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Lawn Removal Rebates

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Check In. Dig In. Cash In.

In observance of the County Shelter-in-Place order, Water Conservation staff have temporarily eliminated all inspection activity. Accordingly, we have developed an alternative to the required pre-site inspection. Completion of the alternative method will initiate rebate eligibility for your pending lawn conversion project. Please see the following steps for details
1. Photograph the lawn area that is identified for conversion
2. Provide verification of your in-ground spray irrigation system by photographing your sprinkler heads or irrigation valve(s).
3. Email the lawn and irrigation system photos to Please include your name, property address, contact number, and a brief description of the location of the area that is identified for conversion.
4. Upon receipt of the requested information, you will receive an email confirmation of rebate eligibility for your project.



City of Santa Cruz Rebate : $1.00 per square foot of lawn removed

Up to $1,000 for Single Family Residential Customers
Up to $5,000 for Multi-Family and Commercial Customers

Remove your water thirsty-lawn and enjoy...
 - savings on your utility bill
 - an updated, attractive landscape
 - less maintenance


Check In.
cell phone
Read the Eligibility Requirements and FAQs. Lawns must still be in place and be irrigated by an in-ground irrigation system. Before removing ANY lawn, call the Water Conservation Office at 831-420-5230 to set up a pre-approval site visit. We'll verify your project meets the rebate requirements, take a measurement, and a photo. Lawn that has already been removed is NOT eligible for a rebate.
 Dig In.
shovel in grass
Once approved, convert your lawn to a low-water use permeable landscape.
 Cash In.
money in hand
When your project is completed call us for a final site visit, submit your Lawn Rebate Application and receive a rebate check.


 Qualifying Landscape Conversions

  • Climate appropriate plants that require little or no supplemental irrigation (very low and low water use plants). See plant ideas below.
  • Permeable hardscape such as pavers, bricks, or flagstone set in sand, gravel, or decomposed granite areas that allows water to pass through and be absorbed on site.
  • If the converted area will use an irrigation system, only low volume drip systems are allowed.
  • All planted areas must have at least a two-inch layer of mulch.







Non-Qualifying Landscape Conversions

  • Plants that require regular supplemental irrigation and are not adapted to a summer-dry climate (medium and high water use plants).
  • Impermeable surfaces such as concrete or flagstone mortared into place.
  • Overhead sprinkler systems.



Before and After Photos
Take a look at some of the gardens our lawn removal rebate customers have installed.

lawn before    garden after


Landscape Conversion Photos
See two gardens with step by step photos of the landscape conversion process.

fairmount house   

baker street welcome


Common Methods for Removing Lawn
Cover with mulch  
    Sheet Mulching 
    Turf Bustin'
Strip and flip using a sod cutter
Hand dig 



Design and Installation Assistance - List of landscape designers and contractors

Planting Ideas
Very Low and Low Water Use Plant List - List of plants that require minimal water
Water-Smart Gardening in Santa Cruz County - Features local gardens and a plant database
Lose the Lawn: 21 Inspiring Yards - 21 lawn-free yards from Sunset magazine
Customer Gardens - View gardens from our lawn removal rebate customers
Water Use Classification of Landscape Species (WUCOLS) - List includes low and very low water use plants

Mulch and Wood Chip Resources
Organic Materials Exchange
Santa Cruz Resource Recovery on Dimeo Lane
Vision Recycling

Keeping Stormwater Runoff on Site
Slow It. Spread It. Sink It.
City's Stormwater Best Management Practices

lawn before

after garden

lavendar walkway


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