Posted: 04/12/2014 at 10:11
I would start cutting back on the things you don't want now. If you do want to keep your grass, you could redo the edges as that will make it look alot better instantly. You could also plan to do a patio that wraps around the back of your house so that you have a mud free zone to stand on, whatever door you come out of, and it will be somewhere nice to sit in the summer. If your sheds are not needed, take them out and you'll be suprised just how much space you will have.
If you don't want to keep the grass you could try a gravel garden. Very low maintenance, beds as big as you like, pond will fit right in too. My inlaws did this to save on lawn maintenance, and you don't have to get someone to take the grass away, you can strip it and just turn it over as they did. They have created some island beds in the gravel as they are on a corner plot of a crescent, so have a large area.
You could have a water feature in a nice large pot or old oak barrel if you don't have room after all.