'Love Your Small Garden': air date, who’s in it, and everything you need to know

Love Your Small Garden
Charity worker Maxine with Alan Titchmarsh in her very narrow backyard. (Image credit: ITV)

Love Your Small Garden will see Alan Titchmarsh and his team tackle tiny, outdoor spaces in a one-off special that shows small really can be beautiful in the garden.

"It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking that you can’t make much difference to the way you live with a small garden — we prove you can!" says Alan, who along with his trusty team including Frances Tophill and Katie Rushworth, transform two very different tiny backyards into pocket-sized sanctuaries.

Love Your Small Garden air date

The hour-long special will air on Tuesday 13 July at 8pm on ITV. 

Love Your Small Garden — Transformation Number 1

Frances Tophill

Frances Tophill. (Image credit: ITV)

Gardening whizz Frances Tophill is one of the LYG team members helping Alan transform a super-narrow, dark, concrete backyard into a pocket-sized leafy haven.

"We help a wonderful charity worker called Maxine, and her niece, Faith, who has a tiny backyard in London," explains Frances. "It was a concrete strip basically, with an unfortunate side alley that was dark and barren. I could relate to it entirely as I rented a house last year with a really tiny, uninspiring, concrete garden, which I didn’t plan to do anything with. 

"Then the pandemic hit and it was the only outdoor space I had! I pulled everything up, found a bit of bed, and filled it with edible plants, greenery, a small tree, and by summer it was a little haven. I loved it and wanted to do the same for Maxine."

What do the Love Your Small Garden team do?

Using low fences, raised planting beds, a compact apple tree and clematis and kiwi climbers (which take up less space), the plot transforms into a leafy escape in the city. 

"I also hang a mirror on the wall, which gives the illusion of doubling the space," says Frances. "It was such a transformation. We’d used every nook and cranny and created a haven. Maxine’s reaction was humbling. It’ll make such a difference to the way she lives."

Love Your Small Garden — Transformation Number 2

Over in Kent, Katie Rushworth helps Alan tackle a cluttered, mini new-build garden for the Robb family: Ian and Megan, who have three kids, Logan, Isla and Hallie, who’s been blind since birth. 

"They have a lot on their plate and desperately need outside space where they can relax together, a sanctuary," says Katie. "Instead, they just had a small, empty backyard strewn with plastic toys — I’ve seen it so often! It was unloved."

How do they transform the garden?

Alan had ambitious plans for Robb’s garden. "He asked me to incorporate a seating area, play area, and storage — which is quite a lot!" says Katie. "But I like a challenge. So I made a plan and created zones — such as an eating area and play area, and made them multi-functioning. I made a storage box that doubled up as a bench and the door of the play area flipped down and became the tabletop in the seating area. In a small space, things have got to have more than one function!"

Some big showstopper ferns also gave a jungle-like effect, which created the illusion of more space. "Be bold," says Katie. "Avoid the temptation to only use small plants and don’t be afraid to plant trees. Being underneath a canopy makes you feel smaller and the area feel bigger."

And were the Robb’s pleased with the end result? "They loved it," says Katie. "Even I was surprised how roomy it looked! The Robb’s got their sanctuary which is what it’s all about."

Written by Rebecca Fletcher.

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years on TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer on TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!