Love Your Garden Series 11 Episode 5

Love Your Garden Series 11 Episode 5

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 Barry, Wales to surprise Dad and Army Veteran Dale who needs a garden not only for himself but his family too.


Alan goes to the back garden to surprise him and its all very concrete and he taps on the French doors and a shocked Dale opens the door laughing followed by several 'oh my god'!

Dale has been nominated by his Caseworker Tom to have a look at his concrete back garden.

Dale joined the Army at 16 and when he turned 18 he went to Iraq, Bosnia then in 2009 to Afghanistan.


It was then that his world turned upside down.

Tom Hall a Support Worker from Blesma, the charity for Limbless Veterans, says Dale is so resilient with a good sense of humour and a cheeky lad.

Tom Hall

Dale went through a horrendous experience in Afghan when his vehicle went over a IED, he lost his leg above the knee as well as other injuries and was in a coma for 8 weeks.

Dale cannot remember a thing about him being on Patrol that day.

vehicle went over a IED

He has been having support from Blesma he has begun his rehabilitation but has mobility issues and has PTSD.

Dale says he has down days when he doesn't want to even talk so he will go and sit in his car for a few hours.

Dale is married to Laura and they have 3 sons Liam, Mathew and Louis.

Laura and they have 3 sons Liam, Mathew and Louis

The children are always wanting to play football with their Dad and he uses his crutches and gives everything a go for the children.

The kids have a super hero Dad not a disabled one.

The Garden 
Alan comments that the garden is all concrete and no soil anywhere and Dale says no its just like a concrete yard.

The Garden

Alan says there no incentive to come out into the garden, there is an empty flower bed covered in weed suppressant and with brambles growing through.

The Garden

It is surrounded by an ugly wall but the garden itself is a lovely shape but Alan comments its a hard garden to get about let alone for amputee Dale.

Dale says this one section of the garden by the French doors is his pen.

Dale and Alan

Tom his support worker says the garden will make a huge difference to Dale and his family and no one deserves it more.

Dale calls Laura into the garden and she is just as shocked to see Alan in her garden and the boys come out to see what's going on.


Alan asks Laura what her dream garden is she wants paradise and somewhere we can all be together as a family. 

He asks if there is anything that needs to stay and she says her Rhubarb.

They both say how it will change their lives being able to all come out in the garden and just be.


It is independence says Alan, this one at the moment is robbing you of that and he promises them a nice garden to come out into.

Design Concepts
Alan is in Swansea to visit a garden for inspiration to help him design a garden to suit the whole family.

The garden is super stylish and modern with sleek hard landscaping but soft planted areas.

stylish and modern garden

It has social areas suitable for the whole family with an outside kitchen and bar that is central to the whole garden.

It has work surfaces made of polished concrete and a grey slate floor picked up in the grey and white ceramic tiles of the kitchen.

They have used different landscaping in each area and the dining area has a concrete base with a crazy paving path leading to it.

stylish and modern garden

In between each step they have planted Creeping Thyme, Corsican Mint and Erigeron which softens the steps plus smells lovely when trodden on or brushed against.

The giant 7 by 4 metres covered seating area is where it shows the Hard Landscaping and soft planting at its best.

stylish and modern garden

This building would dominate the garden but it has a fantastic green roof that blends it to the surrounding planting.

Planting a green roof is very environmentally friendly and this one is attractive too.

They have used drought tolerant planting like Thyme, Salvias and Sedums.

stylish and modern garden

In the garden is also an area set aside for quiet contemplation under the shade of trees and surrounded by lush ferns.

It is near the pond so the sound of the running water is very relaxing and this area would be so much better for Dale to escape to than his car in the drive!

Alan starts on his plans for the garden that will mean that Dale can access the whole garden with access ramps.

Alan's plans

A pergola covered seating area and bar for David to do.

A children's area for Frances to design with a circular lawn area, planting and Crumble Corner!

