All in-person site visits are temporarily on hold in response to COVID-19. Water Conservation staff are doing our best to continue offering services during this time and are available for phone consultations.
Don't wait for the next drought.
Transform your lawn into a beautiful, sustainable landscape!
Enjoy a low-water use, environmentally beneficial garden that thrives year round and saves you time, water and money.
In your own words....
Submissions from our I ♥ My Garden Photo Challenge
"With a dying lawn in the drought and hard clay soil, It made sense to use sheet mulching to suppress weeds and improve the soil. Using drip irrigation, I planted low-water plants that are thriving. It's a real joy to see changing colors with the seasons and watch the butterflies and birds, not to mention never having to mow and edge an ugly lawn!" - Jan E in Walnut Creek
"By using EBMUD lawn conversion program, we were able to plant our long desired drought tolerant garden. Since planting, we have welcomed a new variety of wildlife to our garden, including lizards, hummingbirds, and beloved bees. We even planned and installed our own drip system to nourish the garden." - Valerie and Ivan in San Leandro
How much is our rebate?
- EBMUD offers a rebate of $0.75 per square foot of lawn converted
- Up to $2,000 (single-family and small multi-family homes) and $15,000 (commercial and large multi-family properties)
* Rebates can significantly lower the cost lawn conversion projects. Visit the Lawn to Garden Design Center to research ways to keep your project affordable.
- An existing lawn in place that is currently irrigated with a potable EBMUD water service. Rebates are not retroactive.
- Lawn has been actively maintained and irrigated (during non-drought years).
How to apply
- Step 1. Carefully review rebate application requirements and make sure you are eligible. If you are applying for both lawn conversion and irrigation equipment rebates, use the combined rebate application.
- Step 2. Send in an application to EBMUD Water Conservation. Including photos of existing lawn with your application is highly encouraged.
- Step 3. Wait for pre-approval before starting work.
After your application is approved
- Step 1. Convert your lawn, get started by visiting the Lawn to Garden Design Center.
- Step 2. After you complete your project, ask for a post-inspection before your six month deadline expires. Lawn conversion projects that are not completed within the six month deadline will be denied.
- Step 3. After the post inspection, the finalized rebate goes as a credit onto your water bill. For residential customers, rebates $600 or more in a single tax year require submittal of a W-9 form prior to payment.
Frequently asked questions
- Convert through sheet mulching to improve soil and plant health and reduce your yard waste.
- Or physical removal of lawn.
- A minimum of three inches of mulch is required in planted areas and over exposed soil (exceptions: cactus gardens, raised vegetable beds, etc). A 1-3 inch layer of compost is recommended.
- Permeable hardscape: any patios and walkways made with pavers or bricks should be set in a bed of sand, gravel, or decomposed granite, to allow water to pass through.
- Must cover a minimum of 50% of the converted area once fully grown.
- Must be climate-appropriate plants that require little to no irrigation once established.
- Sprinklers must be removed, capped or converted to drip (how to video).
- If installing drip, include a pressure regulator and filter installed per manufacturer's directions.
- Plants with different water requirements (e.g. established trees, vegetable gardens, drought-tolerant plants) are grouped on separate irrigation zones to ensure plants are not overwatered.
We put together a list of guiding questions to help you select a Landscape Contractor and/or Maintenance Gardener who is experienced with creating and maintaining water efficient landscapes.
No, the lawn conversion program is intended to provide an incentive to convert existing lawns and is not retroactive. Projects underway or completed prior to receiving EBMUD approval are not eligible.
|Low water plants||Moderate-high water use or invasive plants (examples)|
|Edibles (vegetables, fruit trees, herbs etc.)||Sod grass, including "no mow" grass|
|Permeable pathways or patios (includes pavers, flagstones and brick set on a bed of sand or decomposed granite). Examples of permeable hardscape include pavers and brick set on a bed of sand, where no mortar or grout has been used.||Non-permeable pathways or patios (pavers/flagstone/brick set in grout or mortar cement, or concrete)|
|Dry creeks, basins and swales for capturing rain (watershed approach)||Rocks or mulch without any plants|
|Using existing low water plants found elsewhere in your landscaping||Artificial turf|
|50% plant coverage or more||Less than 50% plant coverage|
|Cardboard or other biodegradable weed barriers||Plastic weed barriers|
|Convert sprinklers to drip||Keeping existing sprinklers|
All rebates that, individually or in combination, total $600 or more in a tax year require submittal of a W-9 form to the District prior to payment. All personal information provided within the W-9 is kept confidential in accordance with the Privacy Act.
If your total rebate amount is $600 or more, you will receive a 1099 form to comply with Internal Revenue Service requirements. The determination of whether your rebate is taxable or not may depend on several variables. You are recommended to contact your tax professional.
During any 24-month period, the combined rebate amount provided by EBMUD may not exceed $2,000 for residential and multi-family properties (4 units or less), and $15,000 for commercial and large residential properties. You may apply for an additional rebate amount after the 24-month period has elapsed.