Drought tolerant conifers
I've decided to introduce more conifers to my hillside garden if I can find ones that will meet my demanding conditions. If not, I'll skip it and move on to the next idea.
I will not be watering them after a year or two to get them established. My Bay Area garden averages 15" of rainfall a year, with a range of about 7" to about 24", based on what I've seen in the past 25 years.
I already have a mature Italian stone pine, a beautiful tree but we won't plant any more. I recently planted a 'Tiny Towers' Italian cypress. There is a mature deodar cedar in the back garden. Elsewhere on the property are 4 redwoods and a western red cedar, but these require supplemental water so I don't want more of them. I have an incense cedar in a pot that I will be planting later this year. It is a native.
I do not require the trees I add to be natives, though of course that is a plus. Drought tolerance is what I really want. Deer resistance is another plus, though I could protect small trees with a temporary cage until they get a bit bigger. I have room for one or two inside the deer fence but the others will go outside to brave the wildlife. I would consider the right junipers, but not those scraggly looking things people in the 1960's used for foundation planting.
Anyway, I would be grateful for suggestions from other California gardeners who like conifers and understand the requirements of our unique conditions.