If you live in a cold area you are best leaving the trimming until spring, because the dead foliage will protect the crown. It also allows birds to benefit from the seeds and gives insects, including beneficial ones, somewhere to shelter.
Some plants like to be pruned before winter but there are others that need the old foilage to give the roots a little protection from bad weather that like to be cut down in spring. Not all plants like to be cut back the same amount either, and you need to (probably only general rule I know) always cut back to something, ie new growth, new stem, first buds etc.
The best thing for you to do to avoid any disappointment is to learn about the plants individually, there are plenty of places online you can look up how to care for each plant as well many people on here with a huge amount of knowledge.
If I'm in doubt, my golden rule is going to the RHS website and searching for "prune robinia" (or whatever.) If I can't identify the plant, I ask here!
One thing I've learnt over the years is that winter or spring pruning encourages grrowth, while summer pruning discourages it. That's far too generalised to be called a golden rule though as pruning at the wrong time can be fatal some some plants/shrubs or leave them open to nasty infections.
When we,ve had sun we really have had sun, i live on the southcoast so even thoughthe weathers miserable its quite warm. Really must get my daughter to show me how to addd photos to my messages.