Once you know your yard, find your climate region on the USDA Hardiness Zone Finder – this will help you look for plants that thrive in your climate (and will stop you from wasting money on a palm tree that fails in your New England winters). Then think about what kind of effort you want to put into your garden and what you want the end result to be: Do you want a magazine-worthy rose garden that requires constant attention? A yard full of perennials you can plant and forget about? Carefully shaped shrubs that take years to fill in? Ask your neighbors, your local nursery owners, and nearby gardeners for their advice, too.