Best thing to plant in S. W. Arizona to create a lush look?

We are moving into a new home this weekend, and are at a loss as to what plants to plant. We plan to use a lot of pavers and just a small bit of grass for our dog. We have talked about using lots of pots and containers and wish to create a lush private and shaded back yard in the middle of a city neighborhood. Any ideas or suggestions are greatly appreciated.
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