The new drought-tolerant plants we've installed in our front yard will use less water for two reasons. One, both because they don't need as much to begin with, and two, because our front-yard sprinklers have been dug out and cast aside. In their place, plant-specific drip irrigation has been installed.
With traditional sprinklers, water is flung up into the air, landing willy-nilly on plants and brick pathways alike. Runoff is always a problem, not to mention broken sprinkler heads. There's a lot of wasted water in this method. With drip irrigation, by contrast, a small supply of water is sent directly to each plant. There's no accidental spraying of driveways or walkways when the sprinkler heads get off kilter.
Our new drip lines tie in to the old sprinkler lines, as seen below, near the brick path:
Each plant gets its own little tube of water:
See how the water stays close around the plant's roots?
This photo, below, shows clearly how the black weed barrier cloth is simply cut back to allow for the plant to get the water it needs:
The main hoses are held down with simple pins, to prevent the lines from shifting out of place:
Next up: a top dressing of decomposed granite to cover up the drip lines and weed barrier, and then we'll be finished!