Love Your Garden Series 11 Episode 4 Woodland Wonders

Love Your Garden Series 11 Episode 4 Woodland Wonders

Alan Titchmarsh is back for this episode of Love Your GardenSeries 11

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 as well as sharing tips and tricks for your own garden.

But series 11 is different they are transforming not one but two gardens with the help of new Love Your Garden Team member Danny Clarke

Alan is in Macclesfield, Cheshire to surprise local legend and dad of 3, Carl Lamptey, who looks a little shocked opening the door.

Carl Lamptey

'Alan Titchmarsh at my front door'!

Alan point out the ramps that are for Elle, Carl's wife and Alan asks them both to join him in the garden.

Carl spends his life helping others and he is married to Elle and they have 3 children, Theo, Ebony and Kenzo.

Theo, Ebony and Kenzo.

Elle suffered a spinal injury 3 years ago that has left her in constant pain meaning that every day tasks are a struggle.

Their friend Hope Campbell says Carl is Elle's rock, and been a huge support for her.

Carl is a carer for adults with special needs and as well as this full time job  he still spends his spare time raising money for charity through galas and sports events and runs the fund raising team.

Carl fundraising

Friend Marc Hough says Carl manages to find all this extra time to help and he has raised over £500.000 for his local Hospice, The East Cheshire Hospice.

They have nominated him for a new garden and Sarah Dale said they couldn't do without him and the work he does.

The Garden
Now its Elle turn for a shock as she sees Alan in her back garden, Carl has to give Elle a piggyback into the garden to meet Alan as she can no longer manage the steps.

Elle turn for a shock as she sees Alan

The bottom of the garden is totally inaccessible for Elle without Carl carrying her and the steps are dangerous and puts them both at risk of injury.

Alan and Carl venture down the steep and slippery steps to the bottom of the garden and there is a raised area with children's climbing frame and toys.

The Garden

The final section has a trampoline and a shed full of clutter.

Alan asks the couple what they dream of for a garden? Carl wants peace and Zen, greenery and he likes taking the children to a local forest.

The Garden

Carl and Son Theo have a punch bag and like keeping fit.

Elle would like space for the children and for it to be safe with no worries and her and Daughter Ebony like Butterflies and Flowers.

Design Concepts
Alan is in Disley to visit a Woodland Garden which connects with the countryside around it and lets nature in.

Disley Woodland Garden

The garden is packed with plants and dappled light from the trees like a Hazel adds the woodland effect without being a dense canopy.

The garden has glimpses of secluded areas and the ground is densely planted with shade loving plants.

Disley Woodland Garden

The understory should look natural even when using cultivated plants like Astrantia also known as Hattie's Pincushion.

The garden has gentle paths that meander around the garden including boardwalks that bring you closer amongst the plants and floating in the canopy.

Disley Woodland Garden

There are no plastic toys instead a swing and campfire.

Even though Carl and Elle garden is a lot smaller Alan hopes to get the feeling of tranquillity as well as fun and adventure for the children into the garden.

Alan starts drawing his plans for the woodland garden.

The garden will have a terrace still outside the back door and so Elle can get to the whole garden there will be an outside lift.

The areas will also have a smooth boardwalk to connect them and at the bottom a grand shed for Carl's interest in Astronomy.


Woodland zones will fill the rest of the garden.

A rustic log dining area that Danny will be in charge of as well as a fire pit.


A play area for the children will be Katie area of garden.

Alan will create a forest area for Elle to be a sanctuary.

A Work in Progress
The contractors have arrived as well as Love Your Garden Team Members Katie Rushworth and Danny Clarke.

Katie was hoping for a go on the new lift but it is still being installed and there is a wonderful view from the top of terrace to the countryside beyond the garden.

Katie Wendy House

She is giving the Wendy House that was on the top patio a spruce up with a woodland makeover a mini woodland hideout to mimic the one at the bottom of the garden.

She has some Willow Fencing that comes in a roll and she is stapling this to the roof of the house and it can be bought cheaply on line or at most Garden Centres.

Katie Wendy House

She is painting the house and for just the price of a £10 tin of paint it can really change the look of something and make it look as good as new.

Alan goes to see what Katie is up to and she has some stump for stepping on to get to the new woodland play area.

She is planning on putting the revamped play house on a deck that will be surrounded by planting with the stumps to access it.

Katie is instructing the contractors where to put her finished playhouse in the play area and it looks very cute painted the same colours as the big summer house.

play area

She is then planting up the area around it in layers starting with ground cover and she is using robust plants like Periwinkle Vinca Minor for a small area or there is a Major for large areas of ground cover.

She also has a Bergenia also known as Elephant Ears and has large evergreen leaves with pink flower spikes.


One of her favourite plants is Persicaria Affinis and can cover large spaces and is long flowering.

