Fall is the perfect time to replace your lawn with sustainable landscaping. Shorter days, less intense sun, rain and cooler temperatures may help new plants establish their roots, making it easier for them to withstand the heat of summer. It also has great weather for spending time outdoors installing a new landscape that you’ll love.

Customers can receive up to $3 per square foot when they remove lawn and replace it with sustainable landscaping. Sustainable landscapes include low water use plants, efficient irrigation systems, use rainwater as a resource and protect the soil with mulch.

Here is what you need to know to improve your landscape and reserve your rebate money:

 What qualifies

Residential customers are eligible for replacing grass areas from 250 square feet up to 5,000 square feet. Commercial properties are eligible for up to 10,000 square feet per year.

Reserve your rebate, then remove your grass
You must apply to reserve rebate funds before starting your project. Start today by taking photos of your existing grass. Then, submit your photos with your rebate application to reserve your rebate. Once you receive a reservation, you have 180 days to complete your project.

Cover soil with plants and mulch
To qualify for the rebate, you need to include a minimum plant coverage of three plants per 100 square feet in your new landscape – think three plants for each 10-foot by 10-foot room. Artificial turf and turf-looking grasses do not qualify. You will also have to cover all bare soil areas with a 3-inch layer of mulch. Mulch is inexpensive, and it can be wood chips, shredded bark or bark nuggets. You will be glad that you have mulch in your new landscaping since it helps your new landscape retain soil moisture, maintains a tidy appearance and prevents weeds.

Image shows person planting low water use plant

Improve overhead sprinklers
Since the sprinklers on your lawn are probably not the most efficient, now is a great time to improve them. Drip irrigation systems are easy to install for your new plants, and there are numerous retrofit kits available. You may also install high-efficiency spray heads.

Design to use rain water
Part of the benefits of removing your grass is that you can now capture, slow and sink rainwater for your plants. There are many ways to do this beyond just rain barrels, such as rain gardens, dry streambeds, berms, vegetated swales, rock gardens and grades. Visit the SoCal WaterSmart website to see what design works best for you.

Patios, walkways and other hardscapes 
Use permeable materials, such as flagstone set in loose sand, for pathways. You can include impermeable hardscapes in your new landscape design, but they will not count towards your rebate. Examples of typical hardscapes include areas with concrete and impermeable walkways, patios and structures.

Make it easier: Take a FREE landscaping class on Zoom
BeWaterWise.com and WaterSmartSD.org are offering FREE classes via zoom. Register for either program. You can ask questions and learn how to transform your grass into a functional, sustainable and enjoyable landscape.

Sign up for a class at bewaterwise.com or watersmartsd.org

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