Juozas Kaziukenas has a new post to his Web Species blog about using "lazy evaluation" in PHP - loading the resources you need for execution and evaluation only as you need them, not all up front.
Recently I needed to process a huge array of data and because of PHP's somewhat inefficient variables and especially arrays that was resulting in "out of memory" errors. However, I couldn't use any other tools than PHP so was forced to come up with a solution implementation in it. Here is how I solved it using principles from functional languages.
He gives an example using Haskell to generate a Fibonacci sequence using its built-in lazy evaluation abilities. Unfortunately, PHP doesn't have such a thing built in, so he tries the next best thing - Iterators. He caries the idea over to the database side too, recommending fetch() in a loop over fetchAll() and some effective joins.