Love Your Garden Series 12 Episode 4 Water

Love Your Garden Series 12 Episode 4 Water

Alan Titchmarsh welcomes us to Love Your Garden and Series 12 episode 4.

Alan tells us how important our gardens have become to us, they bring family and friends together, are good for our Mental and Physical Health, as well as connecting us to Nature.

Lots of us have challenging gardens which we would like to become our dream garden, but they are often in fact a disaster zone.

So this year Alan and his team David DomoneyKatie RushworthFrances Tophill and Danny Clarke are going to surprise some inspirational people who gardens are some of the worst they have ever tackled.

They will also share the secrets of how they do this, giving us good ideas to transform the chosen garden as well as in our own gardens.

'Welcome to Love Your Garden'.

Alan asks why do we all want water in our gardens? 'It's the stuff of life'.

The relaxing sound of it, the reflections and the movement all make us want to add some sort of water feature to our gardens.

Alan is in Southampton to have a look at the garden belonging to the Peacock family and he is expecting your usual chaotic family garden full of plastic toys and mud pies.

The before garden

No one is home and the garden is a blank canvas and very dull and it has a mud kitchen and a deflated paddling pool.

The family arrive home and they are Mum Alex, Dad Russ and the children are called Zach and Lily.

Alan pops up over the fence to surprise them and he is a big shock to them as Lily asks 'why are you all here'?

Mum Alex, Dad Russ and the children are called Zach and Lily.

Alan explains he is here about their garden and because Lily has Wiederman-Steiner Syndrome  which is a very rare Genetic condition.

This affects her as some of her bones are abnormal so she is small for her age, her elbows are dislocated and causes problems with counting and writing, fine motor skills and using her hands in general.

When she was born she had a hole in her heart, then they found out more from then onwards and now Lily is 7 years old, she not developing at the same rate as other 7 year old's so will always require extra care.

Miriam Archer

Miriam Archer Lily's Teacher says the whole family are great and just get on with it.

Both parents have full-time jobs in the Police but work opposite shifts so someone is always there with the children.

Andy Clinton, a Colleague and Friend says having a relaxing space in the garden will be great for the whole family.

Mum Alex says Lily loves being outside and loves water and getting mucky whatever the weather.

mud kitchen

The parents would like a nice garden to entertain in and Alan says he and the Team will get them the garden they need for the whole family to enjoy.

The Garden
The garden is very plain but it does face South so it will be in the sunshine for most of the day.

The garden

It is not very big and will need to cater for everyone and Alan want it to be magical too.

Design Concepts
Alan goes to Surrey to visit a garden that uses water in 3 different but stunning ways.


Water makes a great focal point and this garden has a raised rill that has great reflections of the sky and the flowers.

The water is just a gentle ripple in a long straight line surrounded by beds of repeating planting including Lilac perennial Aster and Amber Rose.

The rill then flows into a babbling brook which gives you sound an movement as it cascades down the rocky waterfall.

The rill

The flowing water purifies the surrounding air and the sound helps blocks out unwanted noise.

The planting around this water is natural and includes Alchemilla Mollis with acid green flowers, also Polystichum and Hart's-Tongue Fern as well as Holly Fern.

Right at the bottom of the garden next to a garden building is the third water feature a large pond that wraps around a hedge of Phlomis Russeliana.


Nearby there is a purple-leaved Pittosporum and you are surrounded by plants making it a very separate area.

Alan sits down to start his plan for the garden and he knows there is not enough room for this amount of water but he wants to add 3 different water features within his design.


The garden will have a S shaped path through the centre with planting to connect all the areas.

David will do the area near the house to include an interactive magical water feature.

Frances will make a raised water feature in the middle of the garden as well as an area for Lily.


Alan will do the family seating area with a wall water feature.

A Work in Progress
The Contactors arrive to start work on the garden as well as Alan's Trusty Team of David Domoney, and Frances Tophill 

The contractors have been busy and already completed the new fence and a resin gravel bound path.

David is starting work on his interactive water feature to make the entrance to the garden magical for Lily and Zach to run through.


He is using a micro irrigation system as the piping is not only perfect for plants but also to make a wall of water for the children.

Holes are put along the pipes and jets added to make sure the water falls in a straight line downwards in a sheet of water.

The water curtain is in 1 section of a giant arch which goes right across the garden and he asks Alan to help him lift it.

David and Alan

Alan gets up the ladder to hold one end in place whilst they sort out the pipe work at the other.

