Filthy Garden SOS Episode 2 Stockport

Filthy Garden SOS Episode 2 Stockport

Filthy Garden SOS is a garden makeover show with a difference that was first shown in 2021 on 5 Star and then repeated on Channel 5.

Award winning Garden Designer Diarmuid Gavin starts by telling us our gardens are our sanctuaries, private, plant filled, peaceful and green corners of this green covered land.

He goes on to tell us not all gardens are like that and the homeowners have not got the gardening bug and their gardens are shocking!

He actually calls them 'crimes against nature itself'.

Diarmuid tells us for as long as he been gardening he never seen gardens so bad.

Diarmuid penny danny

Help is on the way with his crack team of experts starting with Garden Designer
Danny Clarke who will bring out the gardener in the home owner by encouraging them to grow into gardeners which he finds as satisfying as seeing the garden grow.

Penny Lamb it is all about using power tools in the garden to clear and cut down as well as making things for the garden.

Diarmuid is on a mission to show everyone how easy it is to look after a garden to change a Filthy Garden to a fabulous Garden.

'This is Filthy Garden SOS'

Keith and Darren,

Keith and Darren, a married couple from Stockport, Greater Manchester have suffered from ill health and the garden has been neglected and is now inaccessible for wheelchair user Darren who not been in the back garden in 7 years.

Darren says the garden is depressing and looks its best covered in snow.

Darren has a debilitating spinal illness and his lower back is collapsing he has to spend a lot of time in his wheelchair.

Keith and Darren

Keith, spent 3 months in hospital 7 years ago with a mystery illness that taken a long time to recuperate from, meaning the garden was neglected.

It used to be a lovely garden but things started to go wrong when he was ill.

The house was preciously Keith's parents home and he has spent the last 50 years looking after the garden and now he wants a garden back but in the couples style.

The house

They have both been involved in Theatre and drama groups in the past and Darren and Keith are both going to help achieve this garden makeover.

Diarmuid and Penny are driving to the see the garden for the first time and wondering what it is going to be like?   'Sleeping Beauty' type garden thinks Diarmuid.

Danny is already there and looking over the broken fence and he is shocked at the state of the garden and declares it the worst garden he ever seen.

Danny and Penny

The van with the 2 others turns up and Danny waves them on to try to warn them off stopping!

Danny had thought he had seen it all until now, sounds like it is going to be hard work.

Penny and Diarmuid bravely get out to look at the garden for the first time and all Diarmuid can say is 'WOW'.

The Garden
The couple would like a garden that reflects their personalities and want it to have something Dramatic in it.

The garden before

The 3 gardeners head round the back of the house to get a better look at the garden which Diarmuid calls 'an overgrown obscenity of a garden'.

Penny says 'This is a monstrosity of a garden' well at least they are all in agreement.

Danny says a garden should be good for your mind, soul and body and this garden is not fulfilling any of that for the couple.

The garden before

The garden is overgrown with brambles, trees and Ivy and they go and meet Darren and Keith out the front.

Diarmuid introduces the team of Danny and Penny to Darren and Keith, then Keith explains to them that the garden got in this state after he fell ill and was unable to maintain it.

The garden before

The garden then quickly became unmanageable and this left him felling depressed about the state of it.

Penny asked as its your family home is there any plants still in it your Mother planted?  Keith says the Camellia tree was the last thing she saw in her garden.

Camellia tree

Darren says how Keith does get upset about the garden as it holds lots of memories for him.

Keith says he now feels like they are not alone and help is here.

The hard work begins
Diarmuid has a team of helpers to clear the garden and they arrive and the first thing is to safely make there way into and through the garden to make it a safe working environment.

Having just days to clear and do the garden they start removing the hidden objects from the garden and cutting back the brambles and undergrowth.


A petrol strimmer makes light work of the brambles and even Keith helps with the clearing but it is not safe for Darren to take part in the clearing.

As they get further into the garden they are uncovering things like the Sundial.

The skips have not arrived so they are using the driveway to pile the rubbish up in and the garden is quickly filling up and this is making Keith feel ashamed and embarrassed.

Diarmuid calls Darren and Keith outside to show them all the things out of the garden and there are 31 plant pots, 7 bits of pond and all the other stuff.

Garden stuff

They are amazed at just how much stuff was hidden in amongst the overgrown garden and then the team find some even bigger items.

