We are doing a flip in the Midwest.  The interior is going fine and we have added new siding to the exterior.  However I am stuck with how to address landscaping.  We would usually do some flower boxes and do some mulch and perennials around the front of the house.  Can you plant anything when the ground is going to freeze soon? Would it look dumb come spring if we just mulch and add stones without planting anything? We are doing most of the work ourselves and our budget for landscaping is about $500.  

Just wondering if anyone has run into this issue before and if they have any suggestions :) thank you!