Incentive Available for Sustainable Landscape Projects

Sustainable landscapes mean the environment benefits
October 19, 2016

The San Diego Sustainable Landscapes Program partnership is offering a new grant-funded financial incentive for qualified participants who upgrade residential turf lawns to landscapes that provide multiple environmental benefits.

Incentive recipients are required to comply with a set of rigorous design criteria that includes water-efficient plants and irrigation equipment, rainwater capture and detention features, and soil amendments to improve water efficiency. Qualified applicants can receive up to $1.75 per square foot toward eligible project costs for upgrading 500 to 3,000 square feet of existing turf areas. 

Funding for incentives is limited, and will be reserved for completed and approved applications on a first-come, first-served basis. Those interested in participating must be ratepayers within the service areas of the San Diego County Water Authority or the California American Water Co., and must not remove their turf grass before receiving an official “Notice to Proceed” from the program. For additional information about eligibility requirements and how to apply go to

These incentives are a pilot project of the Sustainable Landscapes Program, which helps homeowners transform their landscapes into beautiful, climate-appropriate mini-watersheds that not only save water, but achieve additional benefits such as reducing stormwater runoff and lessening green waste. Incentive program participants must follow a detailed set of environmentally friendly landscaping practices to ensure their projects achieve this heightened level of sustainability and qualify for the rebate.

For more information on the Sustainable Landscapes Program, visit

Key Requirements for Participants Seeking Sustainable Landscapes Program (SLP) Incentives
  • Existing natural turf area – The proposed project area must currently have natural turf grass. Brown or dead turf is acceptable.
  • 500-3,000 square feet – The turf area to be replaced must be at least 500 square feet. The maximum turf area eligible for a rebate is 3,000 square feet.
  • Existing irrigation system – The proposed project area must currently have an operational, in-ground irrigation system.
  • Site inspections – A pre-conversion site inspection is mandatory to verify that proposed sites meet the physical requirements. Selected properties may be subject to post-conversion site inspections for compliance verification.
  • Rainwater capture – A project goal is to capture the first flush of rain onsite (one inch of rain within the first 24 hours of rainfall). Participants will be required to calculate the amount of rainwater captured from onsite impermeable surfaces and the volume of detention areas capturing rainwater, such as swales or rain barrels.
  • Eligibility Restrictions – Converted turf areas may not include artificial turf, other turf-like grasses or invasive species. Sites using recycled or well water for irrigation and sites that are hand-watered due to the lack of an irrigation system are not eligible.
  • Eligibility of prior rebate recipients – If a program applicant has previously participated in a turf replacement rebate program and wishes to upgrade an additional space, the area of the previous turf replacement may be deducted from the SLP’s allowable 3,000 square feet of incentivized upgrades. The remaining project area would be eligible to receive an SLP incentive.

For a list of SLP incentive program requirements, go to