I can understand that you want to do the work yourself. How 'bout spending SOME $$$ and hire a Landscaper (or a Landscape Architect) to come up w/a plan. That's usually done on an hourly basis. I think about 4 hours of work, +/- would suffice. A few 100 $$$s goes a long, LONG way.
Sorry, but I can't see the lot from here. My best to ya and hope this helps.
Jay J -Moderator
PS: God Bless AMerica!