Help this Eyesore
Area around back deck is awful. Need your suggestions.
Existing hardscapes are brick house, deck steps, two pitiful paths (one with stone steps), gravel drive on an incline.
Issues: entire area gets heavy covering of acorns, walnuts, sticks, and oak leaves every fall and is hard to keep cleaned up; short morning sun, then shade during summer; one bare area and one island-type bed that is a jumbled mess; pathways don't have enough large stones; I removed rotten landscape timbers --- do I need to replace them?
Wish list: lighted, attractive, easily maintained pathways; bring order and balance to the jumbled bed (would consider a fountain or statuary as anchor); plant the bare area in front of basement windows with low growing plants that can take a beating every autumn. (I don't want to block light entering basement; wish herbs would grow in this spot, but there isn't enough summer sun.) Deer resistant plants. Direct drainage away from foundation of house. Draw attention away from electrical boxes on back of house.
Plants that do well in my yard: arum, English ivy, vinca, lenten roses, boxwoods, azaleas, rhododendron, holly, dogwood, Bishop's weed, acuba, hydrangea. Zone 7, piedmont NC.
I have tried many times to post about 7 photos, but can only manage to get one to post. If someone can tell me how to attach more, I will do it. Thanks!