I've lately been trying to plan what we will plant in our front yard this spring. It is currently home to a very ugly lilac bush, a single wild violet, some patchy turfgrass, a little moss, and some bare dirt (and right now, a few feet of snow). I once spotted a dandelion growing (but I don't think it ever bloomed), and occasionally the nearby hawthorn tree sends up a few weak suckers. Even the neighbour's super-invasive variegated goutweed doesn't spread into our yard, for some reason. Maybe it just hasn't made it that far yet, but it's pretty shady on that side.
I keep hoping to myself that the spot isn't that bad. The landscapers that maintain the common areas in our townhouse complex also do the grass in the front, and I'm guessing they use some kind of weed killer on the grass. Hopefully whatever they apply won't affect our new plantings this spring.
The first thing we're planning is to take out the lilac bush. It was planted way too close to the house to begin with, and it doesn't get enough sun to bloom until the very top of the bush, where the sun peeks over the top of the house. It also sometimes takes over the front door if you don't cut it way back. This will be a big job, since it's probably about ten or twelve feet tall, but I think it will be well worth the effort.
We're thinking of putting in a 'Limelight' hydrangea, 'Mary Reed' daylilies, and either variegated Solomon's seal or 'Blue Pearl' Jacob's ladder on the sunnier side of the yard (it gets a little sun in the morning and evening). In the shadier part, we're planning common bleeding hearts, hostas, ostrich ferns and Sylvan goatsbeard. I'm not very confident that any of these will grow, so if any of my readers have experience with these plants in a northern climate, I'd love to hear some comments.