So the sun is shinning and the rain has stopped. This makes me think of cleaning up the front yard. Your front yard and front porch are the first impressions guests and potential home buyers will have of your home. If you have an untidy front yard, dead plants in your flower boxes or a bag of trash waiting to go out sitting on your front porch; it gives the impression your home is unkempt, even if it is not.
Go bold with plants and flowers out front. You can't go wrong with bright tulips in the Spring. I am also a HUGE fan of Azaleas,Hydreanga and Rhododendrons (mainly because I can't kill them :). But, they have nice big flowers and a long bloom season. These flowering plants/shrubs make a nice statement in a front garden. I also believe the $4 bag of redwood chips is the great equalizer in garden/yard; any problem area can be "fixed" with a few bags of wood chips. Not only are wood chips great at keeping moisture in your flowerbeds, they also look GREAT.
The bible of gardening here in California is this book. I use this exclusively when buying plants for my garden. Most plants can be found @ your local garden center and if you don't see them, ask if they can be ordered from a local grower. Better yet, ask them who supplies most of their plants/flowers and try to buy direct from the grower.
Aside from bold flowers, don't forget to edge your lawn and trim/shape your shrubs and trees. If you have large shrubs/trees right next to your roof-line, they should not exceed the height of the house.
Remember, a tidy yard and porch = a tidy house on the inside!