Awesome thanks heaps! I checked the sun calculator for our city, in the spring/summer, the backyard gets sun until the evening, but the winter/autumn the sun rises into the valley and drifts on a low angle so it'll get considerably less direct light. The fences would hide quite a bit I think, until midday.
I actually once lived in this house (2012) and I know the garden worked when I was there, I just didn't know anything about it so didn't get involved - so there's some positive evidence that it can operate at the very least.
Am looking into mulch, our landlord also offered to get that arranged as well, will converse with her to see what works out.
Appreciate the advice! I'm wanting to fix the boundaries of each plot, it's old wood at the moment and I'm thinking about raising the edges up a bit more. I'll have to figure that out before I do anything else so will crack on before we move in.