Posted: 27/04/2017 at 11:35
Welcome to the forum NiniS - and also to the wonderful world of gardening That is a very nice space you have there - lots of possibilities!
To answer your first question about a basic 'essentials' tool kit - the items I find indispensable are: a pair of good secateurs, a border (digging) fork, a border spade and a hand (ie small hand weeding) fork.
My general advice when buying those tools which will be in constant use - is to buy the best you can afford. I would recommend going to a large garden centre which stocks a wide range of tools. There you will be able to hold the different tools and see how they feel. I'm very short - so spades and forks designed to be used by strong 6' blokes are usually no use to me. You may also find that different handle styles feel naturally more comfortable to you. Small hand tools should feel comfortable and nicely balanced in the hand.
Once you have your basic kit you will soon find you need things such as loppers and rakes etc etc but the 4 I've listed above are an essential start.
I'd also add a pair of thick gloves if you're going to be handling brambles etc.
Regarding tackling the weeds - I think it depends on what you think you might do with this area.
If you think it will be a general utility area or you might put in hard landscaping or a pond - then zapping the weeds with glyphosate might be the easiest option - although it doesn't work particularly well on ivy and brambles - you'll probably need to dig those out.
If you think you might plant it up (perhaps a woodland themed area?) you might want to dig it over so you can check there are no little treasures already growing there which will be useful in the new planting. If you're sure there isn't - you can still use weedkiller per Pete's instructions.
A Green Johanna will take some weeds but it's not big enough to take all the stuff you will dig out of there - and some of it is not great for composting either. You can buy builders dumpy bags very cheaply online. You can collect the weeds in those and take them by car to your nearest green waste recycling point. They are reusable.
LB is right that the general rule with a normal compost bin is not to put cooked food / meat / dairy in it as it will attract rats. Green Johanna's are supposed to be designed to be rat proof and used for food composting. I don't know anybody who has one so I'm not sure how rat proof they actually are.
You could certainly screen off a bit in your 'problem' area and have a bay of 3 'normal' compost bins made from wooden pallets. Very cheap and very effective.