good plant selection
i like the dwarf boxwoods creating a border
no flowerbeds in middle of yard. stick to edge of foundation and/or walkway and expand from there.
large garden next to the house takes away form the amount of grass you will need to plant.
You can do this on the side of the house to form a border.
notice how the flowerbed doesn't have to extend the entire length of the walkway.
like the bushes here.
i like the rocks in this picture. Also, notice how the tree does not have to have a border around, such as the borders you have in the NB house.
This fire pit looks better than plain old white rock.
I like the border or brick.