With a spading fork, lift out weeds and existing plants. If existing plants are really cool,
set them aside, if not, toss. Use a tarp to make clean-up easier.
With a spading fork, turn over the soil, and remove large rocks.
Lay weed barrier, level edge, and begin 1st tier of garden wall edging.
Incorporate organic mulch, level, and water thoroughly.
Plant favorites keeping a distance from the structure to allow for snow slough and rain runoff.
Install the irrigation system and backfill with topsoil.
Allow topsoil to settle for two weeks then plant with favorites.
Parking area entrances/exits can be expanded by adding culverts.
Remove large rocks and weeds prior to laying the weed barrier.
Level the ground then install weed barrier.
Washed gravel drains quickly warms fasters to melt the winter snow. NO MUD.
Walkways can be enhanced by replacing washed gravel with chiprock.
Rake back gravel, lay weed barier, and install paver edging.
Flexible paver edging allows for curves.
Start at the furthest spot, dump chiprock.
Chiprock is much easier to walk on than gravel.
By the end of fall, the gardens are ready to cutback.
Cutback prior to the onset of winter has many advantages.
Pruners are used for thick stems and handheld, cordless shears for the rest.
I always use a tarp to collect the cutback.
A propane weed burner works great for eliminating parking lot weeds.
Taylor's Master Guide to Landscaping by Rita Buchanan. This is a great book. The pictures and text are so well done with practical advice on adding new gardens and hardscapes along with practical "makeovers" for problem solving.
Backyard Design, Making the Most of the Space Around Your House by Jean Spiro Breskend. I leave this book outside through the summer and look at it whenever I have a chance to sit and relax under the gazebo.
The pictures give me ideas on how to balance time, energy, space, and design in my own backyard.
I also recommend:
Waterwise Landscaping by Jim Knopf
National Audibon Society Field Guide To Birds - Western Region
The Undaunted Garden by Lauren Springer
40 Professional Designs For Do-It-Yourselfers, Beds and Borders by Ireland-Gannon Associates
40 Professional Designs For Do-It-Yourselfers, The Backyard Landscaper by Ireland-Gannon Associates
The Well-Tended Perennial Garden by Tracy DiSabato-Aust
Manual of Woody Landscape Plants by Michael A. Dirr