I need advice on how to fill in a backyard border as cheaply and easily as possible!?

On one side of the yard I have a border with plants growing in it. In the middle there is a path made up of tiles and then there's the house. The path and left-hand border run up to the backyard gate. Where the house actually ends the tiled bit goes round (from the house to the backyard wall), so it's a... show more On one side of the yard I have a border with plants growing in it. In the middle there is a path made up of tiles and then there's the house. The path and left-hand border run up to the backyard gate. Where the house actually ends the tiled bit goes round (from the house to the backyard wall), so it's a nice sized patio area. To the right of this from the backyard wall to the house, there is a kind of a border. It drops about 10inches from the patio area down to the soil in the border/ditch and runs to the neighbour's backyard wall.
There is a planter thing on the wall that the people who lived in the house before me put up, but nothing grows there except weeds. I would really like it filled in up to the patio so it is level.
I have two young children and want to let them play out but I can't at the moment because they could easily fall into the border/ditch. It's currently full of weeds, and we put our garden wheelie bin down there.
I'd love my children to be able to play outside in a safe environment but don't know what I can use to fill it, I'm worried about drainage. I cannot afford to employ anyone to do the work, I will be doing it myself, I don't have much money to spare. I was kind of thinking perhaps if i could fill it with soil and then get some wood chips perhaps then the children would be able to run on it (rather than fall down it).
I know this sounds daft and probably totally obvious to other people but any help would be appreciated.
The area is 144 inches in length, 34 inches wide and about 10 inches deep (from the patio stones to the soil). I'd be so pleased if someone could help and I can play out in the fresh air with my children (get your violins out) if it ever stops raining and snowing x Thanks in anticipation for some kind soul to make my day and give me inspiration :-)
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