Love Your Garden Series 10 Episode 7 A little Bit Of Malta

Love Your Garden Series 10 Episode 7 A little Bit Of Malta

Alan Titchmarsh is back for the another episode of Love Your Garden Series 10

He starts the programme by saying 'this year Britain has fallen head over heels for gardening'.

So Alan is back and shocking our unsung heroes on their doorsteps and transforming their gardens.

Alan is in Netherton, near Dudley in the West Midlands to surprise a special family.

He rings the door bell and a very shocked Joanna, Partner James and 4 year old Laurie greets him to cries of 'oh my god'!

Joanna, Partner James and 4 year old Laurie

James tells Alan they have only lived in the brand new house for 3 months so the garden is brand new to them too.

James works at a Nursing home in Kidderminster and it was his work colleague Penny Reece who nominated him for a garden makeover.

She says all the residents love James and he cannot do enough for them.


This is a complete career change for James who previously joined the army at the age of 16 and was in the Parachute Regiment.

Mum Deborah Read says it was something he had always wanted to do.

At 18 a suicide bomber in Afghanistan killed 3 of his best friends whilst they were on patrol which caused James to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

He met Jo when they were both working in a Care Home and she helped him get back on track then they had Laurie who was born in 2017 with Rett Syndrome. 

Joanna, Partner James and 4 year old Laurie

This is a rare neurological condition that effects brain function and mobility and Mum Joanna says they try to make every day special.

She says James is an amazing dad and will do anything for them 'he is like the rock of our family'.

The Garden
James takes Alan to see the garden of the new build bungalow and Alan thinks its boring and featureless.

There is nothing of interest, nothing to make you come out and wander.

The Garden

James says he would like it to be flat and not on a hill so Laurie can access it with her walker.

A pathway so Laurie can get around the garden, a place to sit and somewhere to entertain as they love having the family round.

The Garden

Alan asks where is there happy place and James said they really enjoyed their holiday in Malta and the Mediterranean style garden.

Design Concepts
Alan is off looking for inspiration for the young families Modern Mediterranean garden to remind them of a great holiday in Malta.

He is in a Suburban garden designed by Lucy Wilcox in London which has a series of distinct outdoor rooms.

The Garden

The garden has areas to relax in that are sun traps surrounded by Mediterranean planting to make you feel you are on holiday.

She has also included secluded shady seating areas and nooks to find peace and quiet.

She has used a Weeping Cherry as a feature tree and it is surrounded by gravel so it gets your full attention.

The Garden

There is a gravel, arid area with sparse planting to reflect the Mediterranean heat and every plant is highlighted.

There is an entertaining area with a large table and chairs.

Alan sets to work drawing his plan for the garden and because the garden is a rectangle he sets the path at a 45 degree angle so you want to go and explore and that its not a straight view up the garden.

Alan Titchmarsh

There a lawn and paths surrounding it and the garden will have 2 levels split by a retaining wall to make flat areas for Laurie.

Frances is to make an area for Laurie with a swing and do an area of Mediterranean plants.

Katie job is the relaxing area to sit and unwind in.

plan for the garden

David is to do the entertainment area.

Alan is to do an evening relaxing zone to catch the last of the sun with a drink.

Frances is off to Surrey for inspiration for her pots on the patio and she is at Lowder Mill a garden that has plenty of them.


Anne Denning finds room for quirky planters in every spot of her garden.

Anne greets Frances and she takes her on a tour of her stunning garden and tells her that she collects pots from everywhere and is always on the look out for unusual things.

Anne plants in anything from bird cages to bread bins and she has an old cart she got from an auction and she filled it with pansies from the supermarket.

old cart

Anne trick is she plants them up in plant pots that are hidden by moss so she can move them about easily and change them.

To make the pots the right height she stands them on upturned plant pots in the cart.

By the front door Anne has 2 standard Hollies in pots which really makes a statement, and by spending money on big pots you get that big statement.

standard Hollies in pots

She fills the pot top with Pine Cones, which are not only decorative but stops the weeds and the Squirrels love to scatter them everywhere.

In the Winter Anne is busy in the greenhouse cultivating plants for her pots and she shows Frances how its best to display pots of various sizes.

display pots

She displays in odd numbers usually 3s and it has to look balanced but it also needs to have a common theme.

Container Gardens
Sharon has used old container like punnets, toilet roll holders and yoghurt pots to grow seed and seedlings in.

Container Gardens

She uses an old crate to grow vegetables in which she has lined with a old compost bag.

David shows us how to make saving from plants we can buy at the garden centre.

He shows us a large plant that will give you an instant impact for £23 but by buying a smaller cheaper version for £2.50 and growing it on yourself.

You can get free plants by taking cuttings from your existing plants like Rosemary.


He removes the lower leaves and makes a cut to where it is swelling and places it in in water to root.

Once they have rooted he pots them into small pots and in about a year the plant will be big enough to plant out.

A Work in Progress
The Contractors Hortus Paradis arrive to start work as well as the Love Your Garden Team of David Domoney, Katie Rushworth and Frances Tophill

David is tackling the problem of the height levels and he is putting together a Gabion which is a cage you can fill with pebbles, stone etc.

David Domoney

The one he is making costs about £45.00 plus whatever you fill it with.

His Pebbles have arrived and now comes the heavy task of wheeling the round to the garden and there is 12 Ton to shift!

David Domoney

To fill them you put the cobbles at the front and back fill it with soil, or old bricks and this saves money.

Gabions make perfect retaining walls.

David next job is the shed which is in the space between Katie's tranquil area and his outdoor kitchen.

The shed not only for storage, it will have a living roof and it is going to have shelves on the side for the outdoor kitchen.

outdoor kitchen

His challenge is not to make it look like a large imposing shed and he starts by painting it the same grey colour as the fence.

