Love Your Garden Series 11 Episode 2 A Cool Garden

Love Your Garden Series 11 Episode 2 A Cool Garden

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 Manchester to surprise the Narayan-Nicholas family who is made up of Mum Eve, Dad Steve and the children Billy and Emmie.

Mum Eve, Dad Steve and the children Billy and Emmie.

The family run a hospital meals charity called Emmie's Kitchen which provides free food for parents whilst they are staying in Hospital with their children.

Using Alan latest ploy of going straight round to the back he goes in via a hidden gate which is very 'Secret Garden' like.

Once in he knocks on the back door and is greeted by a very surprised Steve followed by an equally surprised Eve, who both just manage an hello to Alan.

Alan asked how Emmie's Kitchen started and Eve explains that in 2017 Emmie was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia which meant they as parents spent a lot of time in the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital with her.

They realised that the parents and care givers also needed to be kept well and looked after.

At the age of just 8 Emmie decided to do something for the parents who needed to be looked after too and often had no access to home cooked food.

Jacqueline Narayan-Singh, Emmie's Grandmother said Emmie's asked her to feed the other parents after seeing what they were having to eat and that is how the Charity started.

The family started doing cooking for other parents on the ward but now it has grown and they provide 10,000 meals a year.

Lisa Ramchurn from Manchester Children's Hospital says the family are amazing providing nutritional meals for families going through what they did.

The whole family are involved as well as a team of volunteers and they even have a Friday night takeaway treat with the help of local businesses.

Joy Browns who has a child in hospital with complex needs and says food can be a struggle, just finding time to go to the kitchen and cook as you spend so much time with your child.

Emmie's Kitchen is a Miracle.

Alan says him and Emmie have met before when Love Your Garden built a garden for Manchester Children's Hospital when she was a patient.

Emmie actually drew a plan of what she wanted in the garden.

Last year Emmie was awarded a Pride of Britain Award for all her hard work which was presented to her by Marcus Rashford and the Banjo Brothers.

Emmie is now NED which stands for No Evidence of Disease and is due back from school and gets a shock to see Alan Titchmarsh in her garden!

Alan comments she looks very different and has wonderful hair that has grown back, Emmie says she pleased with it as its nice and thick and curly.

He says because of her brilliant Emmie's Kitchen he is going to do a garden for them this time.

The Garden
Alan has a look at the garden but there is not much in it, just a gravel area by the house other than that it is featureless.

It is a nice space though with a lot of potential.

Alan asks Emmie what she would like in her new garden and she would like activities, like somewhere to exercise, somewhere to train on a nice lawn.

Dad Steve says somewhere for the family to sit together and Alan says somewhere cool and contemporary which they agree would be great.

Design Concepts
Alan is in Chelsea to visit a City Garden to see what a contemporary Urban garden has to offer.

The garden looks like a magazine shoot and it blurs the lines between inside and outside with the steel framework matching the house as well as the soft furnishings.

The garden has different zones, a multifunctional area by the house, moving onto an outdoor kitchen / eating area.

The colour scheme is Monochrome with black fences and a simple planting palate of shades of green interspersed with bright flowers.

It has a relaxing water feature with waterspouts dropping into the pool helping to hide any traffic noise.

Alan starts on his plans to bring these ideas into the garden that can be used and enjoyed by the whole family.

He wants to bring the inside outside and make it feel like an extension of the house.

For Eve an office in the corner and next to it an entertaining area for David to do.

Katie will work on the Gym area that still has a garden feel to it.

The planting will be Alan job to make a hallway of plants.

A Work in Progress
The contractors and Love Your Garden team members David Domoney and Katie Rushworth  have started work on the area to be made over.

David is starting on the hard landscaping which is important to give the crisp modern look and he starting with the boundary fencing.

The fence does not have a paint effect or stain on it but it is charred by the Japanese process of Yakisugi.

'Yaki' means burnt with fire and 'Sugi' means cedar and it only seals the surface of the wood as it is burnt to about 5mm.

The office is being installed for Eve.

The rain starts just as David starts work on the outside entertainment centre and they are lowering the beams to the floor for a decking area.

David says they are trying to mimic the inside outdoors and he is building the Barbecue out of concrete blocks which costs around a £1 a block and he is laying them on their ends rather than flat.

The next part is the worktop that connects to the Barbecue and he is using the same Porcelain tiles they used on the patio.

They are extremely hard wearing and have been fired up to 1,000C in a process called Vitrification.

Once the tops are on he starts on the render for the sides to hide the blocks and he is adding the scratch coat, which is the first coat.  

It is called this as you then add scratch marks to it so the next layer sticks too it better once this one is dry.

David is making some wooden planters to match his charred boundary fence in the Yakisugi style and he is having a go himself with a flame thrower.

It is safer at home to use a paint stripper rather than an industrial burner like David.

He places it on some soil so it does not char or melt  the paving and he sets to work scorching the sides of the planter.

The idea is to just do the surface and not the whole way through and this will just seal and protect it.

