When I moved into my house, my whole front yard was like this: waist deep meadow grass. Nice and wild looking, but not so much fun and not useful at all. (You can see the house up on the ledge behind, there are the porch railings)
Now, here is what I have done: by hand dug up the grass and cleared half of the front yard. All of the plants are just pieces from plants that are in my upper gardens (i.e. gardener with no budget) so it looks a little sparse right now, but you can see that I have made tremendous progress. I am very proud.
You can also see the lovely tree house from down below. I dug out a lot of the bedrock which had a lot of soil on top of it from years of rotting leaves. Here's the edge of the ledge, behind the long grasses, where there is also lots of rock (in the back)
And my new raised bed in the top of the yard, with my little rock wall. Of course I wish the sidewalk were a nice stone pathway but it's great for riding bikes so we'll keep it for awhile.