When we moved to Stanford one-and-a-half year ago we were lucky to buy a house that did not need any refurbishing but the garden did. In front there was an awful hedge that had to be removed. That took about a week. We replanted the strip with mainly water wise plants (succulents and drought resistent shrubs and trees).
One of the newcomers along the fence is a hibiscus. A few days ago it produced its first flower. Voila: