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Even low water use plants take water to get established. We strongly encourage you to wait to plant your new landscape until the water shortage emergency is over. We do not want your new landscape to send you over your monthly water allotment!

Due to drought conditions, the following eligibility requirements have been modified:

  • Lawns do not have to be green to receive the rebate
  • Artificial turf installations will be rebated
  • The project does not need to be completed within 180 days or by a deadline. We ask that you wait to plant when water conditions return to normal.


Rebate : $0.50 per square foot of lawn removed

Up to $500 for Single Family Residential Customers
Up to $2,500 for Multi-Family and Commercial Customers

Remove your water thirsty-lawn and enjoy...
 - savings on your utility bill
 - an updated, attractive landscape
 - less maintenance

Check In.
cell phone
Read the Eligibility Requirements and FAQs. Lawns must still be in place and be irrigated by an in-ground irrigation system. Before removing ANY lawn, call the Water Conservation Office at 831-420-5230 to set up a pre-approval site visit. We'll verify your project meets the rebate requirements, take a measurement, and a photo. Lawn that has already been removed is NOT eligible for a rebate.
 Dig In.
shovel in grass
Once approved, convert your lawn to a low-water use permeable landscape.
 Cash In.
money in hand
When your project is completed call us for a final site visit, submit your rebate application and receive a rebate check.

 Qualifying Landscape Conversions

  • Climate appropriate plants that require little or no supplemental irrigation (very low and low water use plants). See plant ideas below.
  • Permeable hardscape such as pavers, bricks, or flagstone set in sand, gravel, or decomposed granite areas that allows water to pass through and be absorbed on site.
  • If the converted area will use an irrigation system, only low volume drip systems are allowed.
  • All planted areas must have at least a two-inch layer of mulch.







Non-Qualifying Landscape Conversions

  • Plants that require regular supplemental irrigation and are not adapted to a summer-dry climate (medium and high water use plants).
  • Impermeable surfaces such as concrete or flagstone mortared into place.
  • Overhead sprinkler systems.


Before and After Photos
Take a look at some of the gardens our lawn removal rebate customers have installed.

lawn before    garden after

Landscape Conversion Photos
See two gardens with step by step photos of the landscape conversion process.

fairmount house   

baker street welcome

Common Methods for Removing Lawn
Cover with mulch  
    Sheet Mulching 
    Turf Bustin'
Strip and flip using a sod cutter
Hand dig 


Design and Installation Assistance - List of landscape designers and contractors

Planting Ideas
Very Low and Low Water Use Plant List - List of plants that require minimal water
Water-Smart Gardening in Santa Cruz County - Features local gardens and a plant database
Lose the Lawn: 21 Inspiring Yards - 21 lawn-free yards from Sunset magazine
Customer Gardens - View gardens from our lawn removal rebate customers
Plants and Landscapes for Summer Dry Climates - Excellent book with beautiful photographs
Water Use Classification of Landscape Species (WUCOLS) - List includes low and very low water use plants

Mulch and Wood Chip Resources
Organic Materials Exchange
Santa Cruz Resource Recovery on Dimeo Lane
Vision Recycling
Local nurseries and landscape supply stores

Keeping Stormwater Runoff on Site
Slow It. Spread It. Sink It.
City's Stormwater Best Management Practices

lawn before

after garden

lavendar walkway

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Last updated: 3/19/2014 11:51:25 AM