Posted: 02/05/2013 at 23:20
First of all I would have a clear out of all the junk you can find, take it to the tip and then cut the grass (carefully ) on the highest setting. I would then tackle the things closest to the house so you will have somewhere to sit out, entertain and you could decorate with a few pots, so you feel you have got somewhere to rest at the end of the day!
You then want to buy some long handled loppers and thick gardening gloves and cut back the brambles as far as you can - you can throw them back into the council land and they will still act as a barrier even though they are dead.Then I would employ someone to put up a fence for you to make you feel more secire and keep the brambles at bay. Spray any that sprout on your side or close to the fence with glysophate aka roundup.
If you have unearthed bushes, shrubs and plants by this time then look down your road and see if there is a well maintained garden among your neighbours. If there is, knock. Ask them if they would mind coming and looking in your garden to identify things and help you decide what should stay (the majority of gardeners would be delighted to do this) - if this is not an option then post pictures of anything you find an here and hopefully you will find out if it is a friend or foe in the garden.
Best advice is to do a bit at a time and don't be too ambitious. Get friends/family to pitch in with painting etc with the promise of a meal/bbq as payment. Take pictures of before and after; take pictures of plants you see in other people's gardens which you would like to have in yours, but most of all enjoy making your first garden! Good luck!