Returning to our Littleton, Colorado, farm after a month in the Midwest, I found that it was bone dry. Our unwatered "lawns" consisted of broken patches of dusty ground cover and the leaves of our perennial shrubs were wilted and limp. Our fruit trees, responding to the drought, had dropped much of their crop ahead of schedule; only the larger trees showed no signs of the recent hot, dry weather.
Fortunately, almost all of our shrubs are native to Colorado and thus well adapted to the semi-arid climate; others, such as lilacs and Rose-of-Sharon, are also drought-tolerant and will rapidly recover when monsoon rains return to the Front Range. In fact, cooler air and showers are forecast for the next few days.
When landscaping property in a semi-arid environment, it certainly helps to plant native trees, shrubs and wildflowers. By doing so, one can avoid irrigation all together (or at least minimize its use) and need not worry that a prolonged period of excessive heat and drought will decimate the plants. For those of us who live at a distance for periods of time, such an ecologic approach also offers carefree maintenance.