Don't want to be a post hog but thought it might be helpful to see the last years of the Park's main bed. The first shot was taken in September, 2005.
We started with 10' long junipers encroaching on a crab grass "lawn" with buckled brick walkway that was 3/4 buried extending approximately from the middle of the parking area in front of the garage to the patio steps.
We set a goal of spending no more than $500 per year including everything, and we've pretty much stuck to that. It certainly could've happened faster with a bigger budget, but in a few more years when the seed-sowns are mature and our "stick with roots" shrubs are full-grown, I think I'll appreciate it even more knowing it was truly "from scratch."
So we yanked a lot of half dead stuff in 2004 with the help of a Bobcat, took stock of what was left, and pulled out the graph paper.
2005 - From the garage door - no Rugosa yet. No plants at all to speak of :-) This was year 2 that involved amending the solid clay soil and putting in copious amounts of mulch and compost:
2006: Standing in what is now the middle of the bed -- no paths, no anything except a plan
2007: Year 2.5 and to my eye it was beginning to take shape with the main walk and pathways in
2008: What a little perseverance will do :-)