Thanks for writing. Unfortunately, without being able to see your space in person and get a better feel for what your personal tastes are, it's really tough to make specific recommendations like this.
That said, I can offer some resources that may help. Our mulch guide (http://www.bhg.com/gardening/yard/mulch/the-best-mulches/) profiles various mulches so you can pick the best for you.
And our Plant Encyclopedia (http://www.bhg.com/gardening/plant-dictionary/) lets you search for plants by putting in characteristics (such as plant size, flower/leaf color, amount of sun/shade) to help you pick plants you like that should grow well in your yard.
---Justin, Senior Garden Editor, BHG.com