It took a lot of work to clear out the front yard. We moved plants to the back yard, hauled load after load out to the green recycling, metals recycling and just plain trash. We found the kitchen sink, a bathroom sink AND a faucet.
My Mom helped out a lot and sifted the dirt so we could move the good top soil to the back, load after load after load. My dad was a long organic gardener and taught others as well. The land was always home to his projects. In this case, allowing the jacaranda tree leaves to rot in place added several inches of good top soil.
As a kid on family vacations, my dad would stop and grab any interesting rock he saw. We always had to watch how much we carried with us so we would have room for more rocks. He had hoped to make a fish pond with them, but they are currently making a border to the planters in the front yard.
It was a lot of work, we displaced a few critters, but finally we were ready to start working on the fence. We had a deadline....had to beat the cancellation of the insurance because of the old fence.