Discover water-saving landscaping! Our 2024 guide updates you on California turf replacement programs with incentives and rebates, promoting both savings and water conservation.
Tired of your wimpy, water-guzzling grass? California’s turf replacement programs of 2023 are here to help! These California-specific programs offer free money to:
- Remove your high-water-use grass lawns (turf)
- Replace your lawn with beautiful, low-water-use landscaping (e.g. drought resistant plants and native plants)
- Improve your water efficiency with rainwater retention and drip irrigation
With the drought expected to continue for the foreseeable future all the way from Southern California up to Northern California, now is the time to make the switch.
Why does California want me to get rid of my grass?
The state of California is currently in the midst of a severe drought. In response, the state has enacted a number of measures to try to reduce water usage. One of these measures is the California turf removal program, which offers incentives to homeowners who replace their high-water-use grass with low-water-use landscaping.
As California confronts drought, extreme heat, and worsening climate change, it is critical that we deepen our investment in water conservation strategies.”Assembly Member Jesse Gabriel
What are the benefits of replacing my grass lawn in California?
In addition to saving water, there are a number of other benefits to replacing your grass lawn with low-water-use landscaping. For one, it can save you money on your water bill. It can also reduce the amount of time and effort you spend on lawn care. And, in some cases, it can increase the value of your home.
Who manages California’s turf removal rebates?
Turf replacement programs and rebates are managed by the metropolitan water districts and their member water agencies. They are open to homeowners in California who meet certain criteria, and the incentives vary depending on the size of the property and the amount of grass that is replaced. For example, a homeowner with a 2,000-square-foot lawn could receive up to $12,000 in rebates for replacing their grass with drought-tolerant plants.
If you’re thinking about replacing your grass, now is the time to act.
Our hots are getting hotter and our dries are getting drier. Our state is on track to lose 10% of its water supply by 2040 which is why we must all do our part to conserve water.”Governor Gavin Newsom
Incentives are available now, but they may not be offered in the future. So don’t wait – start planning your new landscape today!
California Drought Tolerant Landscaping Rebates by Region
- Southern California | 2023 Lawn and Water Rebates
- Imperial County Water District
- Los Angeles Water$mart
- Los Angeles County California Cash for Grass Rebate Program
- Orange County California Turf Rebate Program
- Coachella Valley Water District Rebates
- San Bernadino County Water and Sanitation Rebates
- San Luis Obispo County Cash for Grass Program
- San Diego County Waterscape Rebate Program
- Santa Barbara County Water Wise Landscape Rebate Program
- Carpinteria Valley Water Districts Water Wise Landscape Rebate Program
- The City of Buellton
- The City of Lompoc
- City of Solvang’s Water Conservation Program
- Goleta Water District
- Vandenberg Village Community Services District Cash 4 Grass Rebates
- Ventura County Turf Replacement Program
- Central California | 2023 Lawn and Water Rebates
- Fresno County Water Conservation Program Rebate
- Kings Turf Replacement Program
- The City of Madera Water Conservation Rebate
- Mariposa County Residential Programs
- Monterey Peninsula Water Management District Landscape Rebates
- San Benito County Turf Removal Program
- Stanislaus County – City of Modesto Rebate Program
- Northern California | 2023 Lawn and Water Rebates
- Alameda County Water District Lawn Be Gone Rebate Program
- Contra Costa County Conservation and Development
- Marin County Water Rebates
- Napa County Water Conservation
- Sacramento County Water Agency Cash for Grass program
- San Francisco County Bay Area Lawn Be Gone Rebate
- San Mateo County Water Conservation
- Santa Clara County Landscape Rebates
Southern California | 2023 Lawn and Water Rebates
With more than 3,000 miles of canals and drains, IID is the largest irrigation district in the nation. IID’s Colorado River water entitlement is unparalleled, and as a trustee of these water rights, IID will continue to responsibly manage this water supply and its related resources for many generations to come. Contact the Imperial County Water District for up-to-date turf rebate information.
