We ended up going with a landscaping company (after having short lived fantasies of doing the garden ourselves) and so far we are very happy. Neither of us know enough about the plants or trees here to put plants in the correct spot and furthermore, neither of us have any type of green thumb at all. We asked for "organized jungle" meaning that I wanted a lot of local plants and wanted them rather to be as thickly planted as possible while still staying in the area they should.
The grass is still looking sparse but this is normal for recent sod. Pretty jungle-y, eh?
In the front we have a lot of flowers like above. Since all these plants are in, they need to be watered like crazy (especially since summer just started here). Luckily a few of the workers are stay-overs (meaning they sleep on site) and they have agreed to water the plants each evening.
The bald tree above will bloom. We are also putting vines on the two trellises in the garden.