Hello fabulousemmalina: the best advice is - make haste slowly! When you first move to a new garden, be it large or small, you need to spend some time appraising it, seeing how much natural light you get, whether or not you have a microclimate, and also checking soil conditions.
It would seem that you have little natural soil available, so are thinking more about tubs and troughs etc. It is very late in the season to start, so unless you want to invest in a few "quick fixes" for colour, which will be expensive and may be wasted effort, you may be better off observing what you have, and gradually making plans.
You say you have a "yard". How big is it? Where are you located? Do you know which direction your yard faces? It may be that you will be lucky enough to create a mediterranean feel. But if it's north facing for example, you will have to deal with much more shade, which will restrict the plants that are possible to grow.
Let us know on the forum some of the basics, and we'll see if we can help. Doubtless there will be differences of opinion and of suggestions - but I'm sure some of the people who post here are extremely well informed and can give invaluable help.