Photo gallery: Alan Titchmarsh’s garden makeover for Norwich family

Television viewers watched last night as a Norwich family who have had a tough few years were given a much-deserved garden makeover by Alan Titchmarsh.

The team from ITV1's Love Your Garden surprised the Costello family with the makeover to help them adjust to 'civvy street' after soldier Ian, 29, was injured in a bomb blast in Afghanistan while serving as a trooper with the Light Dragoons Regiment.

Mr Costello, who is originally from The Wirral, suffered head injuries and his spine was broken in numerous places, as well as both of his legs, but despite months of intense rehabilitation and support his injuries were such that he will be medically discharged from the Army in October this year.

His wife, student health visitor Lindsey Costello, 30, and their three children, three-year-old Lucas, Kaysha, nine, Oliver, 11 and family dog, Louis, had to move out of their married quarters home at the Swanton Morley Barracks.

They were helped to find alternative housing by the Haig Housing Trust, which nominated the family for the garden transformation at their war memorial bungalow in Mousehold Lane.

After two days at Sprowston Manor, the family returned home to find a hot tub, playhouses, climbing frames and even a special dedication stone from Mr Costello's former regiment.

Mr Costello said last night after the show: 'I just cringed right the way through it. It's horrible when you look at yourself on the telly. Your accent, everything is maximised – but it was nice to see everyone else.

Most Read

'The thing that got me the most was the fact when you come into the garden, you see it as it is, but you don't realise how much work goes into it.

'Some of the stuff going under the floors was unbelievable – and the crane bringing the hot tub over the top of the building.'

Mr Costello said the garden had been in dire need of improvements, with his children unable to go into it due to sharp rose bushes, among other things, posing problems.

He added using a contractor, which he could not afford, was the only possible way to solve the garden issues.

But Mr Costello said he had spent very little time in the house since the makeover – even sitting in the hot tub when the recent heavy storms hit Norwich.

He said: 'I don't think we've eaten in the house. It will change in the winter but when you've got a garden bigger than your house you might as well use it.'

Mrs Costello added they chose to watch the show without family but they had been inundated with nice messages on Facebook and Twitter.

She said: 'It was really nerve-wracking watching it and it was really strange, but it was nice seeing everyone making it.

'It was amazing seeing all the army lads do all what they did.

'It's given us a fresh start that we wanted really. We wanted to come away from the army and that's been difficult and have a fresh start – and the makeover has definitely given us that.'

Are you featuring on a television programme? Contact reporter Kim Briscoe on 01603 772419 or email

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter