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First, get rid of the current vegetation. This is not always an easy task. Grub or dig out all plants including unwanted stumps and other debris. Difficult plants are best controlled by applying a broad spectrum herbicide such as Roundup. Repeat applications if the plants regrow. Check local nurseries for drought-resistant perennials and small shrubs. Check for planting restrictions and height restrictions for curbside vegetation in your community and choose plants accordingly.
Low-maintenance, low-water garden depends on the plants you choose. All plants must tolerate heat and drought. Chose different plants with variable colors, shapes, heights and bloom times. Improve the soil by adding large amounts of organic matter. This helps improve the quality and drainage because drought-tolerant plants do best in a well-drained soil.
Small shrubs provide summer interest and winter cover. Their structure and texture, provide vegatation when other plants that die back during the winter. Silvery Artemesias (sagebrush), lavenders, salvias, catmints are possible plants to chose from.
Drought-resistant summer perennials include penstemons, linum (flax), gaillardia (blanket flowers), coreopsis (Black-eyed Susans), hardy salvias, evening primroses, coneflowers, globe thistle, yarrows, Jupiter's beard and Russian sage.
Drought-tolerant bunch grasses such as blue fescue provide additional interest.