The SoCal Water$mart rebate and Turf Replacement program are offered by the Metropolitan Water District (MWD). In order to receive a rebate, you must apply to reserve rebate funds prior to starting your project. After the reservation, you will have 180 days to complete your landscaping project and submit your request for a rebate. MWD is offering a rebate of $2.00 per square foot up to 5,000 square feet of converted yard per year. Your water agency may offer an additional rebate incentive.
The Los Angeles County Waterworks Districts offers customers a rebate for removing water-inefficient grass lawns and sprinklers with drought-tolerant landscaping. The current rate is $1 per square foot, with a minimum requirement of 500 sq. ft. and a maximum of $5,000. The Rebate Program assists customers with reducing their overall water consumption. Contact the Los Angeles County Water District Public Works for more rebate information.
The Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC), the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and your local water agency are proud to offer the Turf Removal Program to qualifying residents and businesses across Orange County. Rebates start at $3 per square foot of turf grass removed. Contact the Municipal Water District of Orange County directly for current synthetic turf rebate information.
Residential homeowners are being offered $3.00 per square foot for new landscape conversion projects up to 10,000 square feet or $30,000. All residential landscape rebate projects must be pre-approved before work begins. Residents must also have a green or golden-brown lawn to qualify for this conversion rebate. Eligible Projects are funded on a first-come, first-served basis.
SBMWD offers several outdoor rebates and incentives to encourage customers to maintain beautiful, water-efficient landscaping. The City of San Bernardino Water Department is offering a $2.00 per square foot rebate incentive for turf replacement with artificial grass up to $400.00.
The Cash for Grass Program offers monetary incentives for property owners in the Nipomo Mesa Water Conservation Area (NMWCA) and thePaso Robles Groundwater Basin (PRGWB) who are seeking to remove irrigated turf and replace it with approved low water using plants and ground cover. Contact the County of San Luis Obispo for up to date rebate information.
The Waterscape Rebate Program focuses on the installation of landscaping and water-wise features, which help you save water, save money, and beautify your home and garden. Rebates are available for residents, businesses and agricultural producers living in the unincorporated areas of San Diego County.
Cash for Making Your Garden More Water Wise in Santa Barbara County. Program requirements may vary slightly depending on your service area, so get started by contacting your water provider.
The Carpinteria Valley Water Districts Water Wise Landscape Rebate Program covers a portion of the cost of pre-approved equipment and materials including artificial turf. In addition, 50% of landscape design costs up to $250 can be rebated within the total rebate amount. Any combination of design costs, irrigation equipment and planting costs may qualify up to a one-time rebate of $500 for single-family homes, and up to $1,000 for commercial, multi-family, and homeowner associations.
The City of Buellton offers rebates for replacing lawns with water-efficient plants and synthetic turf. This “Cash for Grass” rebate program offers $1.00 per square foot of rebate with a maximum rebate amount of $750 for eligible residential properties.
The City of Lompoc is offering Water Wise Landscape Rebates when you retrofit your existing landscape with WaterWise plants and water-efficient irrigation systems. Substantial water savings must be estimated by City staff to qualify. The rebate amount is up to $1,000 for each address and can include the cost of plants, mulch, and irrigation equipment.
As part of the City of Solvang’s Water Conservation Program, the City periodically offers a Turf Replacement Rebate Program. Please see the Turf Replacement Rebate Program Form (PDF), and contact the City’s Utility Billing Clerk at 805-688-5575 for more details.
Any combination of pre-approved irrigation equipment and planting costs may qualify for a one-time rebate of up to $750 for single-family meter customers and up to $2,000 per meter for multi-family (HOA), commercial, and dedicated landscape irrigation meter customers (up to 2 meters or $4,000 per multi-family or commercial site).
Vandenberg Village Community Services District is proud to promote a conservation attitude with rebates, grants, and FREE water conservation devices.
Contact the Ventura County Public Works for current turf replacement rebate information.
Central California | 2023 Lawn and Water Rebates
A $1.00 per square foot rebate is available for the removal of existing lawns when replaced with water-efficient landscapes. The rebate amount is based on the square footage of lawn removed and replaced, up to a maximum of 1,500 square feet. The Water Conservation Program requires that customers request a Water-Wise Landscape Consultation prior to removing a lawn for the Lawn to Garden rebate.
