Tables or CSS difficulties

Alright, I am trying to put my site into a layout in Dreamweaver, and possibly later on, a template.

What I need to put in is: A rectangular banner, some solid rectangular barrier about 20 pixels high under that, then a navigation menu on the left, and the content on the right. I wanted to have everything in one column in the center of the page, with a black border on the left and right sides, so when you resized it larger than the column, you see the page background (a repeating gif).

How can I go about doing this? I tried with css and I couldnt get a different background for the middle column from the repeating page background.

I tried with tables and I cant figure out how to center it, and how to positon the banner and the navigation within the table itself.

Any help, or tutorials?

It is supposed to look like this, except I want to make the menu with CSS.