Turf Removal Rebate & Drought Friendly Landscape

Just weeks after Gov. Jerry Brown called for the removal 50 million square feet of lawn in California, water agencies say that they are well on their way to meeting the goal.

Since July 1, 2015 the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has paid over $34 million in turf removal rebates. It has given the go-ahead to an additional $120 million in turf removal applications. The agency offers a rebate of $2 per square foot, which many cities have supplemented with their own rebate programs. The MWD provides water to the Calleguas Municipal Water District, among others around Southern California, which includes the following cities in Ventura and West LA Counties:

Turf Removal Rebate

Drought Friendly Landscape in Ventura

Camarillo Heights
Lake Sherwood
Las Posas Valley
Naval Base Ventura County
Newbury Park
Oak Park
Port Hueneme
Simi Valley
Santa Rosa Valley
Thousand Oaks

Santa Barbara County also offers what they call the “Smart Landscape Rebate Program”

The Smart Landscape Rebate Program offers rebates on approved irrigation equipment and landscape materials including:

Irrigation Equipment, Water-Wise Plants, Mulch, and Permeable surfaces, Smart Irrigation Controllers, and Pool Covers.  Any combination of irrigation equipment and planting costs may qualify for a one-time rebate of up to $1,000 for single family homes and up to $2,000 per account serving irrigated area ($4,000 per site) for commercial, multi-family, and HOAs. Projects must be approved in advance and landscapes for new construction are not eligible. Sales receipts and/or contractor invoices are required for all rebates. Rebates are not retroactive. See more info here: http://www.sbwater.org/landscape.aspx?id=446

Turf Removal Rebate

Drought Friendly Landscape in Camarillo


Interested in lawn replacement but don’t know where to start? Here are some tips:

How do I know if I’m eligible for a rebate?

The MWD has created a tool on its website to let you know if you qualify. 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. Click here to estimate your rebate: http://socalwatersmart.com/index.php/qualifyingproducts/turfremoval?p=res

Or Scarlett’s Landscape can do ti for you. Call or email us right away and we’ll do it for you! (805)642-3002

(If you don’t qualify, check with your local water agency to see if it has its own program.)

Turf Removal Rebate

Drought Friendly Landscape in Westlake

The next step is figuring out if your lawn meets specifications. First, you must have live grass in your yard. Homeowners who let their turf die off are not eligible.

This may change. In January, the Los Angeles City Council’s Energy and Environment Committee approved a motion urging the full council to change that requirement to include homeowners with dead or dying lawns.

The MWD has to approve any replacement project before it begins. You will need to fill out an online application and submit five photos of the turf you plan on removing as well as a copy of a recent water bill. Approval takes about two weeks. We can help you with that as well. Call Scarlett’s Landscape or email us today!

Most programs allow only one rebate per property, even if you remove more grass later.

Turf Removal Rebate

Drought Friendly Landscape in Oxnard

How long will these programs last?

That remains to be seen. Mark Gentili, a DWP water conservation supervisor, said the program is “geared to be supported to the end of the fiscal year.”

What are my options for replacement?

Most programs require drought-friendly plants. The MWD has an online resource that allows users to browse images of renovated lawns, learn about plant types and find local nurseries. Scarlett’s landscape has completed 100s of these projects, many of which you can see on our Portfolio page, Facebook page and Instagram page. We can also send you a list of projects to drive by or clients to contact. Just call us and ask!

Turf Removal Rebate

Drought friendly landscape in Thousand Oaks

Turf Removal Rebate

Drought Friendly Landscape in CarpinteriaLavender, rosemary, salvia and succulents are some of the most popular replacement plants.

Artificial Turf

Artificial Turf and Drought Friendly Landscape at Point Mugu Naval Base

What about artificial turf?

Check your city’s rules. The MWD has no problem with artificial turf, but some cities ban it. Glendale prohibits its use completely in some areas, and in others it can only be used in the backyard, out of public view. Pasadena also does not allow it. Scarlett’s Landscape is highly experienced in artificial turf install.

How much money will I get in return?

That depends on your water agency. The DWP offers residential customers $1.75 per square foot for the first 1,500 square feet, in addition to the MWD’s $2 rebate.

Some cities, such as Pasadena, do not supplement MWD’s payout.

Santa Monica residents, who are not eligible for MWD’s rebate, can receive $3.50 per square foot but only up to $4,500 per property, or 1,285 square feet.

How soon must I complete the project?

The MWD allows 120 days. If you need more time, many agencies, including the DWP, allow for extensions.

The service can take 2 days for smaller projects or could take weeks, depending on the size of the yard and the complexity of the design.

Talk to your landscaper, or do some research, so you can be realistic about how long it will take.

How much does it cost?

Price depends on the size of the yard, landscape design and ease of access (for example, a home on a hillside may cost more than a level lot).

For a yard of about 2,000 square feet, lawn replacement can cost about $6,000, or $3 per square foot, which includes removal, installation and irrigation. That means depending on the size of your lawn, a project could cost $2,000 to more than $10,000.

How do I claim my rebate?

MWD customers need to upload five color photos of their new yard and a copy of their water bill. They also have the option of signing the rebate over directly to their contractor so little if any money has to change hands depending on the size of the project.

It can take up to 10 weeks for the rebate to arrive. During that time, an MWD contractor will inspect the finished product. If any disqualifications are found the agencies can generally work with customers to allow them to fix problems and receive another review.

Once it is approved by the MWD, your local water agency usually does an inspection and has the final say.

Category : Blog &Landscape Blog


  1. Jennifer
    1 year ago

    Is Ventura qualify yet? I’m ready to do this asap. Contact me please.


  2. Donna Hess
    1 year ago

    I am interested in getting an estimate for lawn replacement.


  3. gary buttner
    1 year ago

    what if i want to landscape,and do removal myself as the homeowner


  4. Susan murphy
    1 year ago

    Please contact me for a quote for my backyard. Thanks.


  5. Gig Specht
    1 year ago

    Interested in conversation part of my lawn


  6. Rosalie Bergman
    1 year ago

    I would like to have a landscape company to come and give me an estimate on my backyard. I want plants that are drought resistant and some turf as well. We have about 1500 square feet in the backyard. I have taken pictures of what it looks like now. My gardner is killing the wild grass now since I took the pictures. I also have had gophers in the backyard as well that I want to get rid of. I will be putting in a drip system for my plants around the yard and have already cleared off my slope planted 45 years ago and replanted and put in new sprinkler system as well. All is on a new timer too.


  7. Zachary Tomlinson
    1 month ago

    You made a good point that it’s important to know what rebate programs are offered in your area. I’m interested in the turf removal rebates in California right now. I think it’s a smart program that will help everyone in the long-run.


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