advice for starting a sunken desert patio garden (Phoenix)

advice for starting a sunken desert patio garden (Phoenix)

Hello! I just joined and am looking for advice. I've been a somewhat successful office gardener for the past five years, with two bromeliads, a philodendron and several of her offspring, and even a few flowering basil plants I planted on a whim and managed to grow inside in partial shade. Nutty! I had an awesome croton, but lost it after I moved to a shadier office. At the end of May, I'm moving into a little sub-level condo with a sunken patio (crossing fingers that the sale goes through). Some parts of it get some direct sunlight, but only for a bit. It's otherwise fairly shady. There are some little patches of dirt around with a healthy oleander and a couple of lantanas. I'm hoping to do some container gardening down there, and I'd like to do herbs. Does anyone have some top-of-their-head advice on what would do okay? I doubt I could pull off a basil repeat, as my office basil at least gets direct sunlight in the late afternoon/evening. A few easy veggies would be nice, too. My intuition tells me that none of this would do so well without plenty of sun, though. Thanks in advance!
Hydrangea Bed

Hydrangea Bed

beginner’s update

beginner’s update

Orange and white stuff?

Orange and white stuff?

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Eggplant Harvest

Pear trees!

Pear trees!

plant id.

plant id.