The purpose of foundation plantings is to hide unattractive parts of the house from view and to anchor the home to the site. But how much of your home's foundation do you really want or need to hide?
If the foundation is not unattractive, weed barrier under mulch or stones may be all that you need to avoid mud splashing up when it rains. Another option is to create a planting of low growing perennials and bulbs, interspersed with some dwarf evergreens for winter interest.
Raise The Bed!
Or, you could build a low retaining wall several feet away from the foundation that is unsightly. Then, fill it with good soil and make a raised bed. One guideline is to always keep shrubs low enough so that they do not obstruct the windows of the house.
The plantings should also match the style and color of a home. Scale is important too, as shrubs that are too big will make a house look smaller and vice versa.
If the foundation is very low, choose dwarf shrubs paired with ground cover and small bulbs. If the foundation is high, layer vegetation in 2 or 3 layers with the taller plants close to the house. Keep the flowers to a few colors that coordinate well, and try to provide some focal point in every season (e.g. foliage or flowers).