside but will also work for the whole family to enjoy.

There is going to be an enticing and stimulating play area fro the children and a comfortable lounge area to relax in.

David starts by adding 3 huge moon gates which come in kit form which are cemented in, to form a tunnel. Underneath it will have a resin bonded path which will be very smooth for Isla wheelchair. 

Katie Rushworth Frances Tophill

Katie has halved the size of the swing and plans to make a den in the other half and has painted the fence dark green.

The den end is painted dark green and has some troughs planted at the side and will be covered in climbers the other side. 

In the window box planters Katie plants Argyranthemums in solid blocks of colour.

Alan says a play area is a must in the garden and if designed well they will fit in with the garden.

A sunken trampoline surrounded by plants will disappear and climbing frames painted the same colour to blend it as well as coloured rubber chippings being chosen to blend.

David and Alan are adding the climbers to the Moon gates and are planting Wisteria and Climbing Hydrangea Petiolaris which will scramble over the frames.

herb garden

Katie add a tall planter of tactile and fragrant plants for Isla to touch as she passes through the moon gate arches. The Hydrangea has a hairy leaf and she adds Sage for the fragrance and touch.

She also adds Thyme and lavender which are all happy in the growing conditions.

Alan is using their old fireplace surrounded by 10 ft high shelving units painted green to create an outdoors living room.

Alan Titchmarsh  Katie Rushworth Frances Tophill

Alan wants a Ceanothus beside his chimney piece and wants the central plants to form a barrier in the garden. Griselinias are very good in gardens by the sea.

For the fireplace Alan wants plants to form a fire effect. First he adds a yellow Golden Bay, then for embers Argranthemums. 

Alan Titchmarsh

Behind that he adds Nandina the sacred bamboo of Japan. For the flames he adds Geums.

Frances plants a slow growing Acer to the central area by her mural as well as Sedums, Brachyglottis, Verbascums and Corokias.

David is installing the first water feature, a clear dome of cascading water floating on a stainless steel base.

David Domoney

Water features are good for children to play with and are also calming, you can even have a pond if it has a safety grill just below the surface.

The second water feature is for fun and can be programmed to change the sequence of squirting water which comes out through the pebble base.

Alan Titchmarsh David Domoney

Alan and David take great delight in testing all the settings.

The Grand Reveal
The garden has been transformed into an Enchanted Garden that is a fun filled family garden with a magical play area, trickling water features and an outdoor lounge and cooking area.

Alan Titchmarsh Rachel

Rachel open your eyes

Finished garden

awwww' ' OH' 'Its amazing' 'look at this my fireplace' 'it looks so posh''it's so lush' 'oh the kids are gonna love that' 'its so cool' 'it is more than i ever could have dreamed of'

Isla and the rest of the family see the garden for the first time.

Rachel Isla Ped Betsy George

Betsy is first to the water feature and they both laugh as the water disappears and squirts Betsy.

Isla touches and reaches for the flowers as Betsy finds the sandpit.

The Teen Paradise
Small children are easy to please in the garden says Alan a swing climbing frame and they are happy.

But 'Teenagers are a different kettle of fish' they want cool places to hang out.

Alan visits a garden in Surrey thats sure to impress any teenager.

No children's play equipment but alfresco dining areas, a cube summerhouse and this garden would look great on your Instagram.

Surrey Garden

There is large areas of decking and Corten Steel raised beds planted in blocks of colour with Salvias, Geraniums ans Heleniums and dressed with gravel.

Gravel comes in many shapes, sizes and colours and can give your garden that contemporary look as well as set your plants off.

Alan is in Southampton to surprise a family that has suffered a tragic bereavement to give them a Teen Haven garden.


A sleepy and surprised Tony opens the door, he invites Alan in still in his Jim Jams.

A dressed Antonio lives with his teenage children Amelia and Tyler they have recently lost their mum and his wife Shelly-Ann to Cancer.

Shelly-Ann Amelia and Tyler

Alan speaks to Antonio alone and says you are a single dad raising 2 teenage children without the woman you love.

It has been just a year since his wife died.

Antonio says 'if i stop what happens' 

Alan Titchmarsh Antonio

He talks about how hard it is to be mum and dad especially mum to his daughter as he is not one and she finds it hard to express how she feels to him.

One of Shelly-Ann last wish was that something should be done with the garden.

Antonio says she always wanted a nice home and Garden.

Garden before

Garden before

Alan asks will it make a difference having a garden that Shelly wanted?

Antonio says yes knowing why the garden is there and enjoying the garden will help.

