Canuck, that sounds like a wonderful idea!* Sorry to hear about all that snow!***:shock:** If I remember you are in zone 5a, so you will have to select plants that are hardy for your winters.
The most important advise I always give is to pay attention to the soil. Healthy soil will lead to healthier plants that will more easily be able to deal with drought and pests. To do this you need to add lots of organic matter to the soil and mix it in. The best organic matter is compost. You can make your own or purchase it in bulk or by the bag. A 3" or 4" layer on top of a new bed and then mixed into the soil is a good place to start. Always mulch the beds after planting and once a year with organic mulch that will retain moisture, help keep soil temps even, keep weeds at bay and help to enrich the soil. Organic mulches like shredded wood mulch, leaf mold (shredded and rotted leaves), pine straw (just pine needles) are good ones. Compost can also be used as a mulch and the worms will bring it down and mix it for you over time.
Bugs are necessary to pollinate and even clean plants (ex: peonies always have ants on them and keep other bad bugs away). Don't get out the pesticides when you see a bug. Usually there is a good bug predator for most bad bugs. Know thine enemy. There are sites where you can look up which bug is which.
The right plant for the right place is also very important. You don't want to put a plant that needs good drainage and wants full sun in a moist or wet shady place. Remember that full sun is 6 hours or more, part shade is 4 to 6 hours and shade is 2 hours or less.
Here's a couple of other search engines you can use to search for plants.
Of course there are many topics to the left side of your screen.* Here's some sites on starting a garden and designing a bed.
That should get you started!
When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.