Posted: 07/09/2014 at 09:46
Hi clueless. If I was you I'd get the raised beds done first. That way, you can get some plants in - bulbs for spring right away! The lawn is a different ball game and a lot depends on your finances and time. A recent new member to the forum has cleared his established garden, levelled it all and sown a new lawn but it has taken a huge amount of work as I'm sure you can imagine. If you want to clear it and level it then it's best to use weedkiller - possibly more than once - to get rid of everything, and that will give you a clean slate to work with. Rotivating can create problems as it's easy to chop up any remaining weeds and make the problem worse so just be aware of that. It's usually better to use a fork,spade, rake and elbow grease to get the soil sorted!
Bearing in mind the time of year, you may want to leave the grass till next year unless you can afford to get a company in to do it, simply because you might have a sea of mud over winter if you don't complete the project quickly .
If you do a search for the thread 'Clearing a garden' on here, that will bring up Mr Toast's thread about the garden I mentioned and you can see what was involved. If I can find it, I'll bump it up to the first page here for you