Hi Becky! I local from CA! First think about how you want to use your space. Patio for relaxing, grilling, entertaining? Do you like to grow vegetables, herbs or fruit? Like a cutting garden for blooms throughout the seasons? How about children or pets to consider? Once you know what you to do, then time to start planning. There are hundreds of sites on line to look at for inspiration and ideas to incorporate into your space. Or you can hire a landscape architect or design firm to do for you. Here are some sites to get you started!
See if you don't find this helpful, Becky:
Draw a sketch indicating the width and depth of your lot. Mark in any outbuildings you already have and expect to retain. Decide what planting Zone you are located in and then select the plants you like most and which will be easy maintenance. Check out sights which show you pictures, width and height of the plants you like and then decide on where you would like to locate them. You can start with the outer edges and gradually fill in the front as the funds permit. Plantings are sometimes in groups of three, always use an odd number as it makes a much nicer display. Look for seasonal bloomers too so that you will always have color at any time during the growing season. When one stops blooming another should kick in.