This is what my flower beds look like that I don't have shade cloth for. I can't water everything and without shade they take way too much water. Even the native flowers that I have are suffering. Right now they are saying we have a 40% chance of rain on Thursday, it will take a lot of rain at this point to help. They say if we don't get rain soon there will be water restrictions, if that happens most of my garden will look like this
This picture shows a part of my herb garden under shade cloth. It does get water but only every other day. It makes a big difference, I just don't have enough shade cloth for everything. If you don't have real shade cloth use an old sheet or sheer curtain. Some of my "shade" cloth is 1$ a yard fabric I bought at Wal-Mart years ago and it works just fine.
All of my potted plants are under shade cloth, I even took down the hanging baskets and put them under it. They would all be dead now no mater how much water they got without the shade cloth.
I wish i could have put shade cloth over the labyrinth, the grass there like our whole yard is