Love Your Garden Series 10 Episode 5 A Wild Family Garden

Love Your Garden Series 10 Episode 5 A Wild Family Garden

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 Middlesbrough on the River Tees to surprise a young woman who is a Community Champion, as well as having health challenges herself.

Phillipa Donegan

He arrives to find the choice of 2 doors at the house and he knocks at the first one the other one opens with a shocked Phillipa Donegan.

Once Alan found the way in we meet Lisa who is Pip's support Worker, Husband John and  2 year old son Harrison.

Pip has spent the last 7 years helping others by running Soup Kitchens, helping disadvantaged Children and Campaigning for the Disabled.

Her Friend and Local Councillor Philippa Storey says what a positive person she is and Mandy Bass, Support Worker and Friend says she has so much energy for all her causes.

Phillipa Donegan

Pip recently has started a food Bank Delivery Service for the most in need from her spare room.

Steph Roundsmith Friend and Fundraiser said it started small with her helping a few local families and now it helps so many people that she had to move out of the spare room.

She joined forces with a local charity and PIPSCO Accessible Foodbank has grown ever since and now delivers right across the Valley.

Sharlein Smales

Sharlein Smales from Tees Valley Together & PIPSCO  says she a force to be reckoned with.

For Pip supporting people and her Community is a way of life and it distracts her from herself and her problems.

Pip was a Navy chef but her career was cut short by the onset of her genetic condition Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS) and this affects all her body, her joints dislocate easily and she is also tube fed due to gastral failure.


Pip cannot get out in the garden presently and she admits it is a bit messy!

Harrison loves being outside and is an outdoor child that cant make full use of the garden at present.

A garden where she can just open the doors and he can play safely is a dream as well as show him how to grow fruit and vegetables and where they come from.

Pip with Harrison

Alan promises Pip that she will be outside with Harrison enjoying the garden.

The Garden 
Alan goes into the garden through the side gate to have a look at it for the first time, 'oh crikey' are his first words.

The Garden

The garden is very square and is covered with slabs and a few overgrown raised beds and lots of mess.

Alan says small gardens are harder to design due to the amount of things you need to put in them and for them to still work.

Alan paces out the garden and its 8 paces wide and only 6 paces long so it is a very small garden.

The Garden

The garden has to be suitable for Mum, Dad, Tiny tot and a wheelchair and Alan cant resist the challenge of making a garden that at last Pip can come out into.

Design Concepts
Alan is in North London to visit an urban garden that is similar to what he wants to create, a wild woolly wilderness in a back garden.

Design Concepts

This Islington back yard is a  secluded woodland sanctuary that takes you away from City life.

Similar to this one with the French doors he wants to give Pip a view straight down the garden as well as access.

Design Concepts

Colourful planting and nature is right up to the house and the hard landscaping fits in with the design.

Rustic natural materials have been used for the path, timber and gravel with wild planting to the edges to soften the look.

Shade loving plants like Ferns and Bluebells look natural and rustic vertical planter make us of the space and planted with herbs.

Design Concepts

A galvanised tank filled with plants and babbling water adds to the relaxing feel of the garden next to a seating area.

Alan starts on his woodland garden design  and his challenge is to give Pip access via the French doors to all of the garden.

A decked area and a playhouse for Harrison that Katie will design and build.


Frances is to create a Dinosaur play area for Harrison down the side of the building.

David will make some vertical planters for grow your own vegetables.

Alan will give Pip a beautiful area to look at with a picnic area, water feature and planting.

Katie is off to look for inspiration for her play area for Harrison in Chorley Lancashire to meet Ollie an Outdoor Play Specialist .


The playhouse he has built has a Winnie the Pooh theme of being very rustic looking and they brought a trunk of a tree in to build it around.

It has used reclaimed materials like tree branches, old tiles and bleached planks of wood which were all found in the woods or grounds.

He suggests getting wood from an reclamation yard or breaking up pallets.


They have made it to look like its just been thrown together but it is actually made to safety standards.

Ollie advice is do not try to make it level, if it looks good, just add it on there.

Katie tries out the zip wire but there will not be room for that in the garden!

David has been looking at options if you want to grow your own at home and the best thing to start with is a small raised bed.

