You need to find plants that are specific to your zone. Talk to the landscaping department to see what's available in your area. I remember my husband telling me that when he lived in the desert, a lot of people used gravel/ small rocks as ground cover because it was too hard to maintain grass.
Plan on installing an irrigation system. Visit your local nursery to get more information for your area and project. Check out the plants, decide how you want to lay it out, add rocks?
There are so many great ideas listed. Here are some videos with tips as well. Good luck.
I have always wanted a stone garden , little ones , that you use a rake and make patterns. That with groupings of succulents. Would look nice .