Southwest Plant Selector is free on iTunes. It includes hundreds of water-wise landscape plant selections that are commonly-used and commercially-available in New Mexico and, with the upgrade, in El Paso too.
Xeric: Characterized by, relating to, or requiring only a small amount of moisture, as in a xeric plant or a xeric landscape (Merriam-Webster). References to “xeric” plants in the Southwest refer to plants that thrive under the normal climate conditions with little or no supplemental water needs.
Xeriscape: A landscaping method that was developed especially for arid and semiarid climates. A xeriscape utilizes water-conserving techniques including the use of drought-tolerant plants, mulch, and efficient irrigation (Merriam-Webster). Detailed guidance for homeowners, which includes the seven principles of xeriscaping, can be found here, http://www.xericenter.com/links/xeriprinciple.php.
Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) in New Mexico. If you are a landscaper interested in becoming certified or you want to sponsor a training session, contact Cheri at firstname.lastname@example.org. See her website, www.crvogel.com.
"A good landscape and garden begins with a good design. Water conservation in the garden can be maximized if it is considered in the initial planning phase. Xeriscapes can be divided into zones with different water requirements. An 'oasis', a zone with the highest water use, is usually where people spend more time. The patio area and perhaps the entry area are candidates for the oasis. An oasis receives more water and, as a result, is cooler. This area also may require more maintenance and usually will be the landscape's most colorful area.
Beyond the oasis is a transition zone of moderate water use. The transition zone contains plants that require less frequent irrigation and usually requires less maintenance. Further away may be a low-water-use zone, which requires no supplemental water or very infrequent irrigation during prolonged dry periods. Designing the landscape with areas of differing water demands is called 'hydrozoning'.
'Found water' or 'harvested water' that runs off roofs and paving during storms can be used to reduce the need for supplemental irrigation. Roof runoff can be directed to the oasis or other areas, drastically reducing the need for supplemental irrigation in the moderate- and low-water-use zones. Because water harvesting requires grading to channel and detain runoff, it should be planned when the landscape is designed."
See more tips for creating a water-wise landscape at http://xeriscapenm.com/. If you are in the Albuquerque area the weekend of February 25, check out the 2012 Xeriscape Expo at the Fairgrounds. Admittance is free; $5.00 parking. There will be exhibitors, speakers, and prize drawings throughout both days.
iTunesU: Start here, https://itunes.apple.com/us/itunes-u/utep-chihuahuan-desert-garden/id428159958; the series includes three more gardens, “Touring Demonstration Gardens in New Mexico and Texas”.