Excited Newbie!!

Excited Newbie!!

Long story short, I'm getting the opportunity to start gardening in my mom's yard!! <3 But I have no idea what I'm doing. XD My mom knows some about gardening, but her health is bad and she won't always be able to help me or educate me. I'm so excited -- I've been longing to do some real gardening for a long time now, but have never had a yard, the time, or the resources for it. Her yard is essentially a blank slate right now...we get to plant everything from scratch. :D The most I've ever done is a few indoor potted plants which usually wind up dying on me in a year. :( Where do I even begin? I know that you have to prepare the soil somehow...but how? We're planning on plotting out a section of her yard for small a veggie garden (we definitely want cucumbers, tomatoes, and squash!), and then various flowers around the yard, and some kind of tall-growing plants to block the neighbors from being able to see our entire back yard and into a bedroom from the top of their water slide. We're gonna fence off the veggie garden (and maybe other portions with the more delicate flowers?) with a white picket fence so the dogs won't destroy our hard work with their zealousness. It's gonna be sooo much fun and look so cute!! Her yard seems to have a good mix of full sun, shade, and partial sun, so we can pretty much do whatever we like. What books/websites should I be looking at to educate myself to do this as competently as possible? I'd feel horrible if things started dying on me!! Where should we buy seeds and plants from? Is catalogue/online ordering best, or are local nurseries? Any newbie Do's and Don'ts that stand out in your mind? Should we start with seeds, or with plants? Thanks!!
Photos! :-)

Photos! :-)

Just moved in.

Just moved in.

Room Renovation

Room Renovation

New to the community!

New to the community!

new layout

new layout

Sharing springtime flowers

Sharing springtime flowers