I bought a new home with a moderate size (90x40 ft) back yard. Unlike the front lawn, the back has never been planted and is pretty much home to weeds, aside from a small maple tree.
Last year I paid to have the entire lawn sprayed to keep down the weeds. This year I'll likely be doing the same. However, next year I want to spend the time and money to finish the lawn properly, complete with paved patio area, planters and trees. I've had a landscape artist draw up some preliminary plans, so I know what kind of layout I want. I know I want to invest in a sprinkler system and will do some of the labor myself.
Before I get started, I'm puzzled by a couple of things:
The soil seems rocky, with clay, sand and gravel in places. I am unsure whether to bring in some new top soil and till everything together, or remove the existing soil first before bringing in new top soil.
What major steps do I need to take to truly transform a weed-infested zone into a beautiful back yard?