He has a metal self assembly raised bed which is easy to slot together with wing nuts its only 30cm deep though so only suitable for small rooted crops.

metal self assembly raised bed

This one cost him £147.99 but will be perfect for salads and herbs.

If you have a small space this is just perfect.

The next option is mid range in price and that is to build your own raised beds.

David is using 2 scaffold boards, 2 by 2 timber, some deck screws and a damp proof membrane and this comes to about £72.00.

This will make a 1 metre by 1 metre bed and he uses the 2 by 2 in the corners to screw the sides together and it makes it very secure.

raised bed

He paints them a nice grey to help protect the wood and then staples the damp proof membrane in place.

His moneysaving tip is to use the compost bags you are using to fill it with as liners.

If you are not into growing vegetables you can fill them with anything you like growing instead.

A Work in Progress
The Contractors have arrived and the Love Your Garden team of David Domoney, Katie Rushworth and Frances Tophill.

David is showing us how to create a raised bed that is curved and he is using some railway sleepers and for smaller gaps a fence post as these help shape the curve.

David Domoney

David next job is the vertical planters and he is measuring and drawing a plan and he says any one can find space to grow their own even if it is vertical space on a wall or fence.

He can fit 3 vertical planters in the floor space of 1 planter and he using Waney edge timber to keep it looking wild and rustic.


The front of the planters have been cut at an angle so they flute outwards.

He lines them with a bit of plastic, in this case left over pond liner as it makes them last longer and holds the water but you do need to remember to add drainage holes in the bottom.

Fence panels will not hold the weight so David has concreted in 2 posts to hold the weight of the planters and it keeps them away from the fence.

David is planting up his planters

David is planting up his planters with Strawberries that will trail down so the fruit will not rot on the ground.

Next it is Tomato plants and as well as small bush varieties you can also get trailing ones like Tumbler that will cascade over the sides and these will need regular watering and feeding.

Katie has started painting the fences near the 2 by 3 metre area she is making into Harrison play area, which is also shaded so is good for playing out all day.

To give the illusion of space she is painting a forest scape mural to go behind the play structure on large marine Ply weatherproof boards with exterior paint.

Alan and Katie

Alan comes to have a look and Katie is using a small roller on a 45 degree angle to create spruce trees and landscape.

Katie is pleased with how the simple design of light to dark colours looks.

Katie is cementing in the posts for her play den for Harrison to which she will attach the base of the den, after that she is just going to use her imagination!


She uses a jigsaw to then give the base a wibbly wobbly line and adds wooden crossbars made of rustic poles.

Katie needs to move her backboards with the woodland mural on into place next and it is quite tricky to get it to hang right.


David and Frances help pass it over the top of the play den to put it in place behind. Why didn't she do it before building it?

Katie now has to surround her Den with planting and as this is the access into the den, it has to be tough and hardy too.


She is using a selection of evergreens as well as some flowers and the first plant in is Vinca Minor which is evergreen, suppresses weeds and flowers.

She is also adding some Dwarf Rhododendrons and giant Snowdrops or Snowflakes which are bulbs and taller than snowdrops.

Frances is starting to transform the dead end down the side of the house and is using Harrison's love of Dinosaurs as the inspiration.


She is raising everything up to his level so is using raised beds made of scaffolding boards at a height suitable for playing in.

Frances is sorting through the rubbish and clutter cleared from the garden and is looking for stuff for Dino Land.

She has found some rocks, plants and a wire waste paper basket which she is going to use as a mould for a volcano!


She cuts the wire off and shapes it into a cone before mixing some concrete and covers this over the wire and uses water to drizzle lava runs from the top.

Alan calls it not Prehistoric but pre-hysteric!

The rapid cement costs about £4 and goes off in 5 - 30 mins but needs 24 hours to be really set hard and Frances is drizzling red paint lava down from the top of the set volcano.

Frances is putting together Dino World and carefully slides the volcano into place first in the bed thats been filled with soil.


The plants she is using are trying to mimic the landscape but on a tiny scale so it is a tiny garden for Dinosaurs.

She has a Hebe and she is removing the bottom leaves to make it look like a tree.

In the corner she has Ferns and Mosses and they will be happy in the shady corner.

