A fine example of using native shrubs in a foundation planting was in its fall glory at the Princeton Junior School earlier this month. The yellow is sweet pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia). Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica) is burgundy, with a bit of blueberry (orange) in the lower right.
Dwarf witchalder (Fothergilla gardenii) is the dazzling orange in the second photo, with Clethra to the left, then the evergreen inkberry holly (Ilex glabra). Another holly in the planting, not shown, is winterberry (Itea verticillata). Most of these shrubs are rarely found in the wild (Fothergilla does not even include NJ in its natural range) but grow easily in gardens.
The colors are particularly brilliant because these shrubs get a good dose of sun, but they'll do well even when planted in mostly shade.
The rainbarrel, by the way, is connected to soaker hoses that run through the planting, and actually provided some decent water pressure for the attached hose and spigot. There's a screen on top to filter the water and keep out mosquitoes.
Most rainbarrels, this one included, are way undersized when compared to how much water pours down a typical downspout.