I don't know how to start
Thanks for writing! I'm sorry, but it's impossible to give specific landscaping advice without being able to see your yard in person. There are so many variables. But, I can give you some general tips and ideas.
Start by coming up with a list of exactly what you want. Is growing vegetables, fruits, and herbs of interest? Do you want to attract butterflies or hummingbirds? Coming up with goals like this will help you narrow down your plant lists.
Also: For both plant and design ideas, keep an eye out in your neighborhood. Chances are if plants are thriving for your neighbors, they'll thrive for you. And I've gotten many great ideas from gardens I pass by regularly. It's just a matter of stopping and taking closer notice of them.
I'd also encourage you to take a look at our collection of garden plans here on BHG.com. We have more than 100 plant-by-number plans that show you what to plant where. Check them out if you've not seen them at: http://www.bhg.com/gardening/plans/
If you know what you want to plant, you can also arrange your yard online with our Plan-a-Garden tool: http://planagarden.bhg.com/planagarden/
Also: Don't miss our Plant Encyclopedia, which allows you to search for plants by all sorts of criteria including size, hardiness, sun/shade tolerance, drought tolerance, and more. See it at: http://www.bhg.com/gardening/plant-dictionary/
Of course, there's also a wealth of ideas in the Better Homes and Gardens books and magazines. Check out the selection at your local book store.
Good luck. I'd love to see what you do with your yard. If you'd like to share before-and-after pictures with us, you can here! http://www.bhg.com/photos/gardening/
---Justin, Senior Garden Editor, BHG.com
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