Hmm. A challenge no less TK. I can't suggest species of plants
to put there as i've no idea what grows well in your area.
However, I'd plant
local hardy native shrubs and bushes which will require no watering after establishment other than natural rainfall.
They'll handle the vagaries of the weather and will repel attack from pest and disease. They will also help to support local endemic wildlife, esp birds and butterflies. There is a Virginia society for native plants
i found googling. I'm sure they could point you in the direction of a suitable nursery or landcare centre.
To prep the soil, do not remove the grass as you will increase the chance of erosion. Better is to cut it short and cover with some pelletised chicken manure and lay newspaper a minimum of 10 sheets thick then mulch very heavily with spoilt meadow hay or similar. For that area about 20-30 bales of hay would do it. After a few weeks dig holes and plant
the tubestock seedlings
. Water very well, try and plant
when rain is imminent.
If it's too big an area to do in one hit, do a small section whenever possible rather than try and spread the time , money and energy over the whole area and end up with dead plants
galore. If you just go along poking a plant
in here and there it will never reach its potential. It could look fantastic for not too much money if you do some research on local plant
types. There may be a local government organisation which will assist?????