This quietly sophisticated planting combination relies on foliage color and texture to deliver all-season good looks. This garden looks great year-round; I've posted about this vignette before, showcasing its late winter performance when the Stachyurus praecox is the star of the show.
Included in this garden scene, clockwise from upper right:
Cryptomeria japonica 'Rein's Dense Jade' is a strong and handsome anchor with rich green, finely textured foliage that's handsome year round.
While not completely without risk of loss due to extreme winter weather, I've had good luck with Astelia nivicola 'Red Gem' and believe it to be a bit more impervious to weather extremes than Astelia nervosa 'Westland'.
Podocarpus lawrencei 'Blue Gem' is a finely textured blue evergreen that is supremely useful. I've found that its quite flexible in terms of growing conditions, tolerating sites that are very sunny to quite shady. Tolerant of summer water, but not a slave to it. A strong grower yet able to be kept to a manageable size, if desired, by pruning.
Stachyurus praecox is not widely grown, but deserves to be used more! It's primarily known for its winter display of pendulous creamy white flowers though it also delivers a respectable display of golden fall color.