It's a common misconception that a waterwise garden has to be all rocks and cactus. With Mediterranean region plants we can create any aesthetic from Japanese to Cottage, with a little creativity and research. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
For example, the pink flower carpet rose pictured is tough as nails, resistant to diseases and very drought tolerant when established. Many are even "self cleaning" meaning they'll still bloom on without constant deadheading. Go for the Mediterranean / Ca native hybrid garden vibe and pair them with some native sage.
Photo from @monroviaplants website