Southern California is a natural drought area, so landscaping is often created with this in mind. Reducing water usage is important, some years So Cal will see a lot of rain, and some years very little, so choosing a garden that uses very little water is not only smart, it's the smart thing to do for the environment. The area has been altered with the import of Palm Trees, roses, and other non-indigenous plants, flowers and trees, and has lost a little bit of its natural smell and look.
To start, create a hydrozone in one area of your yard. A hydrozone is where all the plants have similar water needs so you can water efficiently. Landscaping here requires dependence on native flora, succulents, cacti and plants that can withstand hot summer temperatures and only occasional watering. But if you do choose plants that require more water, group them together. Do this also with plants requiring sun, keeping like-minded plants together. It will also help to create a gorgeous landscape plan, keeping it simple creates beauty.
Flowering plants for the Southern California garden include the bright scarlet larkspur (Delphinium cardinale), the blooms of the deciduous Pacific dogwood (Cornus nuttallii) tree and also the perennial fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium) that offers spectacular lavender blooms. But Southern California has varying landscapes, and native plants vary by the landscape. You'll find very different habitat as soil differs from desert to the coast, from the mountains to the city. Depending on the landscape and habitat, you'll want to do your research and choose native trees and plants.
Common plants you'll see in Southern California, on just about every hillside and in every yard, include Lilac (which are fragrant and gorgeous), Sage, Anais, Manzanitas, wild Roses, Honeysuckles, and various cacti. Manzanitas are great wildlife plants. Many of the manzanitas regulate their nectar to attract different insects, butterflies and hummingbirds during the day. Whatever you choose, arrange your plants low to high, creating an amphitheatre, with your window or doorway the main stage. A birdbath or water feature will complete the look.