Dino World

David turns up with some plants and a Dinosaur puppet to scare Frances, they are having way to much fun in Dino World!

Frances just had to add some more greenery to the side of the house and has a thin border that is very challenging as its dark.

Woodland plants

She is using Woodland plants like Heuchera and Ivy.  

Alan is in the neighbours garden who has allowed them to store the plants in and he is dividing them into shade plants and sunny area plants.

He has some grasses that you can get from any garden centre in a array of colours, size and varieties and they come from wide open spaces and love sunshine.


Also big bright flowers like Wallflowers love sunshine.

So 'big bright or grassy, sunshine' says Alan.

For shade think evergreens  like Spotted Laurel aka Aucuba and Ferns and its really important to get the right plants in the right places.

Alan starting work on his water feature which so far is a hole in the ground he is lining and a pile of natural stones.

The idea is to make it look naff so its natural as possible but Alan says thats actually quite hard.


The underlay covers any sharp stones and then he puts on the pond liner and a hose is passed over the fence to fill the reservoir. 

You add the water before adding the stones so that the liner is pulled down and is not too tense that it rips with the heavy stones on top.

He then puts the pump in and it has an extension hose for the water that will come down the waterfall.

He then adds a metal grid to cover the top in rocks and hide the reservoir and make it safe for children.


He adds them to mirror nature and the strata needs to be kept horizontal and he packs the back of the waterfall with earth to hold it steady.

He puts the waterfall pipe on a solid base and he is doing his best to convince himself it will look good.

Alan adding the statement tree to his waterfall area with a bit of help as its rather big and heavy.

David is helping get it down the passageway but it is very heavy, there a manhole in the way and Alan is watching their every move.

Magnolia Stellata 'Rosea'

Finally the magnificent Magnolia makes it to the planting home in one piece with most of its flowers intact.

After some adjusting the Star Magnolia or Magnolia Stellata 'Rosea' in in the right place to be seen from the French Doors and it will not need to be pruned at all.

Alan is back to the water feature and he puts some chicken wire over the grid to stop pebbles from falling into the reservoir.

He is using Scottish Pebbles and you can get bags of them from your Garden Centre or DIY shop for £8 - £12.

Once he has tipped them on he looks at the 3 outlets he has for the water for the waterfall which are amongst the rocks and before he mortars them in he checks them.

water feature

They turn on the pump and the water is going all the wrong way, so he turns it off and adjusts them and it is worse.

Third attempt at getting the water flow right and by pushing some stones under the rocks it is perfect.

Alan is planting up the picnic area and the decking has already been done and covered with plastic.

He is filling the area with sun loving plants that have a lovely fragrance and is planting a Cherry Tree and the variety is Bride and he plants it at the same depth it was in in the pot.


He treads it well in using his heel and next in is the flowering shrubs and he starts with a glorious Viburnum which loses its leaves in Winter but has these flowers in Spring.

He teases out some of the roots so its not pot bound or it will get waterlogged and may rot and die.

The planting continues around the waterfall area and he is taking inspiration from a past exchange trip to the Bavarian Alps and small Rhododendrons growing next to mountain streams.


Nest to the water he is planting Ferns which grow from spores on the leaves and they like damp shade.

In front of the water he is planting Cowslips, Irish Moss and Saxifrages for that natural look.

With the finishing touches done the garden is now complete.

The Grand Reveal

Pip open your eyes

Pip open your eyes

'Oh my god' 'oh my gosh' 'that is just amazing' 'I am really speechless' 'Oh my goodness' 'Completely taken my breath away' 'oh you got Dinosaurs in there he gonna love it, it's a little Dinosaur world'

John and Harrison open your eyes
'Whoaaaaa' from John and Harrison is off, first to the waterfall and then his den.


Until he spots Dino World and he is soon playing with them all.


A wild and natural wonderland of a garden

A treehouse den

A treehouse den

Vertical vegetable growing

Dino World

Dino World

Picnic area with waterfall

Picnic area with waterfall

Pip and John are in the new picnic area as Harrison runs around playing in the new garden and Alan is so happy to see them all outside enjoying their new garden.

All Photographs are Copyright of


Landscape Team

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