We started with two guys and a 12" chipper and they chipped or removed all three of the big piles at the top of the garden. They left us a huge pile of mulch too.
The top area is now cleared and ready to rehab!
After that, they moved on to the big pile of twigs behind the composters. This represents 7 years of twig collecting - well, twigs, branches, pinecones, phormium leaves and agave leaves that won't compost quickly enough to make nice rich compost in the bins. And this pile had got huge - about 6' tall at the back and 12'x12' square.
They managed to remove about 2' off the top which was a feat, then the truck was full and they had to go around 2.30pm. Still, big improvement and we can now excavate broken down twiggy mulch from the base and resolve NEVER to add more branches to that pile again! If we have that sort of waste we will "mulch in place" around the base of some of the bigger plants in the middle of the beds.
Then we started imagining the plants we can put in and it was all very fun :)