Congratulations on your new home! Sounds like you have quite a project. I am thinking that you are having a professional do the regrading so the land slopes away from the house You should find this helpful.
If you need sites for planting, sodding or maintaining a new lawn, just ask.
It will be helpful to you to know your plant hardiness zone. To find your zone, here's a zip code zone finder.
Some other things that are handy for new gardeners to know:
An annual grows from seed, flowers and sets seed and dies in one year.
A perennial will sprout from seed, by runners, offshoots, bulbs or by propagating itself by rooting along the stems. It will usually only form green growth the first year while developing a strong root system (for some plants it might do this for 2 or more years) and will live for many years, even after setting seed it will resprout from the root system.
A biennial will grow from seed the first year and grow only green growth while developing roots. The second year it will flower, set seed and die.
As a new gardener (often called a newbie), 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 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 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. Planting trees, shrubs, vines and herbaceous plants that attract birds and insects will help your garden be healthier. Birds eat bugs and feed them to their young, so consider shrubs that feed, house and shelter them.
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. When in doubt and you can't get an answer, contact your local extension service for answers.
Here's a couple of helpful sites for selecting and researching plants, shrubs, vines and trees.
Go to the library and look at books on gardening. Many have a plant encyclopedia in the back to help you identify plants and learn their growing needs. There's lots on the web too. Read through lots of posts on forums and try and learn from other gardeners.
You can research plants at www.google.com
It's best to use the Latin or botanical name, but if you don't have it you can search with the common name and when you find the botanical name you can use that to get more info. You can even click on 'Images' at google and often get photos as well. Another way to search is with quotes and a plus sign like this:
Illinois + "invasive plant"
There are sites about native plants and their value, especially for a new gardener. Native plants tend to be more resistant to pests and diseases and are usually more carefree.
Here's a site where you can get ideas for trees. Do check the hardiness zones. Keep in mind that generally speaking slow growing trees have stronger wood and tend to live longer then fast growing trees which usually have weaker wood and are more prone to breakage.
This site is very helpful in finding out information about trees and their virtues. It will even tell you if the roots will lift sidewalks or if the tree leaves behind lots of litter.
Other helpful tree info about roots and needs.
Planting and pruning info for trees and shrubs.
I don't know if you have any other trees, but if you do, these will help you to prevent construction damage.
If you would like sites for any of the other topics I've mentioned or need more specific info, feel free to ask. I also have sites for planting for wildlife.
Speaking of wildlife, my favorite midsized tree is Sourwood - Oxydendrum arboreum. It offers food to wildlife, wonderful fall color, flowers in summer and has 4 season interest. Something helpful where winters are long.
Hope I didn't throw too much at you at once!