Answer: Lawns are high maintenance plantings, requiring frequent watering and mowing to keep them performing well. Instead of grass for the area you describe, why not plant a hardy groundcover? You didn't mention whether the site is sunny or shady, so here's a list of suitable plants for both sunny and shady areas: Antigonon leptopus (coral vine), Baccharis sarothroides (desert broom) Calylophus hartwegii (sundrops), Dalea greggii (trailing indigo bush), Mascagnia macroptera (yellow orchid vine), Merremia aurea (yellow morning glory), and Zinnia grandiflora. All are native to the southwest. For pictures and descriptions of these plants, consult Sunset Western Garden Book (available in most book stores and libraries).
Your new plants will require regular watering while they're becoming established. Once they've made it through their first summer they should be able to survive on just natural rainfall. Good luck with your landscape!
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