They reach the Greenhouse and Keith has not been in there for 8 years so Diarmuid starts clearing the pathway in front of it.

Penny calls over Keith as she uncovers his patio and he says it was laid just before he went into hospital so he is very pleased to discover it.


It takes 20 minutes to uncover it completely and Penny says you not seen the last of this as she plans to use it in the new garden.

Diarmuid now made his way inside the Greenhouse and Keith joins him and the good news is the structure still nice and strong and usable with a few repairs.


Finally at the end of the day a van and trailer arrive to take away the junk that has piled up on the driveway and Keith is the first to throw some rubbish in it.

Diarmuid says the garden is still bound together by the root systems of all the plants that were overgrown so the need to bring in a digger to clear the surface of the garden.

Keith says the garden has not been this clear since 1968 which makes Diarmuid chuckle.

The mini digger and dumper lorry have arrived and they start on the clearance.


In the middle of the garden is a Cherry Tree and Penny wants to get rid of it and she dons her protective gear and starts up her chainsaw.

Cherry is a very hard wood and it was hard work for Penny to get it down but she did and it was soon chopped up ready to go.

The digger soon clears all the Tree roots and the area is cleared and flattened.


Keith and Darren for the first time in years can get into the newly cleared back garden as Diarmuid shares his plans for the garden with them.

The Plan
The garden has now been mostly cleared and its time to start the designing of the new garden.

Diarmuid is going to give Keith and Darren the dramatic garden they want and include their shared passion for the Theatre.

There is going to be a central Romanesque lawn area and a covered stage pavilion to protect them from the elements.


They are going to re use the forgotten patio to make a terrace to sit in the sun and all areas are going to be fully accessible for Darren's wheelchair.

The paths are going to be fully connected and they will add raised beds at wheelchair height for Darren to garden in.

Looking for inspiration
Diarmuid is taking Darren and Keith to Walden Garden which is nearby in Sale for inspiration to add some drama and Theatre to their garden.


The Gardens are used for outdoor Theatre productions and he shows them the stunning Wisteria walkway with Diarmuid wanting to use Wisteria in their garden.

Past this is the tree cathedral which is made up of Beech Trees planted in a circle. 

The next surprise is to show them the Theatre Lawn which is where the outdoor performances take place and Keith takes the opportunity to put on a performance of his own.

Diarmuid and Darren give him a round of applause and he is going to add a performance space to their garden at home.

A work in progress
Diarmuid has started work on the pavilions outside surround and it soon has the base slabbed and the corrugated Iron metal sides and roofs added.

For the front of the pavilion Diarmuid wants a theatrical shape cut in some plywood and draws a plan for it.


Darren has a sneak peek at the garden and calls it an 'air raid shelter'! 

Penny been helping out with the Pavilion and Diarmuid shares his idea and she cuts out the curtained effect front piece of wood that will have more corrugated Iron attached to it.

The plants have arrived and the garden is starting to green up and they have some lovely specimen plants as well as smaller ones.

Diarmuid has rescued a planter of plastic flowers from the skip and has an overly dramatic plan for them!

With the help of Penny he wants the pot to be on top of the Pavilion and gets her to go up the ladder and hold it in place for him to decide how it looks.

the crowning glory

He calls it 'the crowning glory' not sure thats is what everyone else is calling it.

Diarmuid is busy planting up the new flower beds and his specimen plant is a Pine Tree and at the base of this he is planting Hamamelis and it will fill the whole corner.


He is now planting his most important plant from their visit to Walkden Gardens the Wisteria they loved from the archway but he is planting it to climb up the Pavilion.

This is a white flowering Wisteria and this will eventually climb all over the top.

Danny is showing Keith how to prune the Camelia Tree which has a sentimental attachment for him because of his Mother.

He wants to lower the crown but also lift it at the bottom of the tree by removing the lower branches.

Danny is showing Keith

A common mistake of pruning is just rushing into chopping away but you need to do a cut then stand back and look at the shape you are trying to achieve.

Keith says it looks so much better and today would have been his Mothers 95th Birthday so its special he is doing this today for her.

Danny will be focusing on the Greenhouse and the surrounding area and he is going to reuse the pots and table that are in there and he starts by clearing it all out.

With it now clear and the broken panes of glass removed and they have measured them for new glass to be cut to make it water tight.


