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How-to Get CASH rebates for New landscaping in California 2024

California is in desperate need of you converting your landscaping to low-water plants and design. Even with the state caught up on its water needs for now, the need to update exterior landscaping to drought-tolerant varietals is imperative to ensuring water demands are lower in the next drought. That's why the state government has implemented the Water$mart program for offering rebates for lawn replacements and other landscaping improvements. 

How much money can you get for installing drought tolerant or native landscaping?

And guess what? Any new drought tolerant garden can qualify. If you're removing lawn - even DEAD lawn - you can apply for a $2/sq.ft. - $4/sq.ft. rebate for your new landscaping.

This means if you're replacing 5,000 sq.ft. of lawn in your front yard you could get $20,000 from your local water district. Though many districts cap out at a few thousand dollars. 

Rebate Qualifying Plant Packages

"I have to say, we’ve recommended it to other people who are thinking about trying to do their gardens at a reasonable cost. The rebate basically covered the cost of the plants and a little bit of the [added custom] design fee. Maybe another $1500 on materials and cost of the yard. We did about half of the install ourselves." - Richard A., Los Angeles, Click here to Shop

How Much is Your Water District Offering? 

(Click on the water district listed below to be linked to the application site)

Some areas of California have more than one Rebate offering. So far Palo Alto is the only region we've found that lists exclusions for getting more than one rebate. I say, apply for them all and go for double financing where allowed. 

Bay Area Water : Daly City, Menlo Park, San Bruno, Milpitas, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Redwood City, San Jose, Santa Clara, SFO, Sunnyvale, Hayward and more 

Offering up to $4/sq.ft. for you to convert your existing lawn to drought tolerant plus $300 for rain garden features with the "lawn be gone" rebate program. Plant coverage must be %50 and mulch to 3 inches. There is no maximum rebate.

Cal Water : Bakersfield, Chico, East Los Angeles, Redondo, Livermore, Los Altos, Salinas, Stockton, Palos Verdes and some surrounding areas 

Get up $3.50 per sq.ft. to install new landscaping with drip irrigation with the "lawn to garden" rebate program. Maxes out at $4,500 for residential home owners ($30,000 for commercial). Requirements include at least %50 plant coverage and several inches of mulch over all bare soil. 

L.A. Water DistrictMost of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura Counties

The original turf rebate organization Water$mart also offers a number of rebates for smart irrigation controllers and water-saving in home appliances. As of 2024 they have upped their offer to $3/sq.ft. for replacing your lawn with a water smart landscape. Requires a rain capturing feature (click here for free guide on rain capturing features) and 3 plants per sq.ft...more details on this one below.

PLUS NEW IN 2024 - Get $100 per tree for up to 5 trees to install ANY shade producing tree.  

Orange County : All of the OC

The OC is giving up to $3.50/sq.ft. for lawn replacing with low-water plants and drip irrigation plus FREE landscape design consulting and customized maintenance schedules. 


The city's River-friendly landscaping program is offering $1.50/sq.ft. up to $3,000 for home owners as well as rebates for irrigation controllers, rain barrels and other water saving sundries. 

South San Francisco Bay Area - Valley Water: San Jose, Palo Alto, Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Santa Clara and More

Get $2/sq.ft. up to $3,000 for home owners for replacing lawn OR POOL and up to $50,000 for commercial/multi-family up until June 30, 2024 and while funds last. Hurry up with this one! 

Getting a plant delivery or waterwise california plants for lawn replacement

San Diego 

WOW, offering up $4/sq.ft. for a maximum of $20,000 for replacing your lawn, updating to drip irrigation and adding a rain capturing feature.  This can be a rain barrel, dry riverbed or berms and swales on contour. 3 plants required per 100 sq.ft. and 3" deep of mulch around each plant. Up to 50,000 sq.ft. for commercial and multiunit. Other incentives without lawn removal for planting along pavement. 

