my shovel is calling

We are blessed to have a large yard to play in, work on, and enjoy. When we moved in, everything was overgrown and under appreciated. After much sweat, lopping, digging and cutting later, this is where we are now. I was too disgusted to take a REAL before before photo, so trust me when I say this has already come a long way. 

The current middle, lower back yard view.

I'm no pro-gardener, but I know what I like. I don't mind a garden that looks a little wild. I'm in favor of natural-looking shrubs as opposed to little spheres of perfection and I typically only bother with shrubs or plants that flower in some way. Right now, this garden looks pretty empty to me. I don't like all the naked space and most of the shrubs around the house look like little fros.

That being said, I'm not about to destroy any perfectly healthy plants that were here before me, so as long as they're not killing other plants or just plain ugly, I will make the best of them all. Although I'm tempted to plant excessive amounts of wildflowers and call it a day, I do have some plans for making this garden a little cozier.

Please disregard the lazy Photoshopping...I should be ashamed, but I was just so excited to get my ideas out!
A few things to note here:
- I'm not much for annuals because I'm looking for a long-term plan. It's nice to have things bloom all summer, but I have enough gardening to do without investing time and money into things that will knowingly die. I do like to buy a few packets of seeds each year though, and plant big luscious flowers like ranunculus or zinnias. (See ranunculus up in the yard under the magnolia)
- I am all about propagating existing plants that I (or my friends and family) have. Not only is it a great money saver, but older, established plants benefit from being trimmed back or separated anyway. I plan to separate much of the Autumn Joy Sedum I have around, as well as more of the Rock Garden Iris. I'm also hoping to try propagating hydrangeas with these directions from Southern Living.
- In case you can't see it on your monitor, hanging from the right of the plant hook is an awesome hummingbird feeder I plan to find soon. We already have a regular bird feeder that we enjoy watching from the sunroom and we've seen a few hummingbirds.
- I realize that this area would never look like this because these things will never all bloom at the same time. :)

I definitely have my work cut out for me here (and this is only one area of many!) But luckily, I can't wait. Let me know if you have any planning ideas or tips of your own!