Your Garden Made Perfect Episode 1

Your Garden Made Perfect Episode 1

In the first Episode of Your Garden Made Perfect which was first aired on 04 February, Angela Scanlon introduces us to the spin off programme of Your House Made Perfect.

'We all love being in the great outdoors' Angela goes on to say 'we all have an idea how we want out homes to look but we are clueless when it comes to our gardens'.

In this series they are helping homeowners transform their gardens and the magic happens at their own secret Garden Headquarters.

This is where the Team of Designers, plan and design the gardens, before taking the homeowners on a 3D tour of their designs.

They will turn their gardens into amazing spaces whatever the budget and using the latest technologies to let them choose between the 2 designs that they can see in their gardens before the work commences.

Demi and Laura

This weeks homeowners are High Street Fashion Supplier Demi and Chartered Accountant Laura and they have a budget of £25,000 to transform their garden in Bushey Hertfordshire, who will then get to view two designs before picking one to transform their plot.

Laura and Demi greet  Angela, the couple have an awkward shaped plot to redesign at their extended home, that they share with their 3 daughters Amelia, Holly and Leia.

The garden is just a long lawn for the children to play on and nothing to keep the adults outside and using the garden.

Before garden

The garden is a good size for the 4 bedroom house but it is L shaped and wraps around half the house.

The only area the adults use is a raised patio which is almost a metre high and a big drop to the rest of the garden.

Laura says she always been worried about the drop and children falling off and makes her nervous and conscious of the danger when entertaining.

Before garden

They find the garden stressful rather than somewhere to relax in.

The garden is a lot lower than the rest of the house and with having steps down and surrounding hedges it feels like you are in a tunnel.

They want a space they can spend time in, an extension to the house and to entertain the Greek side of the family as they are always used to being outside whatever the weather.

The couple have struggled to come up with ideas for their garden which is why they are hoping the design team at Garden HQ can help them get the garden they desire to suit both their tastes.

This weeks designers are Manoj Malde and Helen Elks-Smith.

Manoj Malde and Helen Elks-Smith.

Helen is a Gold Medal winning Garden Designer and believes in the 'power of plants'.

Manoj award winning designs feature colours and textures as well as adventure in his bold palette.


Both designers go and visit the garden in Herefordshire.

Helen starts with the conifer hedge which is over a meter thick and 3 metres high, which closes the garden in and is like a building.

conifer hedge

These sort of hedges do not like hard pruning and they leave brown scars if trying to reduce the height or width.

Trees do make good focal points in the garden but the Monkey Puzzle tree in the garden is in the wrong place.

It a spikey tree so you cannot get too close to it.

Monkey Puzzle tree

Manoj wonders if the only time it looks great is Christmas with fairy lights on it?

Although it is a beautiful tree he says its not right for the space they have in the garden as the proportions are all wrong.

The garden only has 2 destination points of either the lawn or the terrace and Helen thinks this is why the garden is boring and uninviting.

the big drop

Helen says in a garden design you need a place where you stop, where you can sit, somewhere to spend time.

destination places

This is all going to cost so needs to be in the best place in the garden for it taking into account, the light, view and feel to the spot.

Helen uses this to create new destination places in her garden design.

They then move into the house to get an insight into the couples style, taste and what they want from the garden.

inside house

Manoj asks if they have a particular look in mind? Demi says his favourite is the Japanese look with his favourite tree being an Acer, the Red Japanese Maple.

Helen asks Demi how he wants the garden to Feel? He says he want the stress of work has gone and the garden is his Eden an Oasis.

Manoj brings up the subject of the Monkey Puzzle Tree but even though they now realise its in the wrong place they love it! Demi said he would cry if they lost it! Oh dear!

Garden designers

Both Designers are now back at Garden HQ and ideas are flowing but also hard decisions especially around that tree!

Angela wants to hear about their virtual designs and how competitive they both are.

Helen says its a difficult site and budget, the patio is just a platform at the top and has no connection to rest of garden, that makes you reluctant to go in the rest of the garden.

Helen's Design
So it is Helen turn first to show Demi and Laura their virtual new garden with Manoj and Angela watching from the glasshouse.

