Tetley how come every time your gnomes have their A.G.M. it looks like a social event? I don't think they take it very seriously.
LBear when I was very young I was taken to my cousin's new house. Her grass was too long and her shrubs were overgrown and I remeber it to this day "making a hut" under her tree and loving it. I was so impressed that I commented to my mum on the way home " the plants don't grow in straight lines in M's garden".
The plants still don't grow in straight lines in M's garden and they don't grow in straight lines in mine either.
Don't look at your garden as another chore but somewhere to spend time poking about and moving and sorting with your daughter. Gardens aren't all about trampolines and paddling pools though they have their place.
What nobody else has mentioned is, if you sheet the whole lot and then put down bark, the first windy day you'll lose your bark into the corner. It blows away!
Haha thanks everyone. What about if I sheet the whole let then turf a section? I'm coming round to the ide slightly hahaha
I did think about suggesting paving slabs and freecycle earlier but they are very unforgiving on small knees and elbows and heads when they fall.
Grass is honestly the kindest surface for play. No point putting membrane under turf or seed. If you can get some help with the rest of the clearing and then get the soil that's behind left forked over and raked level you can sow seed in September. it really isn't that hard to keep it cut - think of it as hoovering floors - and it's easy then to add a paddling pool when she's big enough or make a den under that tree as budget, needs and materials allow.
A wee Flymo or similar isn't that expensive and there may be one going on Freecycle/Ebay/local ads. You can hang it on a wall so it doesn't take up space.
You've done a great job of clearing it!
Without being able to zoom in on the pics, it's hard to identify particular weeds and weed grasses.
I'm not a great lover of weedkillers, particularly where kids and pets are nearby but clearing the ground alone may not be sufficient to keep some of the offenders at bay, particularly if you are thinking of laying a lawn or block paving.
Paving slabs with a hard mix in between the gaps will suppress most weeds and there are so many contemporary slab styles to choose from, but as @obelixx suggested, they can be less forgiving (injury-wise) than a lawn.
I personally would leave the garden for a week or two (or a bit longer) to see what grows back. If a load of thick-leaved grass (or grass with long, fibrous underground roots i.e. couch grass) and other persistent and deep-rooted weeds such as danelions, dockweed weeds or other nasties return, it's more than likely they'll need to be eliminated either with daily painstaking hoeing/digging or with weedkiller.
If I went down the weed killer route what would you reccomend? I think I would have to do the entire garden...