I suddenly have a blank slate and a blank mind!

Marysville, OH(Zone 5b)

Just moved from Quincy IL to Marysville OH. I mentioned to my neighbor how much I hated the nasty evergreen bushes along my foundation and deck - and today they are gone! So for the first time in my life I'm not going to be planting around other people's flowers. A dream come true, except I've never had this experience before and now I don't know what I want. Marysville is about 20 miles north-west of Columbus OH. (5b?). The spaces I have are small and in a sunny location. One section is about 3 ft wide and 12 ft long and runs along a back wall with no windows. It is flanked by cement and blacktop so is okay for spreaders like mint and lilies of the valley. There is room for some not very wide bushes and then some smaller perennials. Or should I just stick to flowers? The other is 4 ft. wide and 15 ft. long and runs along a deck that is about 3 ft off of the ground. Next week I'll have a chain link fence that divides the deck bed as it links into the deck - so it will be about 5 ft outside the fence and 10 ft inside of it. I know I want a rhododendron and a hydrangea like the ones I left back in IL. I know I don't want to do a lot of pruning although some is okay, and I don't want thorns and, because I both have dogs and foster dogs and there are about a million feral cats around here and a few little humans as well, I don't want something poisonous. The deck bed will not have anything to stop spreaders other than a lawn mower. I can't smell roses - side effect of old job - so they are wasted on me anyway. I love clematis but never remember which ones I need to prune when, so will need to stick to the ones that don't need pruning. If there is something that chokes out the very ubiquitous poison ivy, that would be a miracle. Boy, am I fussy. Any suggestions of things I should consider? Oh, I just went outside to measure the beds and they have wood mulch in them now. Wow!

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