I've done this. The house I moved into April was in a bad state and the garden even worse. The ground was hard clay and the previous tenant buried a lot of rubbish under the ground. It was like concrete. I chose the cover the ground, after removing most of the top rubbish, with slate underlined with membrane to stop any weeds. I decided on containers and pots for flowers and plants and added decking to make a sitting area. There's a small rockery feature and a greenhouse where I'm attempting to grow a few vegetables and fruit. I'm a first time gardener and I'm enjoying it so much.