Thanks for the tips!
I don't really want to prune too far back, just enough to keep the shrubs and hedges healthy and not looking abandoned to the neighbors' eyes
I believe the blue jays are in an evergreen tree in our front yard, so that is fine, but cardinals supposedly nest in dense shrubs and I have no idea which of them they are in! I guess I need to watch and figure it out before I trim. We have 4 different groupings of shrubs/hedges in our yard, all different types. But don't ask me what they are because I'm not that savvy yet.
There is one set of bushes that has a ton of little brown birds in it (don't know what kind of bird, maybe sparrows?) and they are such a sweet good morning and good night chorus for us, right under my daughter's window. The one time I tried to trim those bushes they all freaked out and flew away and scared me to death.
About the marsh/pond...what is an integrated bog garden?!?! Do tell. I am willing to be flexible with my plans but right now it is annoying. I'm going to post more about it in the water garden forum, but basically we have a natural spring next to the house and the sump pump puts the water into a little marsh right in front of the front yard spigot, so every time I need to use the hose up front I have to put on wellies and squelch through the muck. I'd much rather have a nice little rock pond!