Posted: 21/03/2014 at 23:38
I'd echo Busy bee's advice. Take your time, get recommendations from people on here as to books, magazines plants and general advice. No question is too silly to ask, so never be afraid to ask, you will always get help.
Find the ph of your soil, the large shrub with red flowers sounds like a rhododenron or camellia, so your soil maybe acidic but do a test with a kit you can get from the garden centre or online.
Posting a pic here will get you plenty of help as well.
See how much sun you get, where and when and tell us what your soil is like i.e. clay, loam, sandy, I suspect with rhododendron/camellia, it will be loam and fairly good. You haven't posted your location, so I can't look you up on the national soil survey, which would tell you what your soil is most likely to be.
Your soil ph will give you a guide as to which plants will do best, sun,shade and moisture will determine the rest.
See what else comes up during the summer, before you start to dig everything up.
In gardening patience is one of the first skills you will have to learn, unless you have a fat bank account and can buy in instant results.
Take the time to read and plan, see what damage the kids do and plan accordingly.
This is one of the best places you will get to learn, so make full use of thousands of years of gardening knowledge with having to buy it.