He then uses a wire brush to get rid of the excess flakes then he seals it with a Microporous sealant.

David lines the inside with old compost bags and fills with compost and adds Peonies which are popular with the Japanese and the variety is Julia Rose which is an Apricot in colour.

David is adding yet more planters this time on the fence outside the outdoor studio / office for Eve and he is using these to set off the room.

This space is for outdoor cooking and dining so he has some self watering troughs for some vertical planting.

These are great if you also do not have much space and he has managed to get in 9 different herbs into the small space.

He has Rosemary to go with Lamb, Mint which is also good for Lamb but also Pimm's, he got Thyme for Chicken and Chives for Salads.

Katie is painting the outside of the office a contemporary grey and looks good with the charred black of the fence.

Next job for Katie is to start installing the outside Gym and she starts by making holes for the pull up bars.

The pull up bars can also be used to attach other pieces of equipment too and once the holes are deep enough she puts in the poles and some dry mix.

To make it nice and secure they are adding extra Postcrete and Katie is using a spirit level to ensure they remain nice and straight.

She says the pull up bar costs about £100 to install and a Gym membership is about £40 a month so its much cheaper to install this and can use it every day.

The posts are being painted a dark grey/black colour to blend in with the rest of the garden theme.

She gets David to help her hold up the cross beam and get it in position whilst it is drilled into place to keep the posts straight.

Out the front Katie is building a multipurpose piece of gym equipment which is not only going to be for working out, but useful for storage as well as planting in it!

It is a Gym step with storage underneath and a planter along the back and the next job is to paint it and also make it anti-slip for the steps.

To make it anti slip she is using 1 part play sand mixed with 4 part paint, the sand is already washed and dried so ideal to use.

This is a cheap way to make your own as the proper paint can be quite expensive.

She is giving the Contractors a work out just moving this to the back garden.

Katie next job is to add a large outdoor mirror to the wall in the Gym area and she says people are concerned about adding mirrors in case birds fly into them.

She says to deter birds she is surrounding it with climbing plants and she has a Viburnum and a Clematis. 

If you can get them to grow across the top of the mirror and hang down that stops the birds flying into the mirror.

Katie has drilled in the pull up bar and Alan is keen to show Katie how it is done and she laughs as Alan does a few quick, up and downs

Alan is having a look at the plants that have arrived and they are mostly architectural plants and they include 3 Silver Birch trees and Spiky leaf plants to go against the fence.

He also has a Cercis a variety of the Judas Tree called Forest Pansy which has purple leaves that change from green and purple.

He is going for not only shape but texture for the planting scheme as well as being cool and trendy.

Alan started the planting with the tallest plants which is the trio of Silver Birch Trees.

The root ball needs to be really wet when planting the trees so he soaking them first in a Trug but today it is due to rain a lot so this time they do not need much of a soaking.

Popular in contemporary gardens are the Multi-Stemmed trees but they can be expensive as they take a long time to train and grow.

Alan is cheating by planting 3 Silver Birches that are the Ordinary Betula Pendula 'The Lady of the Woods' which is a native tree and costs £23 each.

Alan is starting to plant up the hallway of plants and he starts with a Yucca that is bound up to protect you from the sharp leaves.

He is snipping the sharp ends of to make it more safer he then removes the protective cover to get an idea of where to place it.

It looks very contemporary and gives it a real impact.

Yuccas like to be in a bright sunny position in well drained soil and he has planted it high in the ground and next it is what to plant around this dramatic addition.

This central bed welcomes you coming out of the back door so Alan has tried to use plants that will like being in a hot dry bed.

He has planted Lavender and Artemisia which smell lovely and the variety is Powis Castle named after the one in Wales.

This will grow into a knee high bush.

The Lavender Alan is planting at the edge of the bed so it can be brushed against and this will release the fragrance.

Alan has invited Emmie's Grandmother Jacqui to help in the garden and she is loving the changes so far, Alan says he out of puff so needs the help.

She says having the extra space is going to change the families life and to have someone do it all for you is fantastic.

Alan want to know what Emmie really like and Jacqui says Eve is tough but Emmie is double tough.

When she was in hospital having her intense treatment she used to tell the family off for being upset and telling the family to 'get a grip'.

She said she would not want anyone to have to experience having a child go through that experience it was like torture.

Alan says you must all be relieved she out the other side and Jacqui says its 'fantastic'.

Alan is now working on his modern water feature and he has put the reservoir into the ground already.

The water will be pumped up behind it and then cascade out of a blade at the front back into the reservoir.

It will make a gentle pleasing sound he hopes.

He is adding the splashguard and making a hole in it to go in the reservoir so any water that is blown off course will not be lost.

He has covered this in pebbles and made sure it is all flowing in the right direction.

Alan turns it on and it is running perfectly and says in a contemporary garden it needs to look architectural and also needs to sound good.

Alan is softening the area in front of the Barbecue and he is planting a Viburnum which can be trained sideways and with it he has a Pittosporum, Lavender and some grasses.