So Alan team of Landscapers and the Love Your Garden Team arrive to start the Contemporary Multi-functional Garden to give them the perfect Teenage hangout but also to spend time in with their Dad.

Alan Titchmarsh David Domoney Katie Rushworth Frances Tophill

David job is the Teen hangout building at the far end, for games and hanging out in.

The garden will have giant 'pavers' all at different levels for an Ibiza inspired outdoor dining and kitchen area.

David building at the end is very big and something Shelly wanted for them in the garden.

Adding Summer Houses or Studios to garden is a very popular way of adding extra living space as they are a fraction of the cost of an extension.

Caroline Holm in Kew, London has an Arts Studio at the bottom of her garden.

She says it is a very calm and creative environment as well as beautiful as its perfect in the space it is in.

Any garden building should be 2 metres from boundary and no more than 2.5 metres tall.

Peter Burnham from Wokingham has a bar and Cinema room in his.

He has fully opening door to the front of his so he has had a number of events.

Alan says for an extra £1,500 your building can have electricity.

David shows Alan the finished building, it has double glazed huge glass doors, laminate flooring and Alan approves.

In the central hub is where the cooking and dining area is and Frances job is to make it look less like a concrete island.

Frances Tophill

She is putting up a feature wooden wall but does not want it to be like a barrier so she is creating holes or windows through it and the rest will be clad in pallet wood.

To get a contemporary look you should landscape everything at a 45 degree angle and use bold architectural plants.

Triangles work well in gardens whether it is a planting triangle or for paving.

Frances is pounding large poles into the ground to make another wall to her kitchen and dining area.

Frances Tophill

These wonky poles will be behind a barbecue made of Indian Sandstone.

Alan asks Frances if the Tanalised poles will be painted or left but she is undecided.

She has 2 painting options of orange or black or just leave them as wood?

Alan Titchmarsh  Katie Rushworth Frances Tophill

Alan wanted black, Katie and Frances an orange so Alan left them too decide.

Katie is adding architectural grasses around the harsh concrete and she will add pebbles at the front so they blend in.

At the front she is planting Stipa Tenuissima aka Ponytails, then Miscanthus.

Grasses often have lovely Autumn colour too and in the Spring if you cut them down to about an inch they will regrow and if they get to big you can dig them up to divide them.

The barbeque top weighing 37 stone is carried in and placed on top of the Sandstone Plinths.

Alan wants to add a personal touch to the garden to remember Shelly-Ann who was just 39 when she passed away and she loved the beach.

Alan Titchmarsh

He is creating an area that reflect her love of the Isle of Wight beaches by adding Astelia Silver Spear, Torbay Palm Cordyline and New Zealand Flax all that like the coastal conditions.

For colour he is adding white Osteospermum, he covers the area with gravel and adds a huge hammock for relaxing on.

Alan Titchmarsh

Alan Titchmarsh  Frances Tophill

Shelly-Ann family have sent some sand and shells from her favourite Isle of Wight beach and these are added to the special area.

As they put the finishing touches to the garden makeover on one of the hottest days of the year but its finally finishes.

The Grand Reveal
The Contemporary Teenage friendly Garden, Sally-Ann wanted for her family has finally been done.

Finished Garden

Antonio, Amelia and Tyler open your eyes

Antonio, Amelia and Tyler

'wow' 'oh my god' 'that's amazing' 'look at that' 'wow' 'oh my god' 'it's like we are on holiday' 'wow' 

Finished Garden

Alan shows them around, the barbeque and kitchen area, the area for Shelly-Ann with the shells and sand.

Last but not least the Teen hangout building.

Finished Garden

Finished Garden

Antonio says what a fantastic job they have done he could never have done a garden like this.

Alan says his pleasure and Shelly always here with them.

An Adventure Wonderland

This Episode can be read in full in Series 9 Episode 7 A Healing Family Garden

Creating a stylish family garden can be hard but Lucy Wilcox has a garden that looks chic and urban but is still suitable for the whole family to use.

Lucy Wilcox garden

They have 2 young children but did not want it to look like a garden for just the children so she designed the garden with its features having a dual purpose.

It is quite a small garden so she has used large flower beds filled with Box and shrubs and has a maze effect for the children.

Lucy Wilcox garden

She did not want any designated spaces and all can be used for multi purposes like the seating area can be used for a train track layout or for relaxing in.

Garden playhouse

The children do have a small playhouse at the end that blends in with the fencing and this will grow with them as they get older.

The Artificial lawn also doubles up as a putting green for her husband.

