?Hey, you! Do you live in California? Do you have a lawn that you’re feeling inspired to remove – to replace with natives, drought tolerant perennials, and edibles? Did you know that you could get paid by the state and other local agencies to do so? That’s right!
We are getting a check for $500 from our city Public Works department this week; $1 per square foot of grass we removed, helping to offset the cost of our project! If I had done my research better, we could have gotten double that. See, I was mistakenly led to believe that our local grass removal rebate program was an extension of the one provided by the state, just administered locally, so we only worked with our local city folks. Turns out you can actually get $2 per square foot from the state directly! Also, you can apply for BOTH programs, local and state, but your combined max rebate will be $2 per square foot (with a $2k cap) – meaning we could have still gone through the city and then gone to the state for another $1 per. Unfortunately we didn’t realize this little detail until the project was already completed, making us ineligible for further funding.
Here is the deal: You have to apply BEFORE you start the lawn removal because they want to verify the before and after; we had before and after inspections. Both front and back yards count! The programs have stipulations such as: all sprinklers must be converted to drip, you must include a certain percentage of plants and not simply gravel the whole yard or something, the plants must be drought tolerant, etc. with an exception for edibles; they don’t have to be drought-tolerant. We included a few blueberry bushes and herbs in this recent project but no raised beds, so I’m honestly not sure what their policy is on those. You’ll have to call and see.
Check in with your city/county water agencies, public works, etc, and then google “California Turf Removal Rebate Program” and the first hit is the Department of Water Resources/Save Our Water website for the state program. I’m sure some other arid states have similar programs. Look into it! Money was definitely not the motivation for this project, but it is a nice little cherry on top! ???