High performance, low maintenance annuals: Arakawa Japanese maple (Acer palmatum 'Arakawa') underplanted with deep red coleus, chartreuse and bronze sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas), and Bonfire begonia.
Lilacs - may on the fence in the front. Although they do well in clay soil, they don't like wet feet (standing water). Water thoroughly but infrequently. This forces their roots to grow deep. A general purpose fertilizer twice yearly.