So I figured I should update with where the yard is right now. I got my incentive check from the city and the go ahead to plant whenever I wanted. Apparently they’re not monitoring my lawn. 
I made the decision not to put down weed barrier in the main growing areas, because when planting new plants I tend to pull up the weed barrier and uproot old plants. But this lead to pretty much every sod clump I missed sprouting again. Julie gave me a lot of crap about this. So I’ve been weeding and adding more mulch. Hopefully that will tide me over until I get the plants in and they can start controlling the weeds. I’m about 5 hours into the weeding right now and I’ve only done one side. * sigh *
But the yellow bearded irises are blooming. So I’m happy. Irises are indeed fantastic shade plants. I’ve found you have to keep them from getting completely overwhelmed by leaves, but otherwise they grow really nicely and come back year after year. And they’re one of the few shade plants that doesn’t need supplementary watering. 
To make myself feel better about all my weeding I also planted 4 rose buses along the western wall of the hose, and put in 4 agaves. I needed a little carrot to keep going.

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