So what would survive if you left your yard unattended for a couple of years? Norm Schilling has a real life example. Here's some proof that desert-adapted plants are the best choice for your yard.
Jojoba Simmondsia chinensis
Norm holds a tiny Creosote, larrea tridentate, also Brittle bush, encelia farinosa and in background African Sumac, Rhuslacea.
Desert spoon, Dasylirion wheeleri (and broken irrigation)
Razed home on Sunrise Mountain