And voila! The after pic. We can breathe now and so can the lawn! I no longer fear that the tree will consume our whole property!! Although I suspect it won't be shy in making a come back.
I was really happy that two of the bushes had pretty straight trunks so I was able to prune them both into cute topiaries (a camellia 2nd in and an erica bush 5th in line). The most exhausting task was dealing to the tree (4th in line and looking rather tame now) with the tools I had on-hand; a small saw, an axe and some loppers. So I began tackling the tree with the loppers, removing the smaller shoots making the thicker branches and eventually the trunk easier to get to with the saw and axe. I did this in stages as it was pretty heavy manual labour and I also didn't want the tree (what was left of it) to die (or maybe secretly I did, not sure lol!). What once was a thick trunk with many thick branches I have whittled back to resemble a topiary trunk. I ended up with my fair share of blisters wielding the axe. But this trunk taming is by far my proudest achievement in the north yard.
Again I went with the topiary theme as it makes sense allowing plenty of room for a person pushing a lawn mower. Never fun getting a branch in the eye whilst grappling with overgrown bushes while doing lawns. In the spring that top par t will have bushed up beautifully.
This garden did not have a wavy edge... the dirt patches spilling onto the lawn in front of number 2 and 4 bushes were the end result of pulling up countless roots. These babies will need regular pruning to keep them manageable and prevent them from breaking up the concrete path or worse!
I carried on my merry way around the other plots in the north yard.
My best discovery was the concrete curbing around all of the flower beds (except the one along the carport.. or maybe it did but the trees ate it!). They are largely currently obscured by lawn overgrowth however I dashed out to the local Mitre10 Mega and purchased a lawn edger (one of those long handled wheely jobs that has a disk that rests up against the edge you wish to trim). I couldn't WAIT to get started even though we'd had quite a bit of rain and I knew the ground would be pretty stodgy... Aaaand it was. I did some then gave up as the lawn edger wheel disk kept getting caked with dirt. I shall put that on hold for drier times.