Alan is going to do the area near the side of the house for a therapeutic sanctuary for Dale.

Planting will link the garden together to make it a modern and functional space for them all to enjoy.

Alan's plans

A Work in Progress
The contractors arrive to start the garden along with Love Your Garden Team members David Domoney and Frances Tophill

David is starting work on the pergola that is going to be the framework for the entertainment area and it is in a lovely sunny position by the house.

David Domoney

The paving they are using in the garden ties it all together with its bold pattern.

Alan comes to see what he been up to and he likes the cladding on the walls some dark and some lighter grey.

The pergola has also been painted light grey and Alan likes the new access ramp into the whole garden.


But then he notices someone has sat on the beloved Rhubarb!

David is using an old pallet to create it into a picture frame and he has made a frame and covered the back in plastic.

picture frame

He is now adding compost and as the frame has been attached to the fence at a 15 degree angle he is planting the whole back of the frame up!

He is planning to fill it with Sempervivum which translates to 'always alive' as the plant can tolerate extremes of temperature.

Each individual floret is a different plant so when you buy them you are getting a lot of plants in one pot!

David with Sempervivum

It is going to be low maintenance as the top of the frame has been left open so the rain can flow through and there are drainage holes at the bottom to stop it getting waterlogged.

Alan and Frances come for a look and really like it although Frances implies it not a real pallet transformation as he has covered it in cladding!

David now has the help of Ricky and Andrew who are Dales former Colleagues and they quickly start work on the bar!

Now sat at the Bar David as them about the camaraderie in the Regiment? They say its amazing and you don't get the same laugh with civilians friend 

Frances has made plans to add height to her borders by making home made obelisks.

She is not making traditional cottage garden Obelisks but more modern ones and Obelisks not only have a use to support plants but also to make an impact in the garden.

home made obelisks

Frances is using five 180cm metal rods, which she is putting in a wooden block with holes in it she has drilled.

She has some bendy garden wire to create the circles around the poles and as she wants a perfect circle she winds the wire round a flower pot to create the circle.

She then attaches the wire circles to the poles to tie them all in together.

home made obelisks

The last thing is to spray paint it all Metallic Silver to give it a modern look.

Frances is working on the children's area and for the back of it she has the help of the Battalion Welsh Guards.

Battalion Welsh Guards

They know Dan very well so they are kitted out by Alan with spades and paint brushes and set to work.

To wear the children out Frances has the idea to build them a military assault course and she starts work on the climbing wall that will go at the back on the wall.

They are cementing the posts into the ground for safety and using the same cladding as the fences.

Battalion Welsh Guards

She leaves this in the trusty hands of the Welsh Guards who carry on attaching the cladding until it is all covered.

The last job is to attach the climbing holds that are made of High-grip Poly Resin.

Frances is planting the fruit border at the rear of the garden and its being called Crumble Corner after the resident Rhubarb.

Corden Apple

First she is planting a Corden Apple so it is a tree that is trained to be pole shaped so its compact for a small garden or narrow space.

They are usually planted at a 45 degree angle so the sun can ripen the fruit easily, there is no need to stake this one but she is drilling some support wires to the fencing.

Corden Apple

She is just supporting the top of the tree so that when the apples ripen, the weight will not pull the main branch downwards.

To attach the tree she is using soft, thick string so this will not dig into the branch like wire would.

Crumble corner is also going to be home to her home made metal Obelisks and she has one she is placing over a Japanese Wineberry that is one of Frances favourite fruits.

Japanese Wineberry

The fruit is a bit like a blackberry or raspberry and have a wonderful flavour and make very good jam.

Now she has the tricky problem of getting the upside down Obelisk over the plant without breaking the branches off!

Alan is laying some of the floor tiles for Dale's Sanctuary area and the paving is smooth so will be a lot easier for him.

gaps in the tiles

In this area they are leaving gaps in the tiles so that they can fill them with Creeping Thyme and Creeping Mint.

