|Bougainvilleas look their best in dry conditions.|
Natives are ideal, but introduced drought tolerant plants can be useful as well. If you can, observe areas near you where plants are growing wild. What is doing well? What isn't? Choose these to replace plants that are unable to survive the current dry spell.
Keep plants with similar watering needs together. This allows you to use your water more efficiently
This can provide a more constant supply of water to your plants. The slow flow of water allows more moisture to stay where it is needed, rather than running off into the gutters.
Using the soil, create a basin around plants that require deeper waterings. This minimizes runoff and gives water time to seep down to the roots of the plant. These are especially useful for trees and shrubs that require deeper watering. My grandfather, an avid plant collector who loves tropicals and has been gardening in California for decades, has these around almost every plant in his Southern California garden. This page at Learn2Grow.com features a picture of a watering basin around a newly planted rose.
While they can be expensive, these can allow one to make better use of runoff from the roof between rainstorms. This is especially useful if your neighborhood is under water restrictions, as you have an alternative source of water on days when you can't use your hose or sprinklers.
Mulch insulates from cold in the winter, and also aids moisture retention in dry weather.
Minimize Lawn Space
While they are attractive and simple landscape features, lawns require a great deal of water, and can begin to look ugly when they do not get enough. Consider replacing part or all of your lawn with something with less demanding water requirements such as drought-tolerant beds, a low-growing ground cover, gravel, or pavers.