Skipping details for brevity...we have a large front yard, covered with wood chips for a couple of years...we want to make it prettier...but can't plant our dream perennials this year while we map out sunlight better.
So...I would like to plant some annuals...but I now know perennials better! Any advice on Fast-Growing, Pretty Annuals which won't make me regret introducing them? We live north of Boston, site is neither wet or dry, quite flat, soil is rocky, more sand than clay. and, while there will be shade, this is one of the sunnier areas on our yard.
It is a large, bare yard, bounded in back by a rock wall 3 feet high. I would like some large, bold, dramatic plants that would quickly fill space with color, to be pretty for us and our neighbors...but won't re-seed so aggressively that I fight it for years afterward.
I really like zinnias- seed is widely available, they come in a variety of colors, petal forms, and heights, and they're mightily attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. They're adaptable to a wide variety of soil conditions, do well in full sun, and (for me) haven't been an issue in terms of self-seeding. I've been using "Persian Carpet" that only gets ~ 12-18" tall in some places, and cactus types that get 3-4 feet high in others.
I've done well with scarlet runner beans too, trained around a trellis or other structure. They look good, do well in cooler climates, and the beans are edible.