Angela Scanlon on what to expect from new series of Your Garden Made Perfect

The second series of Your Garden Made Perfect is more ambitious than ever, teases the returning host Angela Scanlon. Gemma Dunn digs deeper to find out more.

If you’re contemplating an outdoor makeover, the return of Your Garden Made Perfect could well plant the seed of inspiration.

For those unfamiliar with its concept, the BBC Two makeover series – presented by Angela Scanlon – sees skilled designers use cutting edge virtual-reality technology to compete to transform a participant’s back yard into the garden of their dreams.

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The idea: to showcase how the space could look before it undergoes an often-costly renovation in real life. But it’s not all sweeping lawns and manicured hedges.

Angela Scanlon, who presents Your Garden Made Perfect. Picture: PA Photo/BBC/ Remarkable TV /Guy Levy

The six-episode run (a green-fingered spin-off of Your Home Made Perfect, also narrated by Scanlon) looks at how we can extend the indoors outside, whether that’s a shared community garden, a budding wildlife haven or a small-space expert guiding a tiny concrete yard.

And with the pandemic underlining the importance of outdoor space for all, the second season couldn’t come at a better time.

“Over the past couple of years I have a newfound appreciation of garden spaces, whatever they are,” muses Irish star Scanlon.

“I think that’s why Your Garden Made Perfect worked so well the first time around.

The show returns for a second series next week. Picture: PA Photo/BBC/Remarkable TV/Adam Lawrence.

“We’re not just with a traditional gardening audience, but with people who have suddenly gone, ‘Oh my God, my little balcony was my refuge during lockdown. It offered so much to me that I never considered before’.

“Gardening to my mind has opened up massively. It’s not just about sweeping country lawns, it’s about urban spaces and shared gardens in flats and courtyards and miniscule balconies that still feel like joy.”

Viewers can expect a focus on those urban and community spaces in the new series, 38-year-old Scanlon says.

"We’ve got six episodes and a real variation. We’ve got two new designers joining the line-up, so six designers all in, and an extra guy who does all of the smaller spaces – the more urban spaces, community spaces – which is something we’ve focused on this series.

“That kind of sense of what a garden can do for a wider community, not just for a family. So yeah bigger crew, bigger ambitions.

“And off the back of last series, we’ve got people who have a real sense of what they want and what they can get. It’s exciting.”

Scanlon, who’s also known for hosting The One Show and Robot Wars, admits she’s no gardening expert though.

“We’ve got the designers who know everything that anyone needs to know about gardening,” she says, “so I am the woman of the people.

“I can be the dummy and I can ask the questions that hopefully, if I’m thinking them, somebody else at home is thinking them.

“I’ve certainly learned (along the way) but I wouldn’t say I’m into gardening. I love being outdoors and I have managed to keep a cheese plant alive for seven years, so there’s definitely an interest there!”

Scanlon, who shares a daughter with her entrepreneur husband Roy Horgan, is pregnant with her second child.

“I’m grand, mostly,” she says, when asked how she’s feeling. “I say that now, with a couple of months to go.

“I’m definitely feeling it more than I did the first time around and I’m groaning like an old lady as I bend down to the oven or roll in the bed. Really attractive.

“But yeah I’ve had quite a busy year, lots of new things and whatever else, so I’m quite looking forward to, I naively say, some quiet time… with a four-year-old and a new born.”

Your Garden Made Perfect returns next week - and there’s fierce rivalry, Scanlon says, as the gardeners vie to win over the hearts of those taking part with their designs.

She enjoys the show’s competitive element, but it is seeing the transformations complete that is her favourite part, as the impact of the changes start to be realised by the families.

“There’s the realisation that when it comes to these places and these gardens, it’s not just about planting some nice flowers and trimming their borders, it can have a massive impact on families and the way they live and the way they interact together.

“And, again, it’s probably been brought to light by the past couple of years, where there’s home-schooling, working from home, somebody upstairs, someone downstairs, the kitchen overrun with people… No matter what kind of a house you have, I think we’ve all felt like we’re on top of each other.

“So to then suddenly have this gorgeous place that they can have family dinners together and see the kids playing, it can be quite emotional.”

The show follows the same format as Your Home Made Perfect - but when it comes to gardens, Scanlon says people often feel more vulnerable handing over to the designers.

“So often we have real confidence in our interior style, in what we want in our home, even down to the lingo, and that’s helped by shows like Your Home Made Perfect and Grand Designs. People are more confident.

“And then it comes to gardens and you’re like, ‘What do I do? Do I buy a few plants and literally hope for the best?’

“There’s more vulnerability because they don’t feel like they’re in control at all and it is really hard to wrap your head around it when you’re handing over a pot of hard-earned cash and entrusting it in the designers.

“That’s where the virtual reality comes into its own because they can go, ‘Ah, OK, it’s going to look like that in two years’ time’.

“It’s hard to envisage a mature garden, and so here they are looking into the future, but also kind of slightly, aimlessly handing it over and going, ‘Please help us!’.”

Scanlon is also known for her Thanks A Million podcast, which explores whether we can change our lives for the better by simply appreciating the things we have, and her debut book Joyrider: How Gratitude Can Get You the Life You Really Want is due to be released in May. There’s more too that she wants to ‘tick off’.

“I’d definitely love to do a big entertainment show that feels a bit more frothy and silly, I suppose. I did my own chat show last year in Ireland and that was a big moment for me. Something that I had wanted to do forever. So it was surreal and a lot of pressure, and also a lot of fun.

“I also would love – I don’t know how I’m going to do this with two children and other stuff – to get back into documentaries. I started in documentaries, and I do that slightly in Podcasts, but to get that longer form opportunity to hang out with people who you might think you hate or just mad communities would be great.

Your Garden Made Perfect returns to BBC Two on Friday, February 4.

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