facing northwest, late afternoon sun, looking at ornamental grass first or a flowering shrub, What would you recommend?

It is difficult to suggest plants without knowing how many hours of “late afternoon sun” the area is actually getting.  If it is getting at least 6 hours of sun then you could grow many flowering shrubs.  Lilacs, spirea, weigela and others would be good choices.  Naturally there is a wide variety of sizes in these groups of flowering shrubs.  With less light than that, the ornamental grasses might be a better choice.  Perhaps have some observations to determine how many hours of sun the area is getting and take some pictures to bring to the garden center so we can fine tune our recommendations.

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