Posted: 19/03/2017 at 13:24
I too would avoid birch in a small garden and so near to houses. They grow quite rapidly but are generally short lived and easily damaged or blown over in strong winds, plus they produce high levels of pollen in spring which can be problem for hay fever sufferers.
Buy, hire or borrow a pressure washer to clean up teh concrete and it will look a lot better. If you take up that left hand lot of grass as Hosat suggests, you could plant blackcurrants, redcurrants and rhubarb - all easy plants with no prickles and will teach your child about where food comes from as well as being good to eat. You could put strawberries along the path edge to break up the line a bit and provide more fruit. You'll need to remove all weeds and then improve the soil before planting and you can mulch with chipped bark to keep weeds down afterwards. Do not use cocoa shells as they're poisonous to dogs.
Leave the ivy for the above stated reasons. It may, as some friends of mine once found, be all that's holding up the wall and will be a pig to remove and clean off.
Weed and tidy up your raised beds and then freshen up the soil with some bought in compost or soil conditioner. By Easter, any desirable plants should be showing and you'll be better able to see what's worth keeping. There are usually some good offers for plants at Easter as it's a major weekend for garden centres.
Keep your grass trimmed to about 1" high and apply a weed and feed treatment in April, following instructions on the pack.
That should give you plenty to be getting on with and then you can think about adding some colour along the right hand border with climbers and other flowering shrubs and plants that will be football proof for later years.