City of Kingsburg water customers may be eligible for a rebate when they convert their existing grass area with any qualifying artificial turf products or drought tolerant landscape products. The rebate amount may not exceed $3,000 per residential or commercial City of Kingsburg water account. Project must be a minimum of 250 sq.ft. and maximum of 1500 sq.ft. Turf replacements that include only mulch, gravel, rocks or just artificial turf are not eligible without prior approval.
City of Madera will pay customers u to $3.00 per square foot to remove up to 1,000 square feet of irrigated turf. Eligible water-efficient replacement landscaping includes drought-tolerant plants appropriate for the Madera area, mulch, rock, stepping stones, permeable hardscape, and artificial turf.
Information not available online, please contact the Mariposa County Energy Assistance, Water, and Weatherization department directly.
$1.00 per square-foot to a maximum of 2,500 square-feet per Qualifying Property. A minimum of 250 square-feet of Lawn must be removed. Lawn must be replaced with low water use plants or permeable surfaces (mulch, decomposed granite, etc.).
$2 per square foot, from 100 sq. ft. up to 1,000 sq. ft. The WRASBC is offering a program to reduce or limit turf in residential areas. Turf can use up to 80” of water per year in the San Benito climate and only receives from 11-13” of rain on average.
City of Modesto water customers may be eligible for a rebate when they convert their existing grass area with any qualifying artificial turf products or drought tolerant landscape products. The rebate amount may not exceed $3,000 per residential City of Modesto water account and/or $6,000 per commercial City of Modesto water account. Funding is limited and applications will be accepted on a first come, first served basis.
Northern California | 2023 Lawn and Water Rebates
ACWD is transitioning its turf removal rebate program to a new online platform with assistance from the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency (BAWSCA). All ACWD customers can continue to receive a rebate for converting their lawns to water-efficient landscape.* The rebate is based on the number of square feet of lawn converted. ACWD is currently offering $2.00/sq.ft of lawn that is replaced with water-efficient landscape. Rebates are issued on a first-come, first served basis. Funding is limited.
Contra Costa Water District (CCWD) offers rebates to customers for replacing the lawn in their front yard with water-wise landscaping. The rebate is $1 per square foot of lawn replaced. The maximum rebate for single-family residential sites is $1,000; The maximum rebate for commercial, multi-family, and municipal accounts is $20,000 per site.
Marin Water is offering customers a rebate of up to $3 per square foot for replacing grass in their landscapes. Marin Water offers a great package of rebates and money-saving incentives for water conservation.
The City of Napa offers water customers an incentive to replace their water-thirsty lawns with water-efficient landscaping. The basic program offers $1.00 per square foot to replace eligible lawn areas.
SCWA customers may receive a rebate of $1.00 per square foot up to $2,000 per residential household or $1.50 per square foot up to $2,500 commercial. Rebates will be awarded on a “first come, first served” basis. You will need to convert at least a minimum of two hundred (200) square feet of lawn/turf in accordance with the terms and conditions of the rebate program.
Save water by removing your grass! Replace your lawn with a beautiful, drought-tolerant landscape and receive a rebate of up to $4 per sq.ft.
The City of San Mateo’s water supply is provided by California Water Service (Cal Water), a private water supplier that provides water to 21 districts in California. Cal Water is responsible for developing and enforcing the compliance plan to meet state regulations.
This program is designed to encourage residents and businesses to convert approved high-water use landscape, such as lawns and pools, to low-water use landscape, as well as to retrofit existing irrigation equipment with approved high-efficiency irrigation equipment.
Table of Contents
- What is a Turf Replacement Program?
- 7 Steps to Getting your Landscaping Rebate
- Be a residential or commercial property owner with an existing grass landscape
- Measure the area to be transformed (in square feet)
- Get prior approval through the rebate application process
- Remove turf from your landscape
- Transform your landscape area with plants, a stormwater retention feature, permeable hardscape, and more
- Remove overhead spray sprinklers and replace with a water efficient irrigation system
- Get post project approval for your rebate
- Is replacing my turf landscape really worth all that work?
