If you are interested in lawn replacement and going California-friendly in your garden but don’t know where to start, here we offer you a guide on xeriscaping, how to apply for a rebate program and get cash for your grass.

Namely, the Waterworks Districts offer customers a rebate for removing water-inefficient grass with drought-tolerant landscaping. The Rebate Program is designed to assist customers with the reduction of their overall water consumption.

How To Know If You Are Eligible For A Rebate?

The MWD, or the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (a water ‘wholesaler’ that provides the water tof 26 city & agency water departments – including LADWP and others) has created an application form on their website to let you know if you qualify for the rebate. You can also enter the square footage of your project for an estimate of the amount of the rebate, depending on the rate available from your water agency or city and the size of your project.

Here you can find the application form.

What you need to know is that the program lasts as long as funding is available. And since the funding is limited, applications will be processed on a first-come, first serve basis.

You have to have your replacement project approved by the MWD before starting to work on it. LADWP has re-launched the Turf Replacement Program so you will need to fill out this online application form and submit five photos of the turf you plan on removing as well as a copy of a recent water bill. If you don’t qualify, check with your local water agency to see if it has its own program.

Once submitted, application pre-approval is required, after which you can start removing your lawns and replacing them with drought-friendly plants. Due to the popularity of the program, receiving pre-approval for your conversion project will take 2 to 4 months. Note that conversion projects that have been completed are not eligible for the rebate.

What about artificial turf?

If you plan on replacing your real turf with artificial you need to check your city’s rules. The MWD has no problem with artificial turf, but some cities ban it. For example, Glendale prohibits its use completely in some areas, and in others, it can only be used in the backyard, out of public view. Pasadena among the others also does not allow artificially made turf.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Rebate Check?

The rebates arrive in about 4 months after the post-inspection has been completed.

What Are The Options For Replacement?

Lavender, rosemary, salvia, and succulents are some of the most popular replacement plants. Also, you can search for more drought-friendly plants as well as knowledge on how to successfully plant them and take care of them here.

There are also landscaping workshops that are held twice a month for which you can apply here, and this is their schedule:

Classes are held from 9:00 a.m. to 12 p.m. unless otherwise indicated and are geared toward residential customers. Class space is limited so please reserve by emailing waterconservation@ladwp.com or calling (800) 544-4498 and press option #5. Please provide your name, the date of the class you want to attend; LADWP service address, phone number, and the name of the guest. The parking is free.

How Soon Does A Project Need To Be Completed?

The MWD allows 120 days. If you need more time, many agencies, including LADWP, allow for extensions. However, we do advise to talk to your landscaper, or do some research, so you can be realistic about how long it will take.

Water Saving Tips For Your Garden:

  • Water between sunset and sunrise when temperatures and the wind are the lowest.

Watering during the middle of the day can result in a 30% increase in required water due to evaporation and wind. Midday watering may even damage your plants. To decrease water loss from midday watering, LADWP’s water conservation ordinance requires residents to water before 9:00 am or after 4:00 pm.

  • Group plants with similar watering needs in the same area.

Different areas of your landscape have various water requirements. The same sprinkling schedule usually won’t work for your entire landscape. Sunny areas need more water than areas in the shade, each plant has its own specific watering need and different sprinkler types apply water at varying rates.

  • Mulching and adding compost to soil can minimize evaporation and help soil absorb and store water.

Mulch is any material spread over the soil surface to retain soil moisture, moderate soil temperature, and/or suppress weed growth. Mulches can be either organic or inorganic. Organic mulches include things like compost, grass clippings, straw, aged animal manure, pine needles, leaves, bark, and wood chips. These materials can improve water absorption, add nutrients to the soil as they break down, insulate soil in winter, the cool soil in summer, help prevent soil compaction, help prevent erosion, and suppress weed growth.  Inorganic mulches include rocks, gravel, or sheeting. While these materials can suppress weeds and lessen erosion, inorganic mulches can also absorb and re-radiate the sun’s heat. This can actually increase the amount of water that surrounding plants need.

  • Soil improvement

Soil improvement is very important for water efficient landscaping. Clay absorbs water so slowly that the water will run off if applied too quickly. Sandy soils absorb water quickly but do not have a good “holding capacity” (water available to plants). You should consider working generous amounts of organic soil amendments (such as compost) deeply into the soil before planting or lawn renovations.

  • Adjust sprinklers to avoid watering sidewalks and driveways.
  • Be sure to fix all leaks promptly no matter how small they may seem.

Even a small leak can waste hundreds of gallons of water. Once a month run your system in a manual mode to check for leaks or breaks. This helps protect against plant loss and offers a simple way to conserve water.

Here you can find more information on creating a drought-friendly garden, good grass-replacement plants and how to save more money in the long run. Another useful tool is the Watering Calculator where you can schedule your watering based on the type of soil you have and plants you have planted.


If you’d like more information on the San Fernando Valley or Los Angeles, or to have help looking for your next home, please feel free to reach out! I’m happy to help, no obligation.

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