Now its time for the trees and Katie has picked a magnificent Acer Palmatum Skeeters Red which looks great next to the Wendy house.


At the base of the tree she has added a Tiarella whose leaf contains a maple leaf shape.

Katie is adding a rustic balance beam to the children's play area and Alan quick to try it out!

Danny is commenting on how steep the garden is but the decking has been put in to take you from one side to the other so it takes a lot of the steepness away.


Underneath the decking's frame there is a weed suppressant membrane and the boards they are using are Composite made from recycling plastics.

Danny is starting work on the rustic seating area inspired by what you might find in a forest and he starts with the uprights that are made of tanalised timber.

This will mean they last a long time but the roof has a natural finish with branches and they are going to paint the uprights so it blends in with the natural look.

Danny is Pole dancing

Alan comes over to see if Danny is Pole dancing and comments how tall the poles are but he is planning on lowering the height for the dining area.

Danny is sawing the Hazel poles for the dining area roof and as it is prone to splitting he is pre drilling some pillar holes in.


You can get coppiced Hazel Poles from a specialist supplier and depending on size can cost a few pounds a pole.

Because Danny is making it rustic it doesn't matter if its not to accurate in the putting up of the poles.

Next he is surrounding the arbour with plants and he has some Heucheras for ground cover and the purple leaves remain all year it does have a flower spike but Danny cuts his off as prefers the leaves.


To climb up the arbour he has a Honeysuckle which is fast growing and has very fragrant flowers for the couple to enjoy.

Danny is helping with the firepit at the end of the garden which at the moment is a circle of raised granite stones, he then adds the outdoor cooking equipment.

Alan is looking at the plant delivery and he starts with the Trees and in a small garden Japanese maples are a good tree to buy as well as the Silver Birch, Betula Jacquemontii.

Alan trees

Birches canopy is light and feathery so you get a nice dappled shade thats not too dark and gloomy.

He also has a Prunus Serrula a Cherry tree with a wonderful bark like mahogany.

The underplanting all are happy in the dappled shade of the trees including Gillenia which has delicate white flowers and works well with Jacob's Ladder Lambrook Mauve.


Alan also has some native plants like Sweet Woodruff which used to be used as a strewing herb as a flooring in mud huts leaving them smelling sweet.

Alan says the problems that Elle had accessing the garden have now been changed as they have added a terrace at the top surrounded by Hazel hurdles and this leads to a lift.

Alan tries out the lift

Alan tries out the lift which means Elle can get herself into the garden any time she wants without waiting for Carl to carry or assist her.

He is desperate to start adding some plants to the garden and he is starting with the top bed by the terrace which is full of bricks so far!

The lift is quiet an intrusive piece of equipment and Alan hopes to soften it with some planting.

Some top soil is added to the bed and as well as planting Alan has a special feature for the bed but creating a stumpery with old tree stumps and Ferns in the corner.


Unfortunately this means some very large and awkward stumps need manoeuvring into the garden but of course not by Alan!

Once they have made a ramp to get it down into the garden there just the problem of getting the stump positioned right for Alan's approval!

Finally Alan gets to start planting the trees and he starts with A Himalayan Cherry in the bed by the lift and he adds some smaller shrubs to help disguise the lift.

He using Evergreens an Osmanthus and Portugal Laurel and a deciduous Viburnum and a Japanese Maple all setting off the tree stump nicely.

Physocarpus Red Baron

The next shrub he is adding is one he doesn't like much a Physocarpus Red Baron which is deciduous and it has pink pom-pom flowers.

Finally a Penstemon whose stem colour all goes well with all the others in the bed and its all looking rather good!


Now its the Stumps turn and he is tipping some top soil into the hole in it to plant a fern in the trunk and these are pushed in firmly.

Alan at the bottom of the garden by the summer house which is an area to spend the evening and there is going to be a fire pit in the middle but he wants to get the border in front planted first. 

First to be put into its planting position is a multi stemmed Birch which he puts right in the middle then a Cornus Canadensis Chinese Dogwood which is a large shrub / small tree which has early summer flowers.

Alan is adding some nature therapy to Elle's area and it is a part of the garden she has been unable to get to before.

He thinks it will be nice for her to put her feet on damp moss or Shinrin-Yoku, forest bathing and you need to make sure the moss is from a source that is able to take the moss from the wild.

The moss should not be left to dry out so in dry weather it needs watering with a watering can and rose.

It is a lot easier to cut and place than turf as it just pulls apart with no join.

Alan and Katie

Alan calls on Katie to test his forest bathing and she pulls up a nearby log to try it out! Katie is enjoying the sensation but Alan soon puts her back to work.

With the last finishing touches added the Woodland Garden is complete.

