Hey all, again! Thank you all so much for your advice, got lots to think about. Definitely going to get the dog run up asap.
DayDaisy - I will get on to doing some research for the best type of grass then, there's so many! Haha. I agree with you on the gravel, I think we're thinking of soft woodchip in the dog run. So, have a bit of underlay (or the gardening version!) and then woodchip on top, so no mud on their paws What do you think?
Dave Morgan - I was going to clear the garden today, but it's raining cats and dogs! Will wait for it to stop (hopefully) and get out there and clear up as you have suggested with the pots etc. We aren't planning on growning anything really other than grass, would the soil not allow for that? As for plants etc, I think thats more my partners idea haha. So I'll have to see what she likes for that, but I will definitely tell her about the shrub idea.
Izz8 - We have definitely decided on the dog run! I can't believe we haven't thought of it before. I'm a bit of a jack of all trades so I'm thinking eventually I may end up building them some kind of fortress haha! We have just ordered a few mats online that were recommended to us by a friend who runs a doggy day care/walking business. So sdhe's used to lots of muddy dogs! I like the idea of the plastic, however, our conservatory is all brick and windows, so easily cleaned. But I will definitely reccomened it in future.
Tina_i_am - You're positivness (is that even a word) about my garden is inspiring! Would you like to come round and fix it for me? Haha. It didn't take long at all to get that bad! I live in the South West and we got hit quite bad by the storm, hail, rain, wind, thunder, lightning! It was terrible. So bad that our conservatory actually split away from the house and cause a huge leak! All fixed now though, thank goodness! Clearing up as you suggested is on my to-do list today (providing it stops raining so badly, which is not helping my poor garden! Haha). The bin was a one off, we put it down the side of the garden during the storm as it's usually out front, we didn't want the risk of it getting blown over and going into the streets. We thought it would have been sheltered down the side of the house. We were wrong haha. Definitely going to look in to a hard wearing grass, just because of the children and the dogs, but not astro. My partner hates the stuff as if he boys fall over on it.... Well, I'll never hear the end of it! Haha.
So my current plan is to:
1) Clear garden of all rubbish, garden furniture and rubbish garden furniture!
2) Create a dog run.
3) Lay some hardwearing grass.
I think for now, number 3 can wait till after winter, but I will most definitely look into drainage of the lawn in the mean time.
I have a few questions about the dog run though. I plan on choping the trees down and putting the run there. How do I do that? Is it literally a case of getting my saw and cutting the things down? Also, I would like to place a underlay thing down and then soft woodchip on the top, so that its not muddy. Do I need to dig out the ground for this? Finally, I need an idea on how to have a "walk way" from the door to the run without the dogs getting muddy for the time being? What you you guys suggest?
Thanks again for all your great help! I will keep you all up dated on my adventure! Haha