Answer: Since you are looking at a large "makeover" I would suggest you take a look at a book or two about gardening, landscaping and vegetable growing. One I like is "Gardening for Dummies" by Michael MacCaskey, ISBN 1-568884-644-4. In it you will find straighforward information about evaluating a yard, landscape planning, plant selection, planting, and routine care.
Your County Extension (915-1399) should also be able to help you with basic soil tests and interpreting the results as well as with recommendations of plants and varieties that do especially well in your area.
ENjoy your new yard!
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