Answer: There are so many possible choices for your garden areas and much of the selection would really depend on your personal taste. Some reliable annuals, however, might include snap dragons, marigolds, zinnias, ageratum and sweet alyssum. Sunflowers would also be happy in the full sun areas. Some reliable perennials would include daffodils, threadleafed coeopsis, purple cone flowers, Black Eyed Susans, daylilies, sedums and asters.
You can certainly plant your annuals directly outside, but be aware that they will begin blooming later than if you had set out plants. Larger sized perennials will also fill in their allotted space faster than seedlings.
In terms of average ranges for height, bloom sequence and spacing, you might wish to look at some basic gardening books. Two I like in particular are "Annuals for Dummies" by Bill Marken (ISBN 0-7645-5056-X) and "Perennials for Dummies" by Marcia Tatroe (ISBN 0-7645-5030-6). These books also give excellent information about soil preparation, planting and ongoing care for your flower beds.
Good luck with your project!
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