He then puts up the rustic shelves made of scaffolding boards then at the bottom some more Gabions to hold the kitchen worktop.

He is using Marine ply as the work top as it is suitable for outdoors and he is tiling the top and he is using a random pattern.

 David is adding his green roof

David is adding his green roof to the shed and first he adds a surround for the top to contain the soil and he then adds a liner and fleece to stop the soil sliding off.

The soil is a mixture of expanded Volcanic Rock and sand so it does not get waterlogged.

Alan and Katie help pass him the rolls of plants and get covered in dust.

David is adding his green roof

The base of the plant roll is a Coir Mat with the roots of the Sedums growing through already and he unrolls the mat.

David is finishing off the kitchen area with some planting in the top of some Gabions and he has chosen to use herbs so they can use them in their cooking.

Katie starts work painting the fence before getting her own Gabions to make a water feature.

She has arranged several Gabions and fastened them together, before adding the stones and they can take a lot of stones!

Katie Rushworth

She is making progress with her water feature now the Gabions are full and she is filling up the reservoir which already has a pump in it.

From the pump there is a pipe that goes round the back and she has added a splitter so it goes into 2 pipes that will come out the front for the water to flow round.

She is planting in some of the Gabions around the water feature so she has cut a large pot to size.


She is planting Iris Confusa it is also known as Bamboo Iris as the leaves look like Bamboo and it has blue flowers.

She is planting them in a mix of topsoil and compost and they will soon fill the container.


Katie is working on the tranquil corner for James and she has gone for lush planting and she planting enmasse some Agapanthus.

Katie final job is to cut excess hose on her water feature to hide it in the pipe and to test it.

water feature

She turns the water on with Alan watching  and with a bit of fiddling she get them to flow evenly.

Frances is starting work on Laurie's play area by digging out 4 holes for the posts of Laurie's new swing.

The hole needs to be a third depth to the height of the post, so thats a big hole measuring half a metre in depth. Hurry up and dig them Frances!

Once they are finally in and secured using concrete they add the cross beam to the swing.

David and Alan

Frances huge collection of various style and size pots have arrived and David and Alan are roped in to transporting them into the garden.

Alan insults Davis Stature and his ability to squeeze into the gap behind the pots and Alan runs away with David chasing him!

Frances has a little trouble getting the pot off one of the Laurel plants and David assists, first with brute force, then with aid of a saw, they finally get the cut pot off!

Frances and David

Now the time to arrange the pots using Anne Denning's advice and she is raising them off the ground on pot feet for drainage.

She is grouping them in odd numbers and all the pots are Terracotta but all different shapes and sizes to give a rustic look.


She is going for Mediterranean foliage plants like Convolvulus, Artemisia and Senecio  to give a contemporary look.

She is then covering the soil with pebbles and gravel.

On the lower level near Laurie's play area Frances is planting some sensory plants.

Frances is planting Lamb's Ears, Rosemary, Lavender so things that are nice to touch and plants that smell nice.

The swing is up and Frances tests it.

Alan is having a look at the plants that have arrived for the garden and with the Mediterranean theme the Pencil Cypresses will set the scene.

Pencil Cypresses

Any plant with Grey leaves gives you the feel of the Med even if they do not come from there, although come from a hot country as the hairs on the leaves helps them conserve water.

Alan levelling the ground on his Sundowner area for the evening drink area in the last of the sun.

They start moving the plants into the garden which is a massive challenge to carry them all through from the front.

Placing plants

Once they have moved over 40 plants its now a case of placing them all into position which needs careful consideration as needs to be right for the plant and to look good from all angles.

Frances has already taken a Cyprus! They start placing the big plants first to add the structural element.

The Cyprus add not only a vertical element but blocks views and casts shadows over the garden like a sundial.

Alan is trying to achieve an arid look with his planting to which he will add gravel and rocks.


He is using architectural plants like Phormiums and Yuccas and for where they will be seating his is adding a fragrant Osmanthus Burkwoodii which is an evergreen shrub which can grow up to 10 foot high.

Next he is adding some Euphorbias.

Alan huge Olive tree

Alan huge Olive tree has arrived and they cannot get it in the garden with the swing and Pergola in the way.

It also weighs half a ton and they man handle it under the swing then it needs to be moved 15 yards up the garden.

The olive is between 100 - 150 years old and pruned hard to get all the young growth on top and Alan does not want it damage.

They are using an Egyptian trick of putting round posts under the pot and moving it slowly along on a roller. 

Alan huge Olive tree

It is finally out of the pot and in the hole, which just needs filling in.

With the Olive Tree Alan is planting Lavender.

With just a few finishing touches the garden makeover is complete.

The Grand Reveal

James, Joanna and Laurie open your eyes

James, Joanna and Laurie

'Oh wow!' 'No' 'No!' 'It's amazing' 'Fantastic' 'There's so much of it' 'there was just a little bit of grass and now wow' 'yeah' 

Laurie is keen to try her new swing and she looks very happy.

They walk round the garden with Laurie pointing out everything.

The Modern Mediterranean Garden

Entertainment area with outdoor kitchen

Entertainment area with outdoor kitchen

Evergreen planting

Multifunctional shed

Multifunctional shed

Pergola Swing with Sensory Garden

Pergola Swing with Sensory Garden

Tranquil corner with water feature

Sundowner area

Sundowner area

James says 'this doesn't happen to people like us' Alan says 'it just has'!


Alan asks Laurie if she likes the garden and a delighted Laurie squeals 'yes'.

As family see the new garden, drinks are poured in the new entertaining area for the first time in there very first garden.

All photographs are copyright of


Landscape Team

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