Prior to the landscapers starting the work here I had requested a different tree for the yard; the kousa dogwood was planted today. I knew that I didn't want all of the standard plants, so I had purchased several things from a local nursery. We ended up buying a fringe tree (in front of the window), topiary, hostas, a round arborvitae and some ornamental grass. I really like how everything turned out. We painted the white pipes that stick out of the ground to blend in with the mulch (they're brown right now, but I might repaint black so they blend in a little more). The only thing I wish we could have done is laid landscape paper before they put the mulch down (we already have mushrooms, grass, etc growing through).
We had a service call with Guardian last week to address the volume of the outdoor speaker. It's definitely not what I was expecting, and from what the tech said they don't want it to be super loud and disruptive to neighbors (not that I want to blast music outside, but if a neighbor is running a lawn mower you pretty much can't hear anything).
check out this post.