He has worked out what David has planned and he wonders if the children will be frozen running through the water.

David has thought of this and added a heat source to the tap so the water comes out at a lovely warm 30 degrees.

Asking if it has been tested Frances thinks its a good time to tell someone to turn on the tap as both Alan and David gets a soaking, they are not impressed as Frances watches on laughing.

David and Alan

Alan then asks 'where does the water go'? David shows him the drain soak away they have added to the path so that problem is solved.

The second water feature has now been added without taking up too much space in the small garden.

David is adding some storage near the back door by adding 2 small sentry box like tool sheds.

Around his water curtain feature David is adding a Potato Vine climber, Solanum and they are very easy to train up a Pergola.


Under the Pergola he is planting the border with plants for the children so he adding some flowering plants to attract insects and Bees.

First planted is a Gaura Flamingo White, next a Sedum or Ice Plant as the foliage always feels cold to the touch.

Frances is drawing her plan for the third water feature to go in the garden that needs to be a focal feature.

She has been looking at ones you can buy and she starts with a fountain that you just put in a suitable container and plug in., she turns it on and gets soaked.

You need a pond size reservoir of water for this fountain as it is spraying water everywhere and costs about £115.


To buy one for less than £100 she has chosen a small solar powered cascading pot water feature that costs £89.

The only problem with this one is it likes bright sunshine to work.

Frances has chosen the one for the garden and it gives her plenty of height and it is a water wall costing £399.

It looks very impressive when it is on and carries on the theme of cascading water and nice to touch and explore.


Alan comes over and suggests the fence behind could be painted light grey to show off the water feature more.

Around the water feature she is adding an evergreen climber and she has added a wire climbing system to the fence.

Next she is adding some more formal planting like evergreens and Hydrangeas to draw your eye to the water feature.


She wants symmetry and the plants to go down in size either side and for the large plant she is using Bay trees and she has a mix of green textured plants.

Frances is upgrading Lily Mud Kitchen and she is planting some tough plants around it so they can withstand being played with.


She is adding Evergreens like Camellia and some herbs like Thyme she can tread on.

Next she is adding an Ornamental Cabbage to add a sense of fun and the next indestructible plant is a Hardy Geranium in a shady spot.

Alan  has not arrived yet but Frances is helping to lay the clay pavers in her entertainment area at the end of the resin gravel path and they have done them in a running brick design.


This is quite expensive at £55 a square metre but is also a lot cheaper than using original reclaimed bricks.

At the side of this is a water feature made from concrete blocks covered with porcelain sheets and Alan turns up to explain his water feature design to her.

It is a series of water tanks where the water cascades from one to the other.

Frances and Alan

The back of the water feature is also the back of the garden seating so you are level with the water rather than it being low down.

Alan is now adding the underlay to stop the liner getting damaged and leaking.

You can get made to measure Butyl liners by ordering them on-line and Alan is lining up the liner and then the porcelain tile coping is added on top of the tile adhesive.

Water feature

Each level falls into the next so he needs to make sure the angle of the water blade is correct to make the water flow over it.

Next job is to make the area feel private and secluded to enjoy the tranquillity so he is planting round the back curve of the seat and he has some Skimmia Rubella as well as some Pittosporum.


He is planting them in blocks and grading using the colour  as well as height and has some Lavender to smell lovely when brushed with their feet.

Under the seat he is planting Hart's-Tongue Fern which will enjoy the shade from the seat.

The water feature is now all lined and tiled and it is time to add the pump, which will circulate the water.

Water feature

Alan presses the switch and the water flows through the letter box opening in the top tank as Alan and Frances watch.

Then the middle tank to the lowest tank and they sit on the bench to enjoy the first of the 3 water features to be completed.

Alan is now adding some plants to the back of his seating area to add some height and interest as well as help to make it secluded.


The obvious thing to add is trees, but people get worried they are going to grow too big, go under foundations, grow into drains and block out light.

Even in a tiny garden you can still get height from small trees or large shrubs and a good compact tree is the Japanese Maple which have amazing Autumn colours but need to be kept out of cold winds.

In a protected fenced garden like this they will thrive, the next is a shrub that smells lovely a Philadelphus or Mock Orange which flowers in late Spring early Summer with amazing scented white blossoms.


Every year you need to prune some of the old wood out as it flowers on new 1 year old growth.