Danny starts rebuilding the bench using some decking boards which were from the garden and he has cut them to 2 foot lengths to create the raised plant space.

Danny is making a raised bed for Darren in the Greenhouse area so he can access this from his wheelchair.

raised bed

He is making a rectangle base then he will make 4 frames using 6 by 2 timber and then stack them on top of each other so they are a suitable height for him to work on.

He hammers posts into the inside corners and these will hold the frame in place, he then stacks the frames on top and secures.

Danny has filled the raised planters he has made and started planting them up and has a surprise for Keith.

Danny and Keith

The plants he has chosen are Marigolds, Nasturtiums and Violas and they are all edible and he gives Keith some to try and they are good in salads.

Danny has found the ideal spot for his Grapevine and its on a south facing wall of the house so it will get a lot of sun.


Inside the Greenhouse he has some Chilli plants that are full of flowers and he also has some Tomatoes and amongst them some cut and come again lettuce.

Danny says that Darren will have full access to the garden and he is working on some of the pathways by raking the Golden-Amber Gravel which is self binding so its suitable for his wheelchair.

It is now pouring and the garden is too wet to do anything with so she sets to work helping to replace the fence panels with new ones which just slide into the concrete posts.

Penny now started work on the Patio area that was cleared and flattened and hardcore was added and flattened using a Wacker Plate.


Keith arrives to help her relay the patios stones and because it is circular Penny first works out the middle point of the area.

Keith then lays the Keystone which is the central one and all other stones will be layed outwards from this one.

They lay mortar before putting the stones in their final place before tapping it down and checking it is level using a spirit level.


Penny wants to finish the patio off so she gives Keith and Darren a job to do.

Now that it is finished she calls him back to help with the pointing which involves using a trowel full of mortar and filling in the cracks in the slabs then smoothing it out.

Penny is getting the area ready for the new turf by raking it over and levelling it using 2 strips of timber.


They then added a layer of very good quality topsoil and then raked this out level.

Now it is time to lay the turf and they slightly overlap the edges then it can be cut with a saw so the edges are nice and tightly knitted together.

Penny has plans for a bit of log she has saved from the Cherry Tree she cut down and she is going to make a bird feeder from it.

bird feeder

She cuts a 5cm section and then uses an angle grinder to make a bowl shape in it and then she will hang it from the Camelia

At the front of the house they are also putting in 2 new lawns either side of the driveway and they are using the same process as the back lawn.

Keith & Darren
Keith and Darren are set to work painting the chairs that were rescued from the garden.

Danny puts Keith and Darren to work as he wants to reuse the 30+ pots that were found in the garden to pot some Pelargoniums or better known as Geraniums.

Keith and Darren

They have some potting compost as it has slow release nutrients in it and these will need a warm greenhouse in winter.

Keith and Darren now have to keep out of the garden before the reveal the next day.

With the final finishing touches done the garden makeover is complete and no more Filthy Garden!

Finished garden

The Grand Reveal

Keith and Darren here is your garden

Penny Darren and Keith

'Oh!' 'Oh my god I don't believe it' 'oh wow' 'It's incredible' 'When i first come round the corner I couldn't believe how much they'd got into the garden!' 'I think it's phenomenal!' 'I can get round everywhere' 'Oh look at that there'.

A Theatre Lawn

A Theatre Lawn

Sun Patio

Sun Patio



Greenhouse and raised planting area

Greenhouse and raised planting area

Penny Darren and Keith

Wheelchair friendly pathways

A stunned Keith and Darren have a tour round their new garden and they think the pot on the Pavilion is 'totally bonkers' but they love it.

After 7 years Darren can get everywhere in the garden, they both can and they sit on the sun terrace with the Sundial in pride of place.

They thank the team and tears flow as Keith tells them 'they have brought him back to life as well as the garden.

Penny Darren and Keith

The team wish them happiness and leave the happy couple to enjoy their new garden which they can maintain with their parting gift of their new trowel and fork.

All Photographs are copyright of Channel 5

Project Manager
Paul Brady
Thea Pitcher

Henry Davies
Dan Goutorbe
Steve Griffiths
Bernard Horricks
Malcolm Moore
Patrick Riley
Lee Jones

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately it’s returned back to nature. A total waste of money for the producers of the programme.