I do need to take a moment to strongly recommend a garden book, Liz Primeau's Front Yard Gardens. The intro is a moderately impassioned argument against grass lawns in your front yard; I normally am a little put off by hard-core environmental arguments, but she managed to be low-key and humorous enough that it didn't trigger my irritation. And you can skip over the intro if you want, because the rest of the book is a sheer delight.
She takes you through a multitude of different front yard gardens, with designs ranging from 'cottage garden' to 'minimalist' to 'opulent' and more. Each garden is told in story form, with the homeowner talking about the process that led to the current garden -- what worked, what didn't, what frustrations they encountered, what happy accidents occurred. It was fascinating and incredibly readable -- I picked it up last night planning to just skim through, and found it very hard to put down -- I read half of it last night, and finished it this morning, when I should have been feeding my increasingly cranky children.
And in addition to the interesting stories and the gorgeous photographs, she gives you lists of the best plants in each, plus garden plans, plus tips and tricks for things like how to get rid of your existing lawn. (I think we're going to try the rototill approach, since ours is mostly dead already anyway.) It's just a superbly well-designed garden book. LOVE IT.
Even if you aren't planning on eliminating your front lawn entirely (she has a section on 'fusion gardens' that incorporate some lawn), this book would be tremendously helpful to anyone looking to expand their flower beds in a variety of ways.