They don the special effect glasses and Helen transports them to their current garden to start her pitch.

Helen  Demi and Laura

They start by being on the top terrace with the garden below them and she takes away the terrace to show them how steep and dangerous it is.

It has a drop of 60 - 70 cm and Helen challenge was how to solve the problem of this huge drop in height.

Helen design

Their new garden design starts unravelling before their eyes and is greeted with 'oh wow' 'oh my god' 'its just incredible and a whole heap of gasps!

They are in a state of shock and say 'its nothing like they could have imagined'.

Helen design

Helen has created to smaller level drops instead of the one large one and making a series of connected outdoor rooms to explore.

There is a top terrace leading down to a barbecue area and lawn to play on, an lower outdoor living room which is enclosed by a pergola.

By enclosing the 2 sides of the seating area it feels like you have something wrapped round you to make you feel comfortable and relaxed.

Helen design

The Barbecue area below the terrace is an area for entertaining which is in the middle so you can mingle on all sides with guests.

The top terrace's drop has been reduced to 40 cm and the whole area is made safe by having raised planters all around and this planting will soften the harsh edges as well as lead your eye into the garden.

Helen design

The planters are filled with herbs so they can be used straight on to the Barbecue.

The top and middle areas have contemporary style decking and on the lower levels this is surrounded by romantic and billowing planting.

Helen design

The focal tree in the garden is a Red Acer which is a large established tree which can cost between £500 to £1,000 but have they noticed the Monkey Puzzle Tree has gone!!!!

Laura finally notices the tree has gone and Helen explains it really was too close to the house for a tree that is going to get very big.

Helen takes them to the bottom of the garden and shows them how open and connected the garden now feels.

Opposite the kitchen window she has place another mature tree which is to hide the fence line.

Helen design

In the area that is round the corner Helen has made this an area for the swing seat but other than some planting and some climbers she has left this blank to use how they wish.

She says this is future proofing the garden as at the moment it can house the children's toys but later on it could have a home office.

Helen design

Demi says 'it's a garden I could only possible dream of'.

He says makes such a difference having a specialist look at the garden i have been looking at for 8 years and had no idea what to do.

Helen has taken Angela to show her some romantic planting that she wants to use in the garden scheme.

They are at Gravetye Manor in Sussex which has the most amazing herbaceous borders which has a constant changing abundance of soft wafty flowers.

Gravetye Manor

She wants the same romantic feel in Demi and Laura garden and this garden also has structure with very straight paths with plants billowing over the sides.

The colour choice of flowers is also an important part and in this garden the colours are opposites vibrant oranges and purples.

Helen and Angela

The flowers are repeated in a pattern all the way along with Salvias and Dahlias and gives it cohesive colour and structure.

They have a go at planting up an area of the garden and have some Persicarias and these with other perineal plants will fill out and spread in the border.

Manoj's Design
Manoj's turn to impress the couple with his design for the garden as he meets them at Garden HQ and they all don the virtual reality headsets.

Manoj Laura Demi

Helen now joins Angela in the glasshouse to watch Manoj presentation.

Manoj takes them to their current garden that is greeted with cries of 'it's so dull' from Laura.

He takes the garden back to its bare bones before his oriental scheme starts popping up before their very eyes.

Manoj design

Colours of orange and red accent the garden, swathes of bamboo, a Shinto style archway leading to a bar and food preparation area.

Demi loves Japan so Manoj has used this as his inspiration and he has even kept the Monkey Puzzle Tree!

At the edge of the high terrace he has added deep planting beds to create a barrier for safety.

Manoj design

He has painted the fence black and this with the vibrant green of the bamboo makes it really pop out.

Dark colours will push a fence back and bright colours will bring it forward.

On the left by the terrace he has created a private seating in the shade and on the right he has added a water feature.

Manoj design

Manoj has included another Japanese inspired feature with the use of stepping stones made from paddlestone. 

This leads through the Archway into the 'Demi Corner' for Barbecues, serving drinks and for entertaining.

Manoj design

He takes them to the lower part of the garden to show the oval planting he has put round the Monkey Puzzle Tree and he has added symmetry by adding another tree around the corner with the same planting.

