Sounds like you are desperate to get started! Re the soil, good advice to have a dig. You may have very good soil, but even so it would be a good idea to add some compost to the existing borders, and in a month or so some slow release fertilizer like fish blood and bone or bonemeal - especially if you plan to plant shrubs. This will ensure that you don't spend money on - and a lot of time planting - things that then don't thrive. There are lots and lots of plants to choose from - most things will romp away if the conditions are right. Now is a really good time to chuck muck on the soil, so that the worms can work it in and get your borders ready for planting.
You need to try and work out if the soil is acid, neutral or very alkaline. Likely to be neutral, but if your neighbours are all growing whopping rhododendrons, or conifers, could be acid. If your soil has a lot of chalk in it, again, no point planting things that like acid conditions. You also need to see whether it is heavy clay, very well drained or somewhere in the middle. In the current weather if it's heavy clay you are likely to have a lot of water on the surface. Actually, in the current weather ANYONE is likely to have a lot of water on the surface! ask your neighbours. There are plants that will thrive in water-retentive ground, whereas others really like it on the dry side.
I know this all sounds a bit dull when you are desperate to get plants in the ground, but like a lot of other gardeners on this forum I have learnt a lot from my mistakes and no longer try to grow what will not thrive in my garden. Gardens can eat money! There is always a lot of choice of plants, no matter what your conditions (unless you are in a desert or on a mountain top!) it's often more a question of narrowing down your options.
Also be wary of going down the "fast growing "route. Seems a nice idea to buy things that will grow quickly but in practise, they can outgrow their welcome and become a bit of a thug that needs constant pruning.
Wish I could say "plant this" but really recommend you go to a good garden centre, have a look round and collar somebody knowledgeable. If you are interested in trees and shrubs, better still seek out a specialist nursery. Time spent carefully planning now will save you a lot of time, money and heartache in the long run.