- It’s worth it if you like a lot of free money
- Find a turf replacement program for sustainable landscapes in your state
In many states, free money (as a rebate) is available to homeowners and commercial property owners when they replace grass turf with drought tolerant landscaping. Learn more about what a metropolitan water district or local water agency expects during a lawn transformation project.
What is a Turf Replacement Program?
Turf replacement is when a residential or commercial property owner removes their existing grass landscaping, and replaces it with heat tolerant plants in order to save water and create a more natural wildlife habitat. Applying for a local turf removal and replacement rebate is a cost-effective and sustainable approach to landscaping your yard. Once you finish your converted yard project, and your local water agency approves it, you get a rebate (i.e., free money)!
7 Steps to Getting your Landscaping Rebate
In most cases, you’ll need to follow these 7 steps to be eligible for a sustainable landscapes rebate. It varies from state-to-state, and city-to-city, but generally to complete a turf replacement project, you must:
Be a residential or commercial property owner with an existing grass landscape
The intent of a turf replacement program is to have single-family homeowners, multi-family property owners, and businesses remove their existing grass and replace it with organic, drought tolerant landscaping.
Measure the area to be transformed (in square feet)
Before making any changes to your turf, you must measure your current residential or commercial landscape (in square feet). This calculates your estimated rebate amount (plus any additional rebate incentive).
Get prior approval through the rebate application process
Submit a turf replacement plan that shows a sketch or digital drawing of the area, list of plants, location of stormwater retention feature, photos of your current turf, and a recent water bill.
Remove turf from your landscape
This is the step where you start getting your hands dirty! You need to remove the turf (i.e. the grass) to get ready for the new landscape. There are a number of ways to do this, from using a shovel and a sod cutter, to killing the grass by covering it with cardboard.
Transform your landscape area with plants, a stormwater retention feature, permeable hardscape, and more
Now that all the turf grass is gone, you can start planting your drought tolerant vegetation (native plants recommended). Some local water agencies require a certain number of plants per square foot (e.g. in Los Angeles, you must have 3 drought tolerant plants per 100 square feet). You may also need to add a selected stormwater retention feature like a rain barrel, rain garden, or rock garden, as well as hardscaping that allows water to pass through it (i.e., permeable). You cannot use artificial or synthetic turf.
Remove overhead spray sprinklers and replace with a water efficient irrigation system
Your new plants need water, but much less water than before. Take out those old sprinkler heads and replace them with an efficient, low water drip irrigation system. At this point, you’re looking at an area transformed by water wise choices!
Get post project approval for your rebate
Your last task is to submit a report on the sustainable landscape approach selected, including a description of project area, turf removed (e.g. turf grass, artificial turf), new plants, ground cover, organic mulch, permeable hardscapes, weather based irrigation controllers that ensure water savings, etc.
Is replacing my turf landscape really worth all that work?
It’s natural to feel a bit overwhelmed when there are several big steps involved. Turf replacement can be a big deal. Agencies offering the turf rebate don’t always do a great job of describing the project process, including how to become eligible for the program, how to fill out the rebate application, what a turf removal plan looks like, what plants to buy, and how to present your transformed area.
It’s worth it if you like a lot of free money
At $2 or $3 per square foot, you’re looking at a rebate that is worth hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. If you budget your turf project wisely, this means that you can potentially break even, or better yet make money on your landscape project. Plus, the water savings you’ll experience after your project is completed means even more money in your wallet.
Find a turf replacement program for sustainable landscapes in your state
Many counties and cities offer turf replacement programs. These programs vary in several ways:
- The rebate dollar amount per square foot (typically $2-$4 / square foot)
- The maximum rebate allowed for single family homeowners (e.g. $3000 max) and commercial property owners (e.g. $20,000 max)
- The number of calendar months you have to complete your project
- The quantity and kind of plants you need to include
- Additional features like those for stormwater retention
We are actively working on a list of all turf replacement programs in the United States, which you can find in our Rebates Database.