To add a tree for foliage Alan recommends a Weeping Silver-Leaved Pear and it cascades downwards and will grow just 10-12 feet high.

These will go on the boundary and behind the seating area he is adding sensory plants like Cercis Forest Pansy with Purple / Plum large leaves that goes more Red for the Autumn before they fall.

Next to form the screen is Euonymus which is a deciduous one Spindle Tree and he is also adding some perennials around the back of the water feature.


He is adding some grasses for movement and reflections by the water as well as some evergreen for all year round interest.

Alan is adding Sarcococca or Christmas Box which has white flowers during the Winter which smell amazing.


Alan part of the garden is finally completed and an area of calm.

The family is busy with the parents working opposite shifts Alan wants the garden to be usable at all times of the day so he is adding a lighting system and he gets David to help him position them.

lighting system

An outdoor power socket costs about £125 to have fitted and the armoured cabling around £1.50 a metre and the spotlights were £26 each.

Adding lighting does not only mean you can use the garden later but it also changes the mood of the garden and he is creating pools of light to highlight the plants and water features.

If you are adding lights to water like in a still pond it will make the water go green so it needs to have filter or just add to moving water.

lighting system

The lights and cable also needs to be suitable for putting in water and he places them at the bottom of the waterfall facing upwards for the best effect.

With the finishing touches added the garden is now complete.

The Grand Reveal

Russ & Alex open your eyes

Russ & Alex open your eyes

'OH' 'Oh' 'Oh my God!' 'Oh my' 'Oh my goodness' 'Look what you have done!' 'It is so.... beautiful' 'It's like it's a million miles away from what it was' 'The kids are gonna love it'.

The Garden has been transformed to a water filled inspiring garden to relax in.

Finished garden

Family sitting area with cascading water feature

Finished garden

A central curved flat path

Finished garden

A water curtain feature 

Finished garden

Pergola magic water curtain and play area

They take a seat in the new seating area and Alan switches on the new lighting to the even more amazed couple.

They scream with delight at the water curtain 'NO WAY'! even more so when they feel it's warm water.

Lily and Zach

Time for Lily and Zach to see it for the first time 'Wow' is there response and Alan shows them how the water curtain turns on and Lily straight under it with excited squeals of 'thank you thank you thank you'!

That's a hit then Alan! 

Family and friends

Family and friends flood into the darkening garden, corks pop and the fizz flows as they are surrounded by light and water so they can party into the evening.

Katie house

Katie Rushworth is in her own home for this episode's small area makeover so there is no 'before garden just a before bookcase?

shelving unit

She is adding a focal point to the middle of the shelving unit but adding a indoor water feature.

A work in Progress
Katie is adding some water to a large tall cylinder that cost £30 which already has gravel at the base.

She is adding her first plant which is an Anubias called Nan and is a compact variety, next to be added is Anubias Lanceolata.


She is adding different heights so it will look good at all levels and the final plant is a Alternanthera which has pink / red leaves and is the tallest plant at the back.

The final touch is to add the floating plant Salvinia.

To maintain the water garden you need to remove a cup of water every week and replace it with fresh to keep it healthy and clear

Next to Katie's aquatic garden she is using cuttings as she loves to propagate new plants from existing ones.


To do this she counts 3 leaves up from her stem and cuts below a leaf node then removes a couple of leaves so they do not rot when in the water.

She then displays the cuttings in some lovely test tube cuttings holders on top of the storage unit.

Katie now wants to add moving water to her display and is looking on line for inspiration.

The one she decides on is by Botanist James Wong  which she will use for her inspiration.

Katie table

She has a metal tray table on legs and she adds a coloured vase for height and interest.

She adds another pot on top and puts a pump under it to circulate the water to the top and back round.

Under the top pot she adds a base with a hole for the pipe and she has also cut a hole in the base of the top pot for the pipe which she silicones in.

water display

She adds pebbles for the water to run through and to disguise the pipe and adds rocks and driftwood to the metal tray.

She turns it on and water cascades down the top pot into the bottom one and back round.

Lastly she adds the planting using some ferns and some Sagina that looks like a little pom-pom.

The Grand Reveal
Katie Study has been transformed from a bland shelving unit to a indoor water garden.

finished display

Underwater garden 

Root cutting displays

Jurassic water cascade

Katie is unable to reveal this to herself but looks like she loves it.

All photographs are copyright of


Landscape Team

Hortus Paradisi

Jason Williams

No comments:

Post a Comment