Posted: 19/08/2015 at 15:29
It's always best to wait a bit and see what's what
You'll probably find one end gets a bit more sun than the other but it doesn't mean you can't use some repeat planting as many shrubs and perennials will be happy in a bit of sun or a bit of shade. If you have windows that you regularly look out of onto the space, then try and have a bit of evergreen planting there with spring bulbs to cheer you up when spring seems a long way away.
I have a long narrow border along my back fence which is mainly evergreens. It's north west facing - and gets a little afternoon sun at this time of year, complete shade from October to about April. I use Heucheras, Tiarellas, Pachysandra and native primulas for the main groundcover, and astilbes and Japanese anemones for a bit of height. I have Osmanthud burkwoodii at one end which is evergreen and has scented white flowers in spring. I also use Lonicera nitida for height as well, which I just trim now and again. Loads of snowdrops, crocus, narcissus and wild rocket tucked in as well. In areas which are brighter, evergreens like Hebes make good structural shrubs, and I have Euonymous and phormiums for contrast, with clematis on the fence behind. Loads of bulbs including alliums for summer. Pasqueflowers and Hellebores are nice for late winter/spring. My beds are purples, whites and soft yellows with brighter yellows in spring, but I also have shocking pink Dianthus in pots.
That will give you a few ideas to look at but you'll get loads more ideas from everyone here.
Just a thought re planting clematis or any other climber for your pergola. You can plant into the gravel areas either side as well, unless there's concrete or anything there. As it's a new property, the chances are that the soil will be pretty poor so if you do that, just add plenty of compost/soil/farmyard manure into the area first. Most climbers need a good bit of nutrition to perform at their best.