Posted: 15/02/2017 at 19:25
That's fair enough Matt. I'd hate for you to put all the effort in, only to find you're constantly battling the surroundings!
The other requirememnt for grass is decent drainage, and that's what you'll need to tackle when you lift the gravel and paving. The ground will be compacted for sure, but I'd avoid rotovating because if there are lots of perennail weeds under there, especially horsetail or ground elder etc, you can give yourself a bigger problem than you start with, as each little piece that gets chopped, will regenerate. Better to dig and loosen the soil up, removing any weed material as you go. You can then add a mix of topsoil,compost and manure depending on the conditions you have, as that will give you a good medium to turf or sow seed. If the ground's heavy clay, the addition of grit will assist drainage.
It's one of those situations where you can't be sure what route to follow until you start clearing the site. There could be concrete and all sorts under there .
I think I'd start with the gravel area, and see what it's like. By the time you get down to lifting the patio, you may be sick of the sight of it all, and that way, you can either leave the patio part for another time, or just keep it the way it is !