Use the colors of the tree as a guide to picking your flowers. If your tree is an evergreen, use deciduous shrubs and place your lowest plants in the front. You can always switch out your plants as the seasons change.
Call 811 to get a utility company to mark any utility lines. Rake up any mulch in the area in which you are planting. If you are planting in sod, mark off your area with your garden hose, and remove the sod with a flat shovel. Use a cultivator or spade to break up the soil. Use landscape fabric to control weeds.
Plan your plans, cutting an x to mark where the plants go. Dig the holes about 2-3 inches deeper and wider than the pots they come in. Add enriched soil in the bottom. Grab the plant by the stem, squeeze the pot to release the soil, gently remove and loosen the roots. Place the plant in the hole and add soil.
After all plants are in the soil, cover with a thin layer of soil, and then mulch. Water once a day the first week and once a week for the entire growing season.