[First question here on gardening and landscaping SE, please excuse my English and terminology. I would like to ask a 'few' questions (sorry for long post) but I'm mostly looking for some directions/guidance.]
I would like to revive and maintain (or completely re-purpose) an abandoned orchard on my in-laws property. Property is located in Bosnia and Herzegovina, hilly terrain (around 270 meters above sea level), temperate climate, area is around 3.500 m2. It is surrounded by mostly deciduous forest (acacia, hornbeam, oak...). There is a small house and an apple orchard (about 400 trees). There are also a few older trees (plum, cherry, pear, quince and few grape wines) but they seem to be in bad shape... When there is some fruit on those trees, it starts to fall off before they are ripe (I guess because of insufficient watering) or, even worse, wasps and hornets eat and damage most of it..
All of this may not sound too bad on paper but there are a lot of issues and problems I'd like to solve.
Main problem is that (all of property) but mostly the orchard is in a sorry state (I think it was planted some 10 years ago) - trees are laying in different directions/angles (regardless of supporting structure - wire and columns), some of them seem to be sick, there wasn't a single apple in years...
Second problem is soil and weed. It is mostly clay and during rainy periods and after winter it keeps water on top. Because of that and the fact there were layers upon layers of fallen leaves (which no one raked in years) the grass is being replaced by all sorts of weed and most of it is moss. There is a lot of moss on some (most) parts, some parts of what used to be a lawn now looks bald, and some parts of the lawn has huge cracks in the soil. Recently there seems to be some sort of ant infestation, a lot of new anthills appeared all over the property.
Also, along the wire fence there are unwanted blackberry shrubs and small acacia trees. Acacia seems to be the bigger problem because it seems to be spreading all over the place.
Last problem (which might be important for any future plans) is there is no running water. There is an underground basin (8 m3) for collecting rain, so it is hard to properly water plants and use it in the household.
My general plan is to completely tidy up this place. I'd like to:
- deal with the orchard (maybe completely remove it and plant few new seedlings so I can properly maintain them)
- remove all stumps which prevent mowing
- deal with terrain (maybe hire someone to plow it, get some more dirt and level it)
- fix the lawn (remove weed and moss) and reseed grass
- collect all leaves and use it as a mulch (along fence to fight blackberries shrubs) or partly use it as a compost
- build one or two smaller raised beds to grow some vegetables
- build tanks for collecting more rain for watering
So, after this long introduction here is my question:
This year I did just grass mowing, collecting leaves, made a compost pile.. and I started to realize I need some plans.
I don't know much about gardening, landscaping or growing plants but I have good will to learn and work (alone unfortunately and with limited time and budget). I also have most important tools (self-propelled lawnmower, grass trimmer, chainsaw, leaf blower, hedge trimmer, tiller and all sorts of hand tools..) (Please note I'd prefer not to use any pesticides unless I get really desperate).
Since the winter is coming, I guess there isn't much I can do until spring but I'd like to make plans as to how, when and in what order to deal with those tasks and plans?
Any help, suggestions and ideas are more than welcome.
Edit: Added few images for illustration purposes.