Garden - where to start!



Hello all; first post!

After extending our house a couple of years ago, we finally have some limited fundage to sort our back garden...

At about 6m x 8m it's not what you call a big project, but I was hoping some of you could offer a few tips on where to start.

Here is a plan of the current layout:


The trees are a sycamore on the left and a lime, both are 60' plus and have TPOs. There's a small playhouse between the trees and a small shed to the left of the sycamore.

We want to make use of the existing patio (to left of extension) and also pave a bit across the back; a climbing frame is going along the right side so we'll probably have bark chippings in an 'L' shape to take in the trees and playhouse. The rest will be turfed with stepping stones to the shed.

I really just need some general advice for now, ie:
1) what should the plan of attack be? Should I hire a rotivator and churn up the whole garden first? (It's mainly mud with some patches of grass).
2) how do I level the garden? I can lose some soil in the disused filter beds to the rear of the garden.
3) what should I put under the paving stones as a foundation?
4) there are airbricks in the extension wall; how much lower than these does the patio need to be?

Many thanks in anticipation!


PS we were thinking something along these lines:

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ok, i'll start you off... is the bit top left of your plan, your land?

you say you want to level, what difference in height have you got?
mechanical assistance will help if there's a lot of shifting of soil to do.

the different areas (grass, slabs etc) will need prepping in different ways.

As for the airbricks, i'm not sure about them but it's the DPC you want to be careful with - keep 6 inches below that with the top of your finished patio
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