Posted: 25/02/2015 at 22:09
I would have been here earlier, but was unwell
I'm another for getting rid of the tree, too big, will suck the life out of the soil. Will get bigger. A job for a professional, ask advice when you get quotes about leaving some of the trunk. I did that because I wanted to grow a wisteria up the trunk and train it to be a wisteria tree. But had to dig huge hole and add loads of manure and compost as soil was so impoverished, then the trunk rotted and had to be sawn off anyway and a support post banged in.
I'm with you on keeping the lawn though. Without the tree's shade and with a bit of feeding and weed removal I think the green will look nice.
Pruning the buddleia and the smoke bush is the right thing to do. Buddleias can be cut back very hard. The smoke bush will make redder bigger leaves.
Don't rush anything apart from the basics, there may be other things planted and your ideas may evolve. Buy a good gardening book and enjoy reading it.