Current Drought conditions mean even more water will need to be used for your high-water use lawn to remain healthy. If you have been thinking about transforming your lawn into a desert friendly xeriscape there is no better time to do it than right now! These types of landscapes are more resilient to climate variability and can provide for up to 30% in water savings or more. Rebates of $1.00 per square foot are available for our residential customers. Certain restrictions apply, and your plans must be approved in advance by Water Authority staff so don’t start removing your lawn until you have submitted an application and contacted the inspector. Learn about our Xeriscape rebate here and get the link to the application portal.

Our expert staff can provide advice and free resources on how to start your beautiful xeriscape transformation. If your application is approved an inspection will be scheduled to verify that your grass type is considered high water use and has sprinkler irrigation. The grass must be currently cared for at the time of the inspection to qualify for the rebate. The  inspection is a great opportunity to ask questions and get opinions from our xeriscape expert on various aspects of transformation projects such as plant selection, irrigation conversion and tips for saving money by doing it yourself or hiring a professional landscaper.

To remove your lawn we recommend using a sod cutter because it’s a fast and effective, chemical-free method to remove your lawn.  Many local equipment rental companies rent sod cutters. Approved participants of the xeriscape conversion rebate program may receive 25% up to $100 in rebate off the cost of renting equipment like a sodcutter or skidsteer for removing grass. Before removing the lawn, make sure the soil is not too wet or too dry. Set the cutting blade depth at the shallowest setting necessary on the sod cutter to help retain as much valuable soil on site as possible. The removed sod should be recycled at one of our local composting facilities. One advantage of using a sod cutter is that it is chemical-free, fast, and you can continue with the next step of your project on that same day.

Please note: This method is not recommended for lawns that have mature trees. Sod cutters can damage shallow, fine-hair feeder roots that are critical for water and air uptake.  Sod cutters are also not recommended for lawns with Bermuda grass due to the nature of its rooting system. For these cases you might want to consider herbicides. Take advantage of our free ask an expert email service if you have questions about what type of lawn you have or any other questions about xeriscape transformations.

Additionally, xeriscape rebate participants get 25% off the cost of installing bulk organic mulch up to $100. Not only is organic mulch such as shredded wood chips, aesthetically appealing, it provides numerous other benefits. Mulch increases moisture retention in the soil, encourages healthy root establishment, and greatly reduces weeds. A 3”-4” thick layer of organic mulch and drip irrigation are two of the best tools we have for keeping our landscapes healthy and resilient in times of drought.

Check out the Desert Friendly Xeriscape Rebate page to learn more about the qualifications, requirements and process to apply for this generous rebate. You may also contact our xeriscape specialist Amos Arber, at  or 505-208-2015

Author: Amos Arber, Xeriscape Incentive Inspector, and Certified Arborist for the Water Conservation Department of the Water Authority. Have a question about the article?