Alan is in Pontypool South Wales to surprise a family. 

Mum Karran Garlick is not in but as Alan rings the doorbell he is hoping Dad Chris Garlick and the children are in.

Alan Titchmarsh Mairwen

The door is opened by 6 year old Mairwen, who led Alan to meet and surprise her Dad Chris.

Mum Chris is a Chiropractor and Chris before his devastating illness was a Physiotherapist and Sports Masseuse.

A shocked Chris is out in the garden along with daughter Molly and son Daniel. 

Alan Titchmarsh Chris and children

They face time a very surprised Karran at work so she can join in the special surprise Alan has in store for the family.

For 2 years Chris has been fighting off the effects Bacterial Meningitis and his organs were shutting down after going into septic shock.

Chris had all 4 limbs removed to save his life.

Chris physio

To raise awareness of Sepsis and its symptoms Chris gives talks to the community and Medical Professionals.

Chris talks about how hard it has been for the children, they will cling to him and they don't want him to go back to hospital.

Alan and Chris both get emotional when Chris says how tough that is for them all.

Chris wants somewhere the children can play and use, they have a huge garden and they are not able to use it.

Before garden

Before garden

Alan states he 'has never seen anything as daunting as this'.

The problems he has with access has made Chris a prisoner in the tiny bit of garden he can access.

Alan calls on his Love Your Garden Team and Landscapers to get this garden done for the family.

Alan Titchmarsh David Domoney Katie Rushworth Frances Tophill

This will be their most difficult garden ever and the plot is huge measuring a quarter of an acre and rises over 7 metres from the bottom to the top.

Alan says its like a jungle and people have gone in and never returned!

He wants to keep the existing trees of Maple. Elm, Magnolia and Monkey Puzzle and then add to them.

Alan is going to create a Woodland adventure garden for the whole family but the huge sloping space means its going to be tough.

Alan heads off for inspiration to Nant Y Bedd a Welsh hillside garden in the Brecon Beacons, Black mountains.

Nant Y Bedd

They have everything you could possibly want in a family garden, water to sail boats, outdoor cooking areas, buildings and hidden treehouses.

The treehouse is in a very large Sycamore tree and you can hardly see it hiding in the tree.

They have used the slopes, starting with the big trees at the top and using the gradient to its full
 advantage, planting in decreasing heights. 

Nant Y Bedd

At the bottom the design is more formal made up of small shallow terraces filled with cottage plants that are natural.

Alan is using the different levels in the garden to make different zones.

There is a decked dining area by the house with a wheelchair friendly gently sloping path to the central hub of the garden.

This contains the a seating area complete with a fire pit.

At the top of the garden is the children's playground 

David Domoney

David is building his play area around a giant Norway Maple and is using rustic tree trunks to build the tree house around the tree and not touching it.

It also has a rope walkway.

Around the play area David plants Bamboo, Phormiums and Cordylines.

At the back is a sloped planting area. Alan plans a mini woodland to help the soil from slipping down.

He plants a mixture of trees, including Silver Birch, Maple and a Hawthorn 'Crimson Cloud'. 

Alan Titchmarsh

Planting directly behind the seating area is some shrubs and perennials including nearest to the seat, Catmint, Hebes and Heuchera.

Further up the slope he plants a Scotch Burnet Rose.

Alan finishes off his Hub seating area with a firepit made out of the stone found in the garden. He then places a Corten Steel fire bowl in the centre a metre from the seat.

In David's play area Garry Turler a Chainsaw Artist is making a 10ft Totem Pole for the play area and the children are painting their faces on it!

For the play area Alan has got 3 huge palm trees including a Chusan Palm Trachycarpus that need craning over the garden and manhandled into the garden!

A self binding gravel path is then laid throughout the garden slopes.

The hardest garden they have ever done has been finished.

The Grand Reveal
The garden is now an inspiring family garden with flowing paths connecting the zones, for the kids to run wild whilst their parents relax but more importantly a garden for the whole family to be together in.

Chris and Karran open your eyes 

Karran Chris

Gasp 'Oh my goodness' 'Oh wow' from Karran. Chris is initially speechless and teary.

'oh look at the colours' 'look at that... oh my god' 

Finished garden

Chris finally manages to speak 'I don't believe it' 'that's incredible'.

Finished garden

Chris and Karran look round and Chris goes to places he never been able to before in the garden and tells Alan it means so much to him.

Finished garden

The children run in to cries of 'oh my gosh' which quickly turning to cries of delight at their play area and garden!

An emotional Chris and Alan hug as the programme comes to an end.

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