I've tried planting several things there.The first year, peas (which did well unil late spring, and I was able to harvest) and carrots (which were kind of woody tasting). What I really wanted was roses. It's a tiny space (2'x8') and I could fit three roses there, with strawberries as a ground cover. Well, the leaves didn't even bud on the first roses I planted. Almost all of the strawberries dried up right away. I thought I wasn't watering enough, (and planting too late in the season) so I tried it again this year. I planted much earlier. I watered more. One of the bareroot roses put forth leaves. The strawberries looked like they were going to do well. I left for the weekend, thinking they'd be all right. Three days later I returned to find only a few strawberries left (of the ~50 I planted) and the leaves on the rose shriveled up and crunchy.
I'm thinking my problem is two-fold. The sandy soil doesn't lock in any moisture. The house reflects the heat from the sun.
Only two things seem to grow well here- prickly lettuce and purslane. The previous owners had it filled with lava rock.
This is my new idea. I could get some sagebrush (a very natural plant around here) and use purslane as a ground cover. I'm also thinking of using prickly pear cactus down further along the side of the house. I also have one lone cotoneaster at the corner of the house that doesn't mind the dry.
I'm looking for any other suggestions. I also have a much bigger section I'd like things to grow in along the house (where I'm thinking of using the prickly pear)..