So I'm toying with schemes for the front yard. Not that I will be implementing these anytime soon, since I still have two beds barely started and one bed not even begun in the back. But still.
The red dotted line indicates the property line between me and my neighbour. The red arrow indicates a possible location for one of those gorgeous low-lying 6'-wide junipers, although this is more a whim than true inspiration at this point.
The front corner is a breeeelliant idea I snitched from a garden magazine. I'd go back to those lovely people in Montague and buy some old fence rails (which they were selling in addition to the rocks) and make a little decorative corner, which would get planted round with cleome and cosmos and possibly morning glories around the posts, with other lower plants in front. Around the magnolia, meanwhile, I'd start with a half-circle bed in front of the tree (brown) and then add another half-circle (red) when the rest of the space fills up.
Any plants in these locations would have to be mad drought tolerant and hardy, though, since the soil out front is particularly sandy and sun-drenched; also, it is more subject to wind than the very sheltered backyard.
A whole bunch of daisy-looking things would work (shasta daisies, asters, echinacea, gaillardia, rudbeckia) and conveniently I have all of those scattered around already - so by the time I get around to making these beds I can just transplant a bunch of pre-existing stuff and it should be fine there. Sedums and sempervivens, of course; I don't have sedums yet but sempervivens should be divisible by then. Coreopsis also, apparently; personally I prefer the big tall ones. I've been seeing that stuff everywhere this summer and admiring it. Russian sage would also be a good pick, although that gets monstrously huge. Oooooo, and apparently buddleias are also in this category. Awesome, those are gorgeous:
Apparently anything silver and/or fuzzy is apt to be drought tolerant, too. So artemisias and oriental poppies are on the list, also lambs' ears (although I hear those get pretty ratty-looking by late summer).
Ornamental grasses, too, or similar-shaped plants. Here's a yucca, for instance, which is lovely:
Another pretty plant called euphorbia - maroon-coloured foliage: