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Drought Tolerant And Water-Wise Landscaping Rebate Programs

By Axis Fuksman-Kumpa August 31, 2021

Xeriscape Landscape Design Plan

If you live in California, Utah, parts of Texas, or almost any state in the western U.S., you’ve probably been thinking about ways to conserve water usage in your yard to make it more sustainable. As much of the country lives under severe drought conditions, local governments are looking for homeowners to be part of the solution, and they’re willing to pay for it!

Tilly’s design team has been helping homeowners with xeriscape design, cash for grass rebates, native plantings and other sustainable landscaping solutions. Here is some advice from our landscape designers on how to take advantage of these water-wise rebate programs and become part of the solution to your local water shortage.

Research Local Landscaping Rebate Programs

These will vary greatly from state to state, but some of the more common programs we’re seeing are “Cash for Grass,” where you are compensated for every square foot of grass that is replaced with more drought tolerant materials. Due to your grass lawn’s high water needs, some programs are offering $3,000+ for a more sustainable alternative.

Another popular rebate program is WaterSense certified irrigation controls, where you can offset the cost of replacing your traditional irrigation system with smart equipment that more closely manages water usage. For this we recommend checking out the company Rachio, which has their own app and is seeing 30-50% reductions in monthly outdoor water use by its homeowners. These programs are offering anywhere from $75 to $1000 for WaterSense irrigation upgrades which can often be combined with other rebates as well.

Many districts are also offering free consultations and even free equipment and materials. For example, Santa Barbara County is offering free mulch to homeowners as a way to slow evaporation and retain ground moisture in your garden beds.

PRO TIP: Read the fine print! Many programs have strict criteria for what qualifies and will often require a site visit to your home before and after the project to verify the net water savings. Others may restrict certain materials like artificial turf.

Make The Commitment To Go Water-Wise

While it may take some sacrifice and a shift in mindset, there are plenty of homeowner-friendly sustainable landscape design options that will work along with your local environment instead of against it. Grass lawn alternatives are growing in popularity, as well as xeriscape gardens and thoughtful hardscaping. Our designers also recommend grouping together plants with similar water needs to make irrigation more efficient.

If you still need some convincing, take a look at this stunning park strip in Utah that uses red creeping thyme as a sustainable alternative to grass.

PRO TIP: While you’re at it, think about planting native plants that support local pollinators like bees and butterflies, turning your yard into an extension of the surrounding ecosystem.

Hire A Professional For Help

For any major landscape transition, it’s best to hire a professional to create a plan. Many of these rebate programs will include your landscape design fees as a qualified expense toward a more drought tolerant yard. And even if not, it's well worth the investment! A professional plan will not only help you meet the necessary criteria for your local rebate program, but their expertise will help reduce your water bill and ensure you still have a space that is functional and that you love!

PRO TIP: Share your local guidelines with your Tilly designer to give yourself the best chance of qualifying for a rebate.

Get started with a drought tolerant design today!

Xeriscape Backyard
Texas Xeriscape Plan

Xeriscape Landscape Design Plan
Arizona Xeriscape Plan

Florida Xeriscape Plan

Arizona Xeriscape Plan

California Xeriscape Plan

Additional Resources:

Denver Water Org Water Wise Landscape Handbook

Be Water Wise California Native Plants

Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, CA Friendly Landscaping in Los Angeles

Sunset Magazine Water-Wise Garden Design Guide

Utah Localscapes Climate Guide

Water Use Classification of Landscape Species Plant Search Database

Read more about: Gardening Tips