These garden owners didn't have a landscape architect or anything like that when they decided to take out the lawn...didn't even, in fact, have a particular plan of their own. They just wanted to eliminate the lawn and its water and maintenance requirements.
They are huge fans of Theodore Payne Native Nursery in Sun Valley, so they hung out there, selecting native plants to replace the lawn. Then they realized that they didn't need to confine themselves to natives: there are so many other plants from Mediterranean and desert climates which require little water. So everything just sprung up kind of on its own!
They already known about mulching, which they preferred to decomposed granite, so there are lots of contrasts between green plants and dark brown mulch. Everything in the garden is drought tolerant except in the back yard, which has a few roses from earlier days.
They also brought in rain barrels to catch rainwater, and a favorite task during the rainy season is changing the hoses, rearranging the barrels, and just generally planning where to direct the rainwater. They kept their old sprinkler system, but do a lot of hand-watering too.
The photos show red flax---not natives, but hardy, beautiful and long-lasting. Each season of the year has something that produces color, so it's never just all green.