There are no two gardens alike on this whole planet. And the challenge is to find a plan for your garden that works for you and also for the natural environment of which it is part. You can, of course, if the town and your neighbors allow, do nothing. It is more likely, though, that you have some hopes and expectations. These can be practical, like creating an area to sit, or aesthetic, like a nice flower bed to look at.
Write down your wishes and determine a budget. The next step is to assess your yard. Describe the habitat and the ‘inhabitants.’ What is the climate? Is it sunny or wet? Steep or narrow? More important, does it look healthy?
The key is not to be too exacting. Gardens evolve and take time. For customized advice please connect with a local Healthy Yard Group, a local native plant center, an Audubon Chapter or another local environmental organization in your area. Know that gardeners love to share ideas and share plants. Chances are, they can offer you help with your yard, either for free or for a modest price, or will be able to refer you to a sustainable landscape designer. Good luck!