Good low-maintenance plants for hot climate?
We live in a place with scorchingly hot summers (in the 100s for several weeks in the summer, with averages in the 90s). Our house sits smack in the middle of a clearing, without a single tree to provide shade (which makes for some high air conditioning bills every year).
Anyway, I'd like to plant some shrubs or other ornamental plant around our deck. I think they would need to be non-flowering because my kids spend a lot of time on the deck in the summers and I don't want anything that will attract a lot of bees, unless such a thing exists as a bee-repellent flower. Would be nice if I could plant something that will get big enough to provide shade, but I don't know if that's a good idea so close to the house.
You'll all have to forgive me because I haven't done much gardening, and when I try I tend to kill things just by looking at them (don't worry, I'll be sure to shield my eyes every time I walk down the deck, haha). So I need tough, forgiving plants and probably also plants that are low maintenance as well as tolerant of heat and full sun. Also probably need my answers dumbed-down. :-)
Thanks in advance!