I suspect that no matter what option finally gets decided (block paving, slabbing, or concrete) the first step will be to remove some earth, and lay some hardcore as a base.
The area is about 13' (4m) square.
Looking at mini digger hire rates, seems you can get a 0.8m3 or 1.5m3. Given I have never handled a digger before is there a trade off in ease of use and size ? Or should I get the biggest I can ? (It's on the front of the house, so no access issues).
Assuming I go down about 50cm, then we're talking about 8m3 of waste. Presumably a skip is needed ... these hippo bags aren't worth it ?
How much hardcore would be needed, and is a whacker plate essential ?
Assuming aesthetics aren't a priority, is there any reason not to finish off by calling a readymix supplier and getting them to dump <x> cubic metres and spend a happy afternoon with a plank of wood levelling it off ?
And the question that's most important ....how hard is it to look really serious and like it's a chore when playing with a mini digger ?