Our first step was to have some custom curbing put in place. Not only does it look nicer than pavers, but it didn't cost that much more and it took a lot less time.
... and after:
After removing the layers of barkdust and rock the previous owners had piled on over the years, we started laying down the landscaping fabric. Consulting the internet reveal WIDELY varying opinions on how to lay it out (some even recommending it shouldn't be used at all). Given our inexperience, I've decided we'll call this an experiment and see what we think in five or ten years.
More rock will need to be cleared on the right side of the house and the fabric will go down after that. Lots of work still to do.