Thanks chicken chaser, it is so much help hearing from others how to approach it all.
Just an idea of the cost,this is 5 metres x 3 and cost me £400.
We had a crappy patio at the side of the lounge and OH decked it because it was not level and the top was paving stones with very large gaps between. We've since added more around the pond, leading round to the patio doors, incorporating steps, a raised bed and two beds in the decking. We have some long steps further down the garden and another square patio (our garden slopes downwards so it helps to get to the bottom.) We don't have any trouble with rats as most of it sits on hard standing and the bit that doesn't isn't boxed in.
You could paint your fence black and then fix trellis on it in a different colour, could be effective and give colour in winter when alot of plants go over.
Thanks to all for the ideas.
Been sat with pencil and paper sketching out some thoughts each evening. I think as most of the area is in shade at this time of year decking won't be the way to go.
I'm going to pave 3 areas, one in front of the shed, one beside it for sitting down, one outside the house. Then link them all up with a path. Got lots of ideas to spruce up some cheap utility paving slabs I've seen advertised by Wickes and I think it will work out. I'll post up some pictures when I get going sometime next year. Thanks to all for all the help, I think it may have been a big mistake decking this area if is going to always remain damp and I will be a lot happier with paving and gravel.
Be careful about laying paving on the existing concrete by the house (as you probably already know this can cause damp problems if it touches the wall above DPC). You could use resin bound gravel in that area, straight onto the concrete slab. Or leave a gap alongside the house and make sure it drains somewhere! (Obviously also ensure the paving falls away from the house).
For the rest of the areas, I think you've got the right idea in creating little areas of paving rather than paving the whole space in one material. Areas of hard paving in gravel work quite nicely too. (Not stepping stone paths, I mean decent areas of paving you can actually use, surrounded by gravel and planting),
Yep that's the idea I have WillDB, proper paved areas for sitting (not that I get the chance often lol) and a proper utility path. There is going to be left over rectangles which I'll line and then gravel where I can put pots of herbs and pot plants. I'm also having a thin border so I can get some climbers in to cover a planned trellis.
I'm OK going over the concrete by the house I think, it will be at least two bricks below the DPC with the paving added and it already slopes down to a soak away, so that should work out if I just follow what is there already and make sure I get a slope away from the brick work too.
Seems weird looking forward to the hard work next year will bring already.
I'd agree with Will - paving set into gravel works really well whether done informally or in a more structured way. You're right to leave decking if the area's not in full sun for most of the day and you can plant directly into the gravelled areas using different heights to create screens for privacy as well. You could break up some of the concrete on your paved areas at the back of the house to make beds, which will give you more scope for planting than pots alone. It helps to break up a big area of paving especially if you use repeat planting to unite it all.
Thanks Fairygirl, I've been so glad of all the help which has guided me. I'll be talking to my neighbour and asking if he minds me putting in higher fence panels with a trellis top, so I can get some climbers and shrubs to give some structure to the garden and make it more secluded where we sit to eat.
Not sure exactly phillippa, though will need to dot an accurate plan to look at the costs as budget will be tight.
As a guestimate around 10% of the back garden.
I have a mixture of gravel, slate chippings and brick built paths and it looks really nice, glad you've decided to stay away from the decking, had that at the last house and because it was shady it was leathal. Spent half my life cleaning it to keep the moss at bay and lost count the number of times I went ar** over t**.
Thanks Yviestevie, just what I don't need, more things to clean and my poorly OH falling over more than he does already!
I think it will all turn out very nice, and so glad I asked on here as all summer I thought decking would be the ideal solution.