Help with plant selection in small Orlando front yard
I am not an expert, and know just enough to be dangerous :-). My small front yard used to be sort of a mish-mash 'cottage style'. The previous owner landscaped around the center walkway. By the street is Indian Hawthorne, kept low by trimming like a hedge, it rarely flowers and I have a big problem with some kind of viney weeds... potato vine I think. There are some unhappy dwarf azaleas, a small asiatic jasmine (?), one large 'natural' white crape myrtle (I never hack them back in the winter) and a smaller deep purple one.
I also have some big mondo grass, and variegated mondo grass, yellow lilies, in a small bed and along walkways and some kind of hedge along the front of the house, and some podacarpus-es that the mocking birds nest in. The walkway divides the yard in half.
My dilemma: There was st. augustine grass but I think I got cinch bugs, all of the grass died. I am tired of paying a big water bill to water and paying the lawn guy to mow what is now dirt/weeds. The yard is small enough that I think I can rake up the dead grass, plant some select plants and mulch the rest of the yard. I have also considered putting in bermuda grass, but am leaning toward plants and mulch. I own a business and can't always have time to maintain things myself, it's hit or miss, hence the yard-guy (who is not helpful at all and really just mows.)
The yard gets mostly full sun except right by the house. The neighbor on one side has an ugly yard/driveway that I would love to block along one side, really only about a 10' span I'd need to fill. I have a pretty big meyer lemon in a pot that I love, although it was a challenge to keep it alive during last winter's freeze. I love things that bear fruit, I also love rosemary and herbs, and veggies, but really need to choose things that can be pretty much ignored when I get super busy.
I've gone to the garden center and found plants that look happy and healthy in the past although I thought I was picking the right plant for other spots in the yard... I haven't done very well. There is a sprinkler system in place, but using it less would be good.
Can you help me figure out what to plant? I will see if I can manage to post a photo too. I would love something like a pomegranate or fig or other fruit, but I don't want to just start planting randomly and have it look jumbled and disorganized.