Gravel around the foundation for drainage, plant shrubs along to help soak up water. Like the idea of the large rock to prevent erosion from the water spicket. Maybe a few cool pots or barrels with plants too? I like :) side yard idea!
Perennial - Pennisetum Rubrum "Fireworks" Looks like something from a Dr Suess book! Pennisetum Rubrum is my favorite grass, I wish it was a perennial around here, I'll have to remember to get some for around he house this year.