WaterSmart plants

Whether you're converting your grass to a new water wise garden or simply looking to add color to an existing one, we've got the plant for you!

Create a plant list

Are you applying for a lawn conversion rebate?  The plants from the lists below all qualify. Avoid common mistakes by reviewing our "Do Not Plant" list.

Orange Flower

Top EBMUD Low-Water Use Plants  

Our favorite plants hand-picked by EBMUD LAC for their ease and success. (Print PDF or Interactive Top 40 and Top 100). Filter by "Area" to see native plants for the super rebate.

Sticky monkey flower

Easy and Local Native Plants  

We narrowed down the list to local native plants that are easier to start and  low-water use, using the Calscape plant search tool.  You can customize the search for your city and garden needs.

UC Davis Arboretum All-Stars

100 "All Stars" were field-tested by UC Davis Arboretum and found to thrive even under difficult growing conditions.

Outstanding Plants for Alameda County

Master Gardeners highlighted these beautiful plants that perform well, attract wildlife, and reduce the need for pesticides.

Bay-Friendly Plant Lists

Download a Bay-Friendly Plant List for your specific needs: lawn alternatives, butterfly plants, hedges, plants that don't need shearing, and more.

EBMUD Plant Book

Let EBMUD's award-winning plant book inspire you! Order a copy here or from a local bookstore.

Free designs

Native Planting Guide and Design  

Starting a native plant garden doesn’t have to be complicated. This easy guide takes the guesswork out of which plants to use where. (Printer friendly version here).

Landscape Design Templates

Eight contemporary front yard plans are available for various styles, and can be scaled for landscapes up to 2,500 square feet.  Templates are courtesy of the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership. 

Calscape Garden Planner  

Find the perfect native plants for your garden and designs to fit your landscaping style. Want to attract butterflies or avoid deer? Need HOA friendly designs? Plants are customized based on your zip code.

Gardens for San Lorenzo Book

You don't need to live in San Lorenzo to use this book: it includes four garden design for various lot types, illustrations, plant lists, estimated costs, and how-to guidance.

Nearby nurseries with low-water plants

Some of the greatest nurseries in the world are just down the street. Below is a list of local nurseries with dedicated low-water use plant sections. If we are missing your nursery, please let us know!  Also visit Stop Waste to check out Bay-Friendly Partner Nurseries and nurseries featuring California native plants.

Research tools

How much water will your plant require? What will grow best in your site?  Use these great databases to find the perfect plant and learn about estimated water requirements.

Calscape - Search for California native plants

Quickly identify low-water use plants native to your location, use advanced search to narrow results based on your garden conditions, and filter by local nurseries! Exportable results.

How Much Water? (WUCOLS)

Discover the water needs of your plants, or make a list of low-water use plants in the WUCOLS database. The database catalogs over 3,500 plants commonly found in California landscapes.


WaterWonk is another way to search WUCOLS for the water needs for any of your plants. You can also find plants that need no summer water, and create plant lists that can be saved, printed or downloaded.


Click on the map, and search for low-water use or shade plants. Calflora uses soil, climate, and elevation factors to generate a complete planting list for you. Exportable results.

Plants to avoid

Some plants aggressively spread beyond the garden and into neighboring open spaces, negatively impacting the local ecosystem.  Learn what to avoid, and what to plant instead!

Lawn conversion applicants: Avoid common mistakes by reviewing our "Do Not Plant" list.  

Plantright Mexican Feathergrass.jpg

Invasive Garden Plants and Alternatives

Plants may be invasive in some regions of California, and not invasive in others. Use this map and list to identify the best choices based on where you live. 

Don't plant a pest, plant this instead! 

Find beautiful and hardy alternatives to common invasive plants in the Bay Area. This list is updated regularly by the California Invasive Plant Council.