With the finishing touches the garden is complete and for once it did not need watering in.

The Grand Reveal
Steve, Eve, Billy and Emmie open your eyes
'OH WOW' they say all together. 'It looks so different' 'This is not our garden' 'Alan, have you transported us somewhere?' ' I can't believe it' 'There's a waterfall' 'oh wow'

Cool state of the art contemporary garden

Finished garden

Entertainment area with Barbecue

Finished garden

Garden office

Finished garden

Outdoor Gym

Finished garden

Architectural hallway planting scheme

Cool Water Feature

Alan takes them on a tour of their new garden and Eve sees her new office and loves it as they wander around being amazed at each new feature.

They all thank Alan so much for the garden as the Grandparents arrive to help them celebrate their new garden in the rain!

Frances Tophill is in Bootle, Liverpool to meet Sue who has very recently sadly lost her Daughter Katie.

Katie lost her 4 year battle with a Brain Tumour and Sue is now looking after her 13 year old Granddaughter Georgia.

 Stacey Smith a family friend says the is going to be important for them both to have people round and to talk about Katie at this time.

Sue says its been very hard on Georgia the last 4 years have been a rollercoaster as she watched her mum deteriorate.

Sue says Frances plan for the garden will give them both some space that they need.

The Garden
Frances has a look around the small plot which is a classic small yard that has artificial grass a small shed / playhouse.

The walls are very roughly painted and there is some bamboo screening hiding the worst of it.

Sue would like somewhere peaceful in the garden and for a good tidy up of it.

Sue says Frances plan for the garden will give them both some space that they need.

Georgia needs somewhere to relax in after a hard day at School.

Design Concepts
Frances is in Preston to visit a garden with a contemporary look.

They have used the boundaries as a feature in this garden instead of hiding them with plants and climbers.

With the modern boundaries and a very minimal colour palate the garden has a clean and fresh look with simple green plant scheme.

The planting is no way simple with lots of variety but they are all shades of green with plants like Euphorbia, Hydrangea and Lamb's Ears.

There are some flowering plants but they all have just white flowers like the Geraniums.

There are different zones / rooms in the garden which uses level changes or the placing of furniture to define them.

Frances starts work on her plan and she wants to clad the exterior walls and use the new shed as a partition.

She is planning on using portable planters on wheels so the space is flexible. 

The garden will be bespoke and for both Georgia and Sue's needs in the small space.

A Work in Progress
The Contractors plus Love Your Garden team member Frances Tophill and Contractor Leigh Pugh have started work on the area to be made over.

Frances is showing Leigh the small shed thats way to small for 13 year old Georgia so she wants to try something completely new and raise the roof to put on a loft extension for the shed!!

Off comes the roof as Leigh cries 'come to Bootle and raise the roof they said'

Leigh starts work on the small shed and he is adding new tongue and groove sides to the top of the shed and then making a simple chipboard flat roof.

It then gets a fresh coat of paint and its now more 'teenage' sized.

Frances thinks it looks 'amazing' like a proper shed that has always been this height.

Frances next job is to make the boundary look more contemporary and to cover up the existing wall where the paint is flaking off.

She is using planks made of a Composite material so it will not age or need any maintenance like timber would.

They have attached tanalised wooden battens to the wall and are attaching the boards to that.

It is tongue and groove so it slots together and she is using 2 tones of grey to define the areas of the garden.

It is now pouring in Liverpool but Frances is busy adding some castors to the bottom of the containers which are made of fibreglass but look metallic.

Putting the castors on is a fiddly job and you need 2 to do it to hold the bolt whist she tightens the castor up.

The large planters will make a big statement but can also be moved to wherever they want them.

They are filled with compost ready for planting and Frances is filling it with lush greenery to soften the garden.

She is using architectural plants to give the modern look which are all evergreen and she starts with a Farfugium with big bold leaves.

This needs shade but she is also planting a Cordyline that isn't fussy where its planted.

The container will act as a screen to Sue seating area 

Frances is hoping the rain will stop but there still work to do and the shed is in position to create the area for Georgia.

The handprints on the wall which are Katie's have been painted around and made into a memorial for her.

Frances is putting out some outdoor rugs, who knew there was such a thing and with a few finishing touches the garden is finished.

The Grand Reveal

Sue and Georgia open your eyes
'Oh my god' in unison. 'It looks boss' ' It's amazing' 'Oh it's fantastic' 'wow' 'Oh my god that's boss'

A contemporary space for them both to enjoy

Finished garden

Shed with raised roof

Seating area

Moveable Planters

Finished garden

Lighting and outdoor rugs

Frances gives them both a tour of the garden features and Sue says she no longer embarrassed of the garden, it is now just amazing.

Uncle Sam and Friend Stacey come to see the transformation as the first of many new guests to the new garden space.

It now looks twice as big and the family are so pleased with it, it's just Boss! 

Apologies I will add more photos when I have sourced them.

All Photographs are Copyright of


Landscape Team

Leigh Pugh

Jason Williams

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