This is an idea used in Japanese gravel gardens where the gravel is the sea and the planting is the Islands, so his planting around the trees forms Islands in the garden.

Manoj design

This is a very different idea from Helen's garden where she got rid of the tree Manoj has made a feature of it!

Angela asked the couple their feelings on the gardens now that they have seen them both and Laura says both gardens have made them want to get out in the garden with more places to sit and entertain.

The couple now need to go and discuss each garden and make the very hard decision on which one to go for.

Manoj has taken Angela to the Japanese Garden at Tatton Park in Cheshire to show her one of Europe's most impressive Japanese Gardens and what has inspired his design.

Tatton Park

The garden is about 100 years old and features all the must haves in a Japanese Garden.

Water, greenery and stone are the elements that make a classic Japanese garden and this is perfect for the tranquil zen garden Demi and Laura want.

Angela says its so calming she wants to lay down and Manoj says they are as they are not cluttered.

Tatton Park

The garden at Tatton Park has an ornamental pond as its centre piece and a water feature adds calm to any garden and with a solar one it needs no wiring in.

Manoj has added a water feature to his design as well as the meandering path of stepping stones.

The lantern and the path over the water that meanders so that it slows you down and this is achievable in any garden you could easily using decking to get the same effect.

Tatton Park

The path leads to a teahouse and Angela asks does the path need a destination and Manoj says yes it should always lead somewhere and could be to anything.

The Japanese garden is about simplicity and different levels of lush greenery as they end their visit by sipping tea in the Teahouse. 

Winning Design
Demi and Laura have to decide between the 2 stunning designs and Demi starts by saying he loved the colour Manoj used in his garden.


Manoj design gave them hints of a Japanese garden with serenity and quirky touches where Helen design gave them multiple outdoor rooms on different levels.

Laura says the colour scheme Helen picked matches their internal decoration so makes the inside flow outside.

The design they have chosen is...... Helen's.

The change of levels and materials really won it for them and the harshness of the garden is taken away with the romantic planting scheme as well as giving them a social space.

Work in Progress
The work is under way to clear the garden and one of the first things to go as well as the Conifer hedge is the Monkey Puzzle Tree!

Monkey Puzzle Tree

Demi and Laura watch as the Contractor saws through the trunk and  'timber' it has gone and there is no going back.

The Pergola starts to take shape and they are using high grade pressure treated timber so this will last and the materials alone cost approximately £1,000 you can buy kits for around £350.00.


Helen has arrived to soften the Pergola and to give Demi and Laura some gardening advice.

The Pergola is to be covered in a cloak of scent and colour and Helen has brought some Roses and Clematis to intertwine over the structure.


The climbers she has chosen all flower at different times and just 6 plants should cover the structure.

They lay them out leaving a metre gap in between them and the couple gets lots of advice on how to care for them.

The Grand Reveal
Angela arrives at Demi and Laura house to see the completed garden transformation from the garden that was split into 2 levels with a high terrace and an uninviting lower garden with no where to socialise.

AngelaDemi and Laura

'Wow wow wow wow its amazing' says an astonished Angela on seeing the garden next to a beaming Demi and Laura.

'It's a dream come true, it's stunning, absolutely stunning' says Demi.

finished garden

In the new middle deck area Demi barbecue takes pride of place with room for the whole family.

Laura says how lucky they are to have such a gorgeous garden.

The romantic planting fills the garden beds and the new Acer tree replaces the Monkey Puzzle Tree.

finished garden

Demi says he lost his Dad in his 20s and they loved anything Japanese so the tree is something of him in the garden.

Angela talks to Helen about how difficult L shaped gardens can be to get people into the garden and she has extended the flower bed so you know there something around the garden to tempt you.

finished garden

Removing the Conifer hedge has stopped the garden feeling so closed in and oppressive.

Laura says Helen got us just right with the contemporary and romantic feel to the garden.

By using timber effect porcelain pavers on the terrace Helen has brought the inside outside and merged the 2.

finished garden

Demi cannot wait to get the Barbecue alight and has already got tonight's menu sorted!

The budget was £20,000 - £25,000 but some structural issues were discovered with the terrace and this meant the final cost was £33,000.