The Grand Reveal

Carl and Elle open your Eyes

Carl and Elle

*Speechless* 'Oh my goodness' 'i am just overwhelmed, I can't...' As they both go down in the new lift... 'I'm down' 'crikey' 'thank you so much' Carl breaks down in tears 'You just don't expect these things to happen to us and stuff''! 'I'm just' 'you deserve it' says Elle giving him a hug. 'it's true if you keep on going whatever you go through , good things will happen'. 


An emotional Carl sees his telescope and says he needs to put a bed in his new star gazing hut!

Finished garden

A woodland wonderland

Finished garden

A top terrace and lift

Finished garden

Boardwalk surrounded by planting

Play areas for the children

Finished garden

Outdoor rustic dining area

Forest Bathing area for Elle

Explorers Den for stargazing

Finished garden

Firepit and outdoor cooking area

The children are soon running round the garden and exploring their new play areas as a happy mum and dad have finally all got together to enjoy the new garden and all the new adventures to come.

Frances Tophill is in Accrington to transform a back yard for Norma Feathers who is a Widow after losing her husband Martin about 18 months ago.

Glenice Korden says what a good friend Norma is to everyone.

Norma married her childhood sweetheart Martin aged just 19, as was a busy working mother.

Norma  Martin

Jacquie Creig, her daughter says she has designed dresses and donated them to children's home and she worked and volunteered for the Probation Service and worked in soup kitchens for homeless people.

Martin was just 58 when he had a heart attack and Norma became his full time carer up until he died in 2019 after 58 years of married life together.

The Garden
It is not so much of a garden but a courtyard dominated by a pebble dashed garage on one side and pebble dashed house on the other.

garden before

Frances greets Norma in her garden and she points out there not much too it Bins in one area and she never uses it as it is horrible.

Norma has a lovely front garden Frances points out and she did this when Martin was ill to help her relax.

Frances greets Norma

Jacquie her daughter says her mum has been quite down since her dad died and Norma would love to have the family round in her garden.

The garden though is uninviting and in desperate need of a makeover to make it look more natural.

Design Concepts
Frances is visiting a small urban garden in South London for her design ideas.

The garden is only 3.5 by 5.5 metres in size but it still has the enclosed woodland feel.


They have used a lot of plants in the garden and made use of vertical planting to get more into the garden for that lush feel.

The garden has a contemporary feel with simple seating and sharp lines and it has an amazing Tree Fern as a statement plant.

Frances starts drawing her plans for Norma's yard and she plans to dig up some of the paving for a border and add trees and underplanting.

She needs to disguise the pebble dash wall, make somewhere for the bins and somewhere for Norma to relax in with the family.

A Work in Progress
The Landscape team have arrived to start clearing the garden and for this makeover there is only one of the Love Your Garden Team, Frances Tophill.

Frances first job is the boundaries and she is painting them a dark colour to merge them into the background.


Next job is to disguise the pebble dash and she is doing this by creating a living wall out of a pre bought kit.

The planting compartments click together and she is planning on planting ferns and other lush planting.

living wall

This is a cost effective way of covering the wall as well as being environmentally friendly as it will insulate the wall.

She is filling them up with water as they have a reservoir so the plants are kept watered.


To fill this wall will take over 300 plants and Frances is feeling that this is going to be a big task to get them all in and looking good.

She is trying to make it look natural by planting in drifts of the same plant like Dryopteris which is a common woodland fern and to contrast she has Asian Holly Fern.

For flowers she is adding Oxalis with its yellow flowers and can take over the garden is planted out but will be ok in the living wall.

The slabs are coming up for Frances new border and she is digging out the old sand and cement base ready to add some new top soil.


Now she is ready for some statement trees but she is going miniature and she starts with some Conifers, Junipers, which grows upright and not too tall.

Trees need looking after in their first year to get established with plenty of watering and never plant them too deep and should be at same level as when in the pot.


She want the area to look like a natural woodland floor so she is adding some white and blue Geraniums and some Hostas  and an Epimedium with its mound of leaves.

In an old oak barrel she is making centre piece for the garden a miniature woodland and she has a delicate leafed Japanese Maple as the statement tree.

Japanese Maple

Around the bottom she is adding a Tiarella and it is shade tolerant and a plant thats specifically for pots is a Muehlenbeckia and this will cascade down the side.

Frances has come up with a clever bin store idea to disguise the bins and she adds some final touches of spray painted designs on the patio.

The furniture comes in as well as the final touches and the yard makeover is complete.

The Grand Reveal

Norma open your eyes

Norma and Frances

'wow wow!' 'ooh it's amazing' 'it's fantastic' 'flippin eck! don't know how you fit it all in' 

Finished garden

A lush living wall

Finished garden

Seating area by a mini woodland

Finished garden

Mini woodland centrepiece

Finished garden

Bin store

Her daughter Jacquie arrives and is shocked by all the greenery and I am sure they will soon put it to use with a cuppa!

All Photographs are Copyright of


Landscape Team

Jason Williams

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