Alan is working out where his planting trough should go in the pouring rain and he wants it near the path as its is going to be fun for the children as he plans to fill it with Carnivorous Plants!

They are actually Insectivorous as they catch flies to augment their diet as they live in boggy soil.

planter with very fine bark and Perlite

He is filling the planter with very fine bark and Perlite and this will help retain the water and Alan is mixing it all with water to make a mud pie like mix.

Alan starts planting them up and he says they are just like Triffids and he shows the silvery hairs in one plant that are pointing down and this helps trap the flies. 

Venus Flytrap

The favourite Carnivorous plant for children is the Venus Flytrap that works by having jaw like traps filled with fine hair to sense when a fly has landed.

Once the trap is triggered it quickly closes trapping the fly and it stays shut until it has dehydrated the fly completely.

There is a lot of planting to do in the garden and Alan is started with the planting close to the path between the Bar and Sanctuary that will soften it.

The garden has to be multifunctional and has to look nice throughout the whole year, be low maintenance and look good when you are in it.

plant in triangles

Alan likes to plant in triangles of tall and getting smaller and smaller from the centre of the bed and this will lead your eye around the corner too.

A good plant for the corners of a bed is Lavender because you brush it when you come past and get a blast of fragrance.


Lavender lives for about 4-5 years generally but if you keep trimming it after flowering it can live for a lot longer.

Alan says when planting there are fillers, plants to go at the back and then you get the stars of the show and his today is Agapanthus the African Lily.

Alan and Agapanthus

The flowers are in Umbels like the spokes of an umbrella and are blue or white in colour.

It likes being planted in well drained soil, in full sun and dies down in the Winter but should come up every year in June and July if the conditions are right.

Ornamental Onion, Allium Cristophii

The other plant he has is an Ornamental Onion, Allium Cristophii which flowers in Spring and the flower head dries out and can be used in dried flower arrangements. 

Alan is working on the calm area for Dale's Sanctuary they are adding some screens to make the area more private.

Alan and screens

The screen on its own looks too stark so Alan is adding some foliage in front of it and is planting with some Hazels.

Next he wants to add sound and scent and he has a Corten Steel Water Table to provide the sound of bubbling and flowing water and beside that he has some climbing roses to go up the screen.

Corten Steel Water Table

The Rose is called Alchemist and the colour goes nicely with the rust of the Corten Steel.

At the bottom of all Roses is the graft union where the Rose is grafted on to the root stock to control how they grow and this needs to be planted below soil level for a nice strong plant to grow.

Roses graft union

If planting it against a wall it needs to be planted about a foot away but on a trellis it can be right against it as it gets rain from both sides.

In the sanctuary every plant has been chosen for one quality or another to create a feeling of calm.

Alan is adding the finishing touch to Dale's sanctuary the Thyme to fit in the gaps in the paving and they will soon knit together and will smell wonderful when trodden on.

Regimental crest

The final job is to fix Dale Regimental crest to the wall and the garden is complete.

The Grand Reveal

Dale and Laura open your eyes

Dale and Laura

'oh wow' 'oh... oh my god' *Laura is open mouthed and speechless* 'look at that' 'this is absolutely beautiful' 'absolutely this is stunning' Laura finally speaks 'oh my god' 

They are both in disbelief at the garden as Alan shows them round

finished garden

The garden is a contemporary, accessible garden for the whole family 

finished garden

Bar and family dining area

Compost corner of Rhubarb and fruit trees

finished garden

Climbing wall and play lawn

Fly eating plants

finished garden

A sanctuary

The parents are in tears at the garden then the children are released and are quickly to the top of the climbing wall and busy exploring their new garden.

The bubbly is popped as they all enjoy their new garden.

Danny Clarke is in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire to turn the front garden of Teacher Krystina home into a wildlife garden.


