Once the design is in mind be sure to invest in the infrastructure of your garden. I have talked to literally hundreds of people about their gardens and when they tell me about their failures it almost always goes back to a lack of proper infrastructure; those boring parts of the landscape like sprinkler and drip systems, retaining walls and paths.
Arbors, patios and decks are a little more interesting and can be scaled up or down depending on the materials you choose. Quality materials are always a good investment because they stand the test of time. Taking a shortcut here will lead to dissatisfaction and failure of your project. Hardscape (anything that is not a plant) is the most essential part of your outdoor space, carrying the landscape year round and creating the ‘bones’ of the garden that are so necessary to make it livable and simple.
The ability to pare down, restraining yourself from all those impulse buys at the garden center, and eliminating the non-essentials are the key. Simplifying requires that you change your mind set; research what will work in your microclimate and stick to a limited plant palette. Having fewer types of plants requires less of an investment of time when it comes to maintaining them. Large drifts of a limited number of species makes a bigger impact than lots of different plants in the same space. Remember that besides curb appeal a landscape is for simple pleasures like growing food, playing with kids and dogs, taking a nap, and watching birds and butterflies.
With proper planning, your garden should provide you with a place to relax, a place to dine with friends and family, creating great memories and a sense that simple pleasures are the best.