San Gabriel Valley WaterHacienda Heights, Rosemead, South El Monte, Whittier

The program Create Your Garden provides free lawn killing, education, free plants, mulch and drip irrigation materials so you can design and install your new yard yourself. It was renewed in late 2023

Santa Monica 

The Cash for Grass program gives home owners a maximum of $6000. It's been renewed in 2024! Get $4 per sq.ft. with drip irrigation conversion add-ons.  

Palm Springs & Palmdale

You can get $2/sq.ft. in Palm Springs for your new yard (and that includes artificial turf though I personally don't recommend it - try this instead) and $1.50 per sq.ft. in Palmdale to replace lawns and cover bare soil with low-water plants (like Xeric Modern or Blossom 365 you can even quadruple the square footage on these to meet rebate guidelines).


How to qualify for a Water$mart rebate? 

Here's the 5-step process for qualifying for your rebate. MAKE SURE you apply and get approval BEFORE you start your project. You need your lawn or defunct irrigation to still be in the ground to qualify. In some areas it needs to still be partially living. 

  1. Three plants every 25-30 square feet... that means one of our plant packages  can cover double or even quadruple the listed square footage (or just add a nice open decomposed granite (DG) or gravel patio in the center).
  2. Do NOT remove any existing trees
  3. Add one water retention feature: like a dry river bed, rain barrel, swale or other natural water$mart contouring (swales are like natural little stream beds or a ditch that only fill up when it's raining or there's extra water... click here for the green garden group's awesome guide on Waterwise landscape planning) 
  4. Mulch to a minimum of 3" deep with wood chip, bark or other organic matter. See our Mulch blog for ideas of how to get this material FREE. Make sure all soil in the area is covered with mulch, DG or gravel.  
  5. Demonstrate usage of water$mart irrigation. Either improve your irrigation system with drip or a high-tech controller or ensure no overhead sprayers are used. 

mother and daughter planting new drought tolerant landscaping in Southern California

"This is my first dabble in gardening and I love it! It's so rewarding. Before I had a gift card for Home Depot and bought a bunch of ugly plants that didn't look good anywhere. California Wild Gardens was great because it gave me a design without having to have somebody come here and do the whole custom thing. I really wanted to be involved in the process with my yard. It's so much more meaningful when other people appreciate it and whenever a different plant blooms I get so excited." - Chris W., Pacifica


More money for MORE water savings??? 

AND anyone can get a rebate for irrigation improvements. Most water departments will cover up to %75 of the cost of drip irrigation controllers that improve water distribution. Or give you a $0.50 rebate per sq.ft. of sprinklers removed. 

In recent events native turf & native groundcover plugs and sods are ALSO qualifying for rebates in many districts. Talk to us or your local water district to make sure before applying. Contact us with questions! We LOVE helping make drought tolerant landscaping more accessible. 

Estimate your rebate amounts today: 

  1. Turf Replacement Rebates
  2. Irrigation & Water Saving Device Rebates

Then apply through your local water district's website. Enter your zip code at the top of this website (click here) to find yours. OR apply through Southern California's water website by clicking here.  

How to Get the Plants

Lots of water districts offer free landscape designs as do a number of California native plant non profits (check these out). But sometimes the designs lack the luster you want a new yard to have. And finding the exact plants can be a pain because of seasonal availability, nursery trends and getting your car filthy... because let's be honest, fitting 60 plants in the trunk of a Tesla isn't always a sure thing.

That's why we offer FREE DELIVERY on all of our rebate-qualifying plant packages and include cutting-edge designs that look great with modern architecture (and Craftsman too!). All our California Native-inspired plant packages are guaranteed qualifying plants. As are %95 of our Designer plant packages too. The Catch? Install is on you, hire out or DIY. But we always do our best to support the entire process through great customer service. 

Native Lawn & Kurapia Note

Some water districts accept California native lawn products and Phyla nodiflora as suitable for lawn replacement rebates. The catch? It has to be installed with drip irrigation. 


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