Thank you both! For your encouragement and the help you provided, Dilbert with the path and RBG with the plant selection!
I directly sowed some of my leftover seeds last weekend and just saw some butterfly weed sprouting out there... at least I hope that's what it is!!! I have little areas here and there where I've cleared the mulch and planted various seeds so we'll see how that goes. At least I have a few seedlings that made it from my indoor attempt.
It was a lot of work and there were evenings that I couldn't move, but it was totally worth it! My neighbors were all shocked by how quickly we got it done. They laughed when I'd tell them my goal for the day. The path took 1 full weekend including trips to the store. The rest of the garden took the entire following weekend from morning through dark. I ended up recruiting friends to help the second day
I'll take some more photos at the end of the season! The railing boxes should be filled in better by then as well. RBG - I planted different things in each one of them... trying to follow your advice to fight the symmetry