First of all, I started with a huge impediment to my garden - in the middle of the back yard a swimming pool stubbornly dominated the landscape. "Keep it! Keep it!" everyone who did not have to deal with upkeep said. I knew it was going and I did not look back. Below is what the back yard looked like before the pool came out.
We threw some rocks in the hole and filled it with dirt. Thus the adventure of a garden on the rocks was about to begin. Because the contractor used so much clay (they get good compaction ratings from the civil engineer when they do so) I spent the entire summer amending the backyard. The following summer I put up the hardscape and continued amending as well as laying down the sprinkler system. It was not until the spring and summer 2 years after the pool had removed that I actually got to start on my garden. I am starting to learn albeit slowly and many mistakes, what areas in my yard have different needs and requirements. Just starting.