Posted: 03/06/2014 at 06:20
Well, it's Mr Toast's garden and he wants to put his mark on it and has asked for advice - my advice is to do it bit at a time - divide the garden into small areas and decide how you want each area to look then tackle them one at a time.
Doing the whole job at once would undoubtedly result in loads of mud whenever it rained, and with a family about that would get carted indoors and would cause loadsa stress.
While you're working on one area give the children free rein to play in the rest of the garden - my children would be building camps behind some of those shrubs, son would have been playing cowboys, leaping out on us from behind a bush and daughter would've been in a Fairy Dell, wearing an old bridesmaid dress and having a fairies' picnic with her toys. (Quite gender stereotypical my two, until daughter learnt how to climb trees then she turned into a tomboy )
Then, bit by bit you'll have worked around the garden, changing the borders and making raised beds and a place for a climbing frame and a sitting out area etc until it's as you want it - then you can lay a new lawn and it will unite the whole garden - doing the lawn last will mean it doesn't get messed up by all the other work you're planning to do.
When you turf a lawn you have to keep off it for quite some weeks, even little people's feet will damage it and you'll have to do it all again - so the longer you can manage with that lawn while they're growing a little older, the better it will be for everyone's stress levels.
Some of the plants you've got will probably be fine where they are, they'll just need an occasional prune once a year and a bit of fertiliser. If you can show us pics we'll tell you what they are and when and how to prune them. If you prune shrubs at the wrong time of the year you risk losing all the flowers. If you get it right the garden will look a picture.
If you show us pictures we'll also tell you which plants are past their best and might as well be scrapped, and which ones you could dig up and replant in more suitable places.
I hope that's helpful