Our backyard right now is a clean slate. Well not actually clean since it is bare dirt, rocks and weeds that Jim does a great job of keeping down to a minimum. I dream of it turning into a cool shady retreat or at least as cool as you can get in a desert summer.
Typical landscaping here for the water conscious is rocks with low water use plantings for a bit of color. We are tossing around some ideas but nothing is final yet and probably won't be until it cools off enough this fall to do the work. I don't think it is good for plants or people to do major yard work when it is over 100.
One addition I would like to have is an arbor. I think arbors create serene little spots of shade and quiet. You know what I mean don't you? It would be just that little spot to sit on a bench or swing for a minute or ten with your morning coffee and listen to the birds and plan your day. I have seen wooden arbors as well as vinyl and metal. You can use them as a stand alone piece or have plantings growing over them.
There won't be any work done on these ideas for awhile but I will record here how it all turns out.