Daylilies are the stalwarts of the sunny perennial garden. Select from a variety of early-, mid- and late-season bloomers so you'll have flowers from midsummer to fall. Include reblooming cultivars, such as 'Stella d'Oro,' 'Happy Returns' and 'Rosy Returns'. USDA Zones 3 to 9
Peony. The combination of sweet fragrance, softball-sized flowers and remarkable longevity make peonies the pride of the mid- to late-spring perennial garden. Since peonies can get top-heavy when flowering, use stakes or cages to keep plants upright. Hardy in USDA Zones 2 to 8
Astilbes add attractive fernlike foliage and beautiful spring color to the shade garden. Plant pink, white or red varieties in masses for maximum effect. Hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 9
Hostas pack a one-two punch with a dizzying choice of foliage colors and midsummer blooms. This long-lived shade plant ranges from a miniature four inches tall to a whopping four feet. USDA Zones 3 to 10
Black-eyed Susan. The sunny-yellow, easy disposition of this drought-tolerant perennial(Rudbeckia sp.) makes it a good choice for a dry, low-maintenance garden bed. After a few waterings to get the plants established, they'll be there for many summers to come. Hardy in USDA Zones 3 to 10.
The fuzzy, bright purple flower spikes of Mexican bush sage appear in late summer just when you think the garden is finished for the season. Plus, it's drought tolerant. Hardy in USDA Zones 7b to 10.
Purple coneflowers are the perfect drought-tolerant option for a sunny spot in the garden. Choose from hundreds of white-, purple- and pink-flowering cultivars, including 'Magnus' and 'White Swan.' USDA Zones 2 to 10.
The fine-textured silvery foliage of Russian sage (not related to salvia) is complemented by purple-blue flowers in late summer. It's an excellent drought-tolerant plant for the middle to back of the border. USDA Zones 5 to 9.
Gayfeather. The purple or white flower spikes add a vertical element to the middle to back of the perennial border. Gayfeather tolerates dry, poor soils. USDA Zones 3 to 10
Attract bees and butterflies to your garden with yarrow. Delicate, fernlike foliage complements the more or less flat-topped blooms, like red-flowering 'Paprika' or the sunny yellow flowers of 'Coronation Gold.' USDA Zones 3 to 9
It's hard to find a color that iris doesn't come in. This old garden favorite tolerates diverse growing conditions, from dry soils to standing water. USDA Zones 3 to 9