Salvias are a large group. They can be ground hugging mats to towering shrubs. Many have showy flowers, most are deer resistant, and many also have fragrant/pungent leaves, stems, flowers. They grow in sun to partial shade. Some like water, others are extremely drought resistant.
Here are two favorites this time. Salvia sonomensis and S. ‘Hot Lips’. These are for a sunnier position, but will tolerate a degree of shade(no dense heavy shade of they become leggy). I particularly like our native S. sonomensis which carpets the chaparrel scrub in the hills. It is extremely drought tolerant when established. and tolerant of heat and sun. (You have to start it in partial shade and it will spread out and grow into the hot sun without any fuss.) There are several forms in the nursery trade. They are taller forms than the typical type seen in the wild. (I particularly like the wild species.) I find it much more attractive, it is lower growing, thus looks neater in any landscape (think of it as a shag rug height) and its’ blooms are also shorter, slender and more graceful than what I have thus seen in the nursery trade. I will begin to introduce this form so that eveyone can have this easy care native. You can use it instead of lawn or many other ground covers. You have to pay attention to drainage and overwatering(don’t do that!) and if drainage is poor, by all means start it on a mound/higher soil area to get it going.
S. ‘Hot Lips’ is quite showy with its red and white flowers. These colors are variable depending on seasonal temperatures. Sometimes they are just reddish! But the plant is compact and forms a small mounded form perhaps 1-2 ft tall and up to 3 ft wide. Full hot sun (with some water) to partial shade will suit it well. It associates nicely with almost any other planting. Small fine textured leaves and mounded growth (like many perennials) allows this to be planted and associate nicely with almost everything. The colorful flowers are a nice change from the warm brick reds and hot pinks found in so many similar forms/hybrids of the related S. greggii and S. microphylla, etc.
Both associate with dry landscaping and also a more watered landscape garden situation. Their colors (forgot to mentions S. sonomensis is purple) are welcome in any garden, or even in containers!