The Acer tree was £500 and the Olive Tree £200 and the total spent on plants was £3,000.

finished garden

Demi now has his kitchen garden right next to the Barbecue ready to flavour the food and he says the money spent on plants was well spent as the garden had no plants, before just a tree.

The garden has given them the opportunity to all be together out in the garden.

Budget Design

Tom and his mum Julie

In Stockton-On-Tees in a new build estate lives 25 year old Tom and his mum Julie come along to help him and his budget is £1,500 with the low budget designer Joel Bird who will still give them a WOW even on a small budget.

Joel will bring his budget saving and design skill to make over the plot and he will use new design technology to showcase his designs and ideas.

Tom new build house comes with the usual boring rectangle of lawn and fences all the way around and Tom hates it!

Before garden

The plot is 5 x 10 metres long and currently has just been used as a dumping ground and is east facing and he feels it has a lack of sunlight.


When he gets home from work the patio next to the house in in shade and the garden is also sloped and this is just another reason for Tom to dislike his garden!

Joel's Design
Tom has lived there for 2 years and still has no idea what to do with the garden so Tom and mum Julie arrive at Garden HQ to meet up with Joel and to see his design ideas.

Angela starts by saying well done at having your own house at 25 and Julie you must be very proud.

Joel says a lot of people will have the same problem with this classic British Garden plot of just a lawn but this has the added problem of being on a gradient thats steeper than it looks.

Joel says the positives are that it gets the sun at the end of the garden.

Tom has £1,500 to spend on the garden and Joel says this will pay for the materials but that does not include any labour so Tom will have to be the labour!

Joel reveals his design on the animated design table and they both gasp and the first thing Julie notices is the trees!

Garden plan

Joel has just £30 a square metre to spend he has used this carefully by adding 2 steps to go up in levels.

Joel has levelled out more useable space in the garden and created a route through it so the whole garden is used.

The 3 new zones are surrounded by raised beds made of timber full of fragrant plants leading towards the decked area at the end of the garden.

Garden plan

The wall at the very end is disguised with a deep planting bed and some feature trees as focal points.

The middle section of the garden has of grass turf and wild flowers and in the middle a normal turf walkway.

Garden plan

Tom and mum Julie are both impressed with the design he has created for his budget but now the hard work for Tom begins in bringing Joel design into reality.

A Work in Progress
Joel arrives for day 1 of Tom's garden makeover and he has 50 square metres of garden with just £1,500 to landscape it all so Tom has to do all the work himself to save on labour costs.

A Work in Progress

Joel starts with the thing that is going to give the garden some structure, the raised bed and he is using sleepers and the tools he needs are a spade, a saw and a screw gun plus the appropriate safety gear!

He starts by marking out where the raised beds are going and then placing the sleepers that are approximately £15 each, cutting them to the right size and then screwing them together.

Once the raised beds are in place and the timber steps the top and bottom of the garden need to be levelled and that means lots of digging.

This is all new to Tom and he is soon sweating but determined to get his garden looking good.

The Grand Reveal
The once grim boring plot has been transformed and Tom and Mum Julie cannot believe how it is now looking.

finished garden

Tom is pleased how well its turned out and so is Joel and Mum Julie is now jealous of her son's garden.

Tom pleased also to have the 2 trees at the bottom and had never thought he could have a tree or afford one but as they are young trees they only cost around £25.00 each.

Although they have had to go for the cheaper option of younger plants Tom says it will be exciting to see it all grow and the garden develop.

finished garden

The garden has the 3 levels, raised beds and the sunny social space from Joel's design.

Joel says the sleepers are a cheap way to get structure and the wild meadow turf covers a large area for approximately £15 a square metre.

There is now a destination with the seating area at the end and now you can use the whole garden.

finished garden

Did they manage all this on the £1,500 budget? They manages all the work except the plants and trees that were an additional £300 but the hard work and expense has all been worth it and the garden looks 'high end' according to Tom.

finished garden

Joel can see how happy Tom is and says his own outdoor space gives him so much enjoyment and he thinks Tom is going to really enjoy his garden too.

A happy Joel walks off ready for next weeks challenge on a budget garden makeover.

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