Focus on Drought-Enduring Plants
Take a lesson from the Southwest part of the Rocky Mountain region and discover some outstanding drought-tolerant plants to grow in your garden in the book Secret Gardens of Santa Fe, by Sydney Leblanc (Rizzoli, 1997; $45). Santa Fe, NM, is higher in elevation than Phoenix and provides a good example of the kinds of plants that can be grown successfully in this area's demanding growing conditions.
Favorite or New Plant
If you're limited on space but want a decorative and tame tree, I recommend ornamental pear (Pyrus calleryana). People may know this tree as 'Bradford' pear, but there are many cultivated varieties from which to choose. Among my favorites is one that doesn't grow as large as 'Bradford' called 'Chanticleer'. This tree has characteristic white flowers in early spring, glossy green leaves in summer, and handsome fall foliage.