If you are replacing your lawn with California native and drought tolerant plants, you have made a wise choice. Putting in plants that want or can survive on less water and provide natural support for wildlife is a win-win.
You have probably heard that this type of garden will be low maintenance. Ah, but this does not mean no maintenance. Mulch will reduce weeds and help to retain the moisture, but the weeds still show up and you will need to water. A garden that is not regularly pruned soon loses its appeal. By year three most California native gardens are exuberant and in need regular haircuts.
Plan for a water bill that isn’t as low as you would expect. Plan to weed. And plan to prune. If you can’t get out there and garden, there are gardeners like us who specialize in California native and drought tolerant gardens. But if you can garden on a regular basis for an hour or even less, you will be rewarded with a beautiful native garden.