Yard needs major rehab - former hoarder house
I moved into my first home in May 2013. Imagine my surprise upon talking to my neighbors in finding out that the previous home owners were major hoarders. Allow me to explain how owning a former hoarder home has brought me to a gardening forum.
The previous owners completely neglected the lawn and garden of the entire large yard for the many years they
lived in the house. I didn't realize this as I was looking at the home before plants came up and while there was still snow covering much of the yard.
My boyfriend and I have managed to keep the front yard looking reasonable using manual weed removal (LOTS of burdock, garlic mustard, creeping charlie, pretty much any thing you could imagine), mowing and some herbicide. The back yard is another story. It is entirely weeds that we have tried to control through mowing etc but could only keep about half of the yard in check. There is the added problem of trash and debris that had been dumped in the yard. We've raked through a few times and still it is like an abandoned construction site. Nails, glass, garbage, dissolving plastic sheeting. I guess snow can hide a lot!!!
We are looking to buckle down and get a lot of work done in the fall to prep for the spring and winter and I am looking for advice on what we should do to get a head start on controlling the weeds for next year. I would like to develop a plan that would enable us to plant the back yard with a mix of grasses and wildflowers. We would like to keep a small area for entertaining but we don't have kids and only cats who would probably enjoy a natural yard. It seems like now would be the time to start this project but I am really at a loss for where to start; rototilling, herbicide, mulching? Please help and I appreciate your guidance.