Thanks, All, for the great response to my question about plants in the Vancouver, WA, area! Chelle, thanks for enlisting help. ValleyLynn, I'll look at Armeria, thanks for the idea. The 3 ornamental grass plants I want to add shade to with plants behind them are very short, to answer your question.
Springcolor, that's a good article, I've seen it and am familiar with some. We added new wood chips last year, hoping to keep a little moisture in but that didn't help. (It was our first garden season in this home.) We do amend the soil with mulch when planting, and with sand for succulents (if that's what you meant).
HeidiOregon, I love Heuchera! We do have some and I've grown it before, but didn't know how to divide it so thanks for that and I may add more in the shadier area.
Bonehead ~can't help but wonder how you came to choose that name, love the photo with the bird~ Thanks so much for the great list. I'll look at all of these... and I completely agree with you about chickens. I want to live in that world, too : - )
Thanks again; if I get photos I'll upload them.