2022 REBATE INCREASE
As of this winter (2022-2023) Southern California Water$mart is upping many rebates from $2/sq.ft. to $3/sq.ft. Watering restrictions aren't going away. They want lawn GONE.
How-to Get CASH rebates for New landscaping in California
Southern California is in desperate need of you converting your landscaping to low-water plants and design. That's why the state government has implemented the Water$mart program for offering rebates for lawn replacements and other landscaping improvements.
How much money can you get for installing drought tolerant 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.
"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 capturing features. 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. Maxes out at $4,500 for residential home owners ($30,000 for commercial). Requirements include at least %50 plant coverage and several inches of mulch over all bare soil.
L.A. Water District: Most of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura Counties
The original turf rebate organization Water$mart also offers a number of rebates for smart irrigation controllers and water-saving in home appliances. They offer $2/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 belowOrange 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.Sacramento
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 and up to $50,000 for commercial/multi-family up until June 30, 2023 and after while funds last. Hurry up with this one!
WOW, offering $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.San Gabriel Valley Water: Hacienda 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.Santa Monica
The Cash for Grass program gives home owners a maximum of $6000. It's been renewed until May of 2023! 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.
- 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).
- Do NOT remove any existing trees
- Add one water retention feature: like a dry river bed, rain barrel, swale or other natural water$mart contouring (swales are like natural little stream beds or a ditch that only fill up when it's raining or there's extra water... click here for the green garden group's awesome guide on Waterwise landscape planning)
- Mulch to a minimum of 3" deep with wood chip, bark or other organic matter. See our Mulch blog for ideas of how to get this material FREE. Make sure all soil in the area is covered with mulch, DG or gravel.
- Demonstrate usage of water$mart irrigation. Either improve your irrigation system with drip or a high-tech controller or ensure no overhead sprayers are used.
"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:
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... cuz 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. Piece together your own yard over time, take those romantic walks through local nurseries, but when you hit a design block or just get tired of it are plant packs are here to fill in the pieces! What's the catch? Install is on you, hire out or DIY. We do our best to support the entire process.
Phylla nodiflora or Lippia nodiflora - the recently hybridized California native groundcover - is a rebate qualifying lawn alternative. The catch? It has to be installed with drip irrigation. We recommend using additionally spaced plugs with individual drippers in Southern California for the greatest guarantee of success. Shop Phylla nodiflora.