flowers and vines for around shed

I'm a total beginner when it comes to gardening so please excuse my simple questions. It is february in washington state but home and garden magazine has got me planning some small improvements for the back yard. I should mention that I am on the eastern side of washington, the dry side.
My first question is about improving the landscaping around my shed. I have one of those inexpensive metal sheds that you see and although it is newer and looks fine I would like to "soften" it's impact on the backyard. I have two things in mind. One is to start growing some type of vine up its sides and eventually over it. So I'm wondering: 1. What type of vine would grow quickly and survive washington winters? 2. What would I need to get it going up the shed? Some type of lattice?
Also, for the front of the shed I purchased two large planters that came with a bush that did not survive the winter. Since then I have gotten a dog who greatly enjoyed turning the planter over and emptying it out. Sooo, the first thing I plan to do is put concrete or gravel in the bottom of the planter so he cannot turn it over (while keeping the drain holes clear). Then I will want to select a more appropriate plant/bush to go in it. Preferably something that flowers. Suggestions?
Thanks for all the advice. i'll have a few more postings shortly.
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