Danny meets with Krystina at the front door and she has 2 children Sienna and Max as well as Boyfriend Andre.

The Garden
The 8 x 5 metre front garden is on a busy road and is very overlooked and it is already overgrown with long grass which Danny things is an advantage.

The Garden

There are flowers in amongst the grass like Geraniums as well as some wild flowers that Krystina loves.

The back garden is the children's play area and Boyfriend Andre says Krystina does not have her own space in the garden.

The back garden

Her Daughter Sienna has just been diagnosed with Autism so she is hoping the front garden can become a quiet wildlife retreat.

Sienna loves birds and is an interest that calms her down and makes her happy.


Lorraine Krystina's Mum says how kind hearted she is and devoted to her job and the school children and a new garden be lovely for her to relax in after work.

Danny says we need a safe, private place thats not overlooked so he is going to transform her front garden to give her something to be proud of.

Design Concepts
Danny is visiting a garden in Northwood and straight away he is drawn by the different textures and colours of the plants and shrubs.


They have blurred the boundary with the plants and shrubs.

A water feature is a good way to attract wildlife to the garden but are a risk to small children. 

Danny spots a water tank from someone's loft they are using as a water feature.

Danny spots a water tank

In the middle of the lawn they have let an area grow wild to create a wildflower meadow which will have its own mini ecosystem.

It is full of insects, with bees buzzing and creates a habitat for all sorts to live in.

A Work in Progress
The contractors have arrived to start work along with Love Your Garden Team Member Danny Clarke.

Danny is making a new path in Krystina garden by mowing the grass and leaving the rest long as it already is.

new path

Next its time to find a solution for the boundary and he is planting shrubs like Cotoneaster which will help blur the boundary naturally.

The plants will also be effective for soaking up pollution caused by the car exhausts on the busy road.


The Cotoneaster can grow up to 3 metres tall and they will all join together to make a beautiful hedge.

Danny is taking delivery of a recycled Butlers sink that he is going to use as a water feature.

First he has to make the plug hole water tight and he uses tape and silicon like you would use in your bathroom.

plug hole water tight

If you do not have some at home already it costs around £7 a tube to buy.

Danny uses his finger to ensure the hole is covered and it will take around 24 hours to set hard.

You can use any container for wildlife in the garden as any water source will be beneficial to the wildlife.

sink next to one of the new paths

They place the sink next to one of the new paths and leave it to set.

To attract wildlife the flowers need to be colourful like the yellow of the Aquilegia otherwise known as Granny's Bonnet and the Salvia which attracts bees to its blue flowers.


Danny also got an Achillea to plant and he is not making flower beds but planting these directly into the wild grass areas.

The front garden needs to be secure for the children so they are creating a barrier from the road by planting a 'loose' hedge and one of the plants is a Griselinia, which is an evergreen so will be calming all year round.

The next job is to create a special seating area just for Krystina and he has a wonderful copper coloured Hazel and he is using the flexible branches to form an arbour to give her shelter.


Other flexible plants are Willow and Hornbeam.

Butler Sink pond

Danny final job is to plant up the Butler Sink pond and he has some Water Buttercup, Mimulus and mini Bulrushes.

He is also adding Hornworts as the oxygenator to keep the water nice and clear and this will soon be attracting wildlife.

The Grand Reveal

Krystina open your eyes

Krystina open your eyes

'oh my gosh' 'oh wow' 'oh it's so beautiful' 'so many flowers' 'I love the pond' 'Oh thank you so much'

The once exposed front garden is a warm and welcoming wildlife garden.

The finished garden

Soft hedges 

Mown path through the wild flower meadows

The finished garden

Hazel arbour and seating area

Chill out area

The finished garden

Wildlife pond

Krystina takes a relaxing seat as Sienna and Max run round looking at their new garden followed by Andre and family, all happy with the new wildlife friendly front garden.

All Photographs are Copyright of


Landscape Team

Jason Williams

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