Take advantage of fall: Fall is an excellent time to plant. Your plants will have many months to establish roots before they get hit by the summer heat and drought. The roots actually keep growing for a while, even after the leaves fall off.
Emulate success: If you live in a development, chances are someone has already planted the type of shrub you are planning to buy. Take a look at which side of the house it is flourishing and follow the example.
Plant odd numbers: One plant is an interesting specimen. Three make at least a mini mass planting. But even numbers are tricky: if you aim for symmetry but don’t quite get there because of the vicissitudes of plant growth, the result is apt to look dumb.
Perennials are your friends: Why pay for new plants and go to all that trouble to plant every year, when you could plant once instead? Perennials have shorter bloom times than annuals and are more expensive up front, but in the long run, they allow you to develop much more interesting garden with a much lower water requirement. Use annuals as temporary fillers and as container plants.