The Winner of Britain’s Worst Garden Competition

While expert gardeners were turning their attention to RHS Chelsea this May, a small garden in Willenhall was about to undergo a life-changing transformation that would have an impact for years to come. searched high and low for Britain’s Worst Garden, receiving hundreds of entries that told woes of gardens forgotten and neglected in the face of tragic life events like nearly fatal heart attacks, terminal illnesses, life-limiting disabilities, divorces and financial difficulties.

Single mum Nicola Machin entered the competition hoping to give her daughter Ellie, who suffers from cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus and epilepsy, a safe place to play outside. She had no idea that a month later she would beat over 200 other entries and receive nearly 1,400 votes to win a £1,000 prize towards a new garden. “I had an email in my inbox saying ‘would you like to win a £1,000 towards your garden’? I thought it wouldn’t hurt to try”, said Nicola.

She continued: “I took Ellie outside to take a picture and entered it on the website. The response was phenomenal, I didn’t expect to get that many votes, I was expecting something like 50-60 votes, not a 1,000 plus! Ellie obviously struck a chord but there were loads of other entries that deserved to win, we’re just really lucky to be chosen. She has been so excited to have a garden where she can go out and play ‘dirt’ as she calls it, and to pot her flowers.”

Ellie’s story really did strike a chord with the voters. She couldn’t move around her garden because the slabs weren’t wide enough to accommodate her wheelchair. Local parks or the gardens of friends weren’t options either, as they weren’t always disability-accessible. Playing outside, something crucial to a child’s development and happiness, was something Ellie was greatly missing out on.

The garden took five days to create and was no easy task, but with the help of MyBuilder tradesman Chris Gilbert, who runs Gilberts Landscaping in Walsall and a generous donation from Hollybush Garden Centre and Aquaria, who offer friendly and professional advice on all aspects of gardening, aquatics and pet care, the transformation was made much easier. Travis Perkins also helped by providing the main bulk of materials. Without the help of these people the project would have not been possible.

Ryan Notz, CEO and Founder said: “The aim of the Grand for your Garden competition was to transform someone’s life, not just create a beautiful new garden. Selecting a winner was extremely difficult as there were so many touching stories that deserved to win. In the end we chose Nicola and Ellie because they had so much public support, and it was a chance to improve the lives of a single parent family who have to live with a significant disability everyday."

Through this kindness they have received a garden that gives Ellie the ability to play outside like every other child during the summer and for the family to have some space where they can spend quality time together.

MyBuilder was founded in 2004 by stonemason Ryan Notz. It has since helped over a million homeowners find a local tradesman they can trust. Whether you want to transform your home or tweak it, they can definitely help you hire the perfect builder for your job.

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We chose a garden makeover because we know that with summer approaching the garden is often the focal point of the house with everyone enjoying as much of the sunshine as they can outside. If it’s a mess then it can really be a depressing and our Grand for your Garden makeover is our chance to transform someone’s life.

"At MyBuilder we help homeowners find great tradesmen day in, day out, and we’re proud of our success in realising this mission. However, there are a lot of homeowners who are in a difficult financial situation and can’t afford to hire a tradesman, even for much needed repairs. Our garden competition will brighten someone’s life by improving what is often the most neglected part of the home." Ryan Notz, CEO and Founder,

— 2015-08-20 17:42:40