Posted: 26/03/2014 at 12:24
I think that when we move into a new house the temptation is to adopt the garden the previous owners have left us. Then after a few months or years we wish we'd got stuck in to the job of changing things a bit sooner! Clearly we should retain things of real value or that are quirkily interesting, but equally there are other features which are bad and can only get worse. I don't think that the fruit trees you have inherited owe you anything; trying to reshape them to encourage fruiting will take a long time to work, if it succeeds at all. By then your new fruit trees will be cropping merrily.
I think the other posters are suggesting that there may be a lot in your new garden which is not worth preserving, and it may be worth going for a radical approach. For instance, will any fruit trees you plant be heavily shaded and therefore not do very well? And if you start to tidy and plant up the garden and then decide to get rid of these large fruit trees and leylandiis, will your work get trashed in the process? As Steve says, removal of large trees and stumps can be a little disruptive. I think your good-sized garden could look twice as big if you let the light in.