Posted: 25/11/2016 at 15:09
It depends on funds an energy levels. If you're planning a ptio and raised beds anyway I woud think that keeping the hardcore would be a simpler option. Then you can build raised beds up tp knee height for smaller plants and shrubs - knee height means they're comfy for sitting on so free seats if you make the top wide enough.
You could also build a deeper ones to take bigger shrubs and climbers such as roses and clematis that like a deep root run. This would stop your garden looking flat and you could easily ship in materials and compost during your house renovation phase.
Have a google for courtyard designs online and check out books in the library for ideas and things to consider such as outside lighting, water, bins and tools storage, seating, plants, boundaries..