Something I love to do is picking a fun image, color scheme or object to inspire me in designing a garden. It's a great way to generate ideas, yet help narrow down your plant choices.
I found this gingham image above several months ago and have been aching to design a perennial bed based on it. This is a simple border that you can place along a sunny wall or fence. The peak bloom time is June to July. I'm in zone 4 so have planned it accordingly, but you can take the same principles and design something with plants in your area. Oh, and I chose all my perennials through a fabulous plant database found on the Midwest Groundcovers website.
I know it's getting a little cold to plant now, but it's never too early to plan for spring!