Here's how it's looking currently:
We still need to throw down decomposed granite, pull some stray bits of grass as they emerge, add a dry creek bed for rain barrel overflow, work on the path, and fill in right next to the house. However, it looks better than it did last year:
The Italian cypress trees have managed to correct themselves with a little help from a few tomato cages. One got topped, but it's returning from a surviving branch. One other died outright but won't be replaced as it's not a critical area to fill.
Even last year, the yard was better than when we first moved here, and there was only a declining purple vitex, a horrible cedar, and some awful grass:
I'll go through the plants in the new garden tomorrow (lots of natives and well-adapted plants). Or maybe I'll show the amazing tomato-hoop-house-trellis which we completed this weekend!