Water wise landscaping help

Water Wise home.jpg

Converting yards into drought-resistant landscapes is one of the most effective steps homeowners can take to save water and beautify their home.

You can also get rebate assistance when you remove turf or install subsurface drip irrigation as part of the process. 

Check out the resources below to help you get started on your plan and take care of your new landscape while saving time, money and water.

Call DigAlert before you start!

Buried utilities can exist just about anywhere on your property, so it’s important to call DigAlert before you start digging on a landscape remodel project in your parkway.

DigAlert can help you prevent damage to underground utilities and avoid service interruptions one of two ways:

This is a 100% free service and required by law anytime you dig. 

Classes to help plan a drought-tolerant landscaping

The Water Replenishment District's free Eco Gardener program offers a number of free workshops and information to help you plan your landscaping to save water.

 Topics include:

  • Edible Gardening
  • Irrigation basics
  • Drought tolerant plants
  • Sustainable landscape design

Currently, classes are available virtually either on-demand or in a 'live' webinar option. The on-demand classes are accessible anytime using the link you get when you RSVP.

The live webinar class has a set date and time, and is led by an instructor who can answer your questions. 

Look for some helpful video tutorials as well, such as how to convert your overhead spray irrigation to drip irrigation.

Learn more about the WRD's EcoGardener program offerings.

You can also call/email Monica Serrano with questions at mserrano@wrd.org or 562-275-4234.

Drip irrigation information

Subsurface irrigation is placing a specialized type of drip line about six inches underground. This method slowly applies small volumes of water right near the root zone of plants, avoiding the wasted water runoff and evaporation typical of spray irrigation methods.  

The installation of “subsurface irrigation” systems can reduce landscape watering needs up to 25 percent!

You can use it with grass, shrubs and groundcover areas. 

Grasscycling for a healthy, low-water use lawn

Grasscycling (or mulch-mowing) is a simple approach to lawn care that saves water, time and space in landfills. And, it's very good for your lawn!

Unfortunately, many people treat their lawns like a "crop." They over-water and over-fertilize their lawns for maximum growth. Sadly, the resulting crop just gets mowed and fills up our landfills. 

The idea behind grasscycling is to let clippings fall where they do so they can release nitrogen, and reduce the need for watering, which decreases the incidence of fungal disease like rust and leaf spot.

Grasscycling does not contribute to thatch build up and saves you time. As the clippings break down, they fertilize the lawn, minimizing the need for excess nutrients. Clippings can provide 15 to 20 percent of a lawn’s food needs. This makes for a healthier turf that is thick and leaves no room for pesky weeds. 

It's simple, natural and it works. 

How to do it:

Your mower blades should be sharp, and mowing should be frequent. That avoids buildup of excess clippings that will take too long to compost and can cause a smelly mess on top of the grass.

Don't cut more than one third of each blade. The best length is 2 to 2 ½ inches (5-6 cm.). Grasscycling information recommends mowing every five to seven days to produce clippings that compost into the lawn quickly.

Try to mow when grass blades are dry. This enhances your mower’s ability to chop the leaves, causes less stress to the grass, and prevents clumps. Avoid scalping the lawn and mow at the correct height for your grass species. In summer, grass should be left a little longer to avoid moisture stress. If it has been too wet to mow frequently, run over the long clippings an extra time and rake them into the root zone of the lawn. Blow or sweep clippings off non-porous, inorganic surfaces like sidewalks to avoid them washing into waterways. 

Photos and sample plans of creative water-wise landscaping

See examples of Lakewood Beautiful water-wise homes(PDF, 9MB) using efficient irrigation and drought-tolerant landscaping.

Watch this CityTV video on gardening tips and design ideas. Practical and cost-conscious water-saving landscapes and vegetable gardening options along with the use of water rebates are discussed.

Some good information can be gleaned from our neighbors at the Long Beach Water Department.

Below are six designs created by a local landscape designer. They can help homeowners formulate yard plans that deal well with our semi-arid climate, and allow for flexibility of plant selection. If the plan calls for one type of sage, you can substitute just about any of the many species of sage that are available. 

Water Wise Landscape Plan 1(PDF, 965KB)

Water Wise Landscape Plan 2(PDF, 820KB)

Water Wise Landscape Plan 3(PDF, 886KB)

Water Wise Landscape Plan 4(PDF, 1MB)

Water Wise Landscape Plan 5(PDF, 642KB)

Water Wise Landscape Plan 6(PDF, 749KB)    

Rebates for turf removal

If you're thinking about removing all or part of your lawn to install a drought-tolerant landscape, you may qualify for some rebates to help pay for it. 

Check the information below to find out about water-saving rebate programs available to you. 

Metropolitan Water District turf removal rebates

The MWD will offer a rebate of $1 per square foot of turf removal, up to 1,500 square feet for residents and up to 10,000 square feet for businesses.

Information on the program and how to apply is at the Be Water Wise website.

Your application must include a landscape plan, a watershed approach, efficient irrigation, a certain number of water saving plants and mulch coverage. Synthetic turf is prohibited. Rebates and incentives are issued on a first-come, first-served basis until funding is exhausted and past participation may limit eligibility. 

Need help getting ready for turf replacement? Check out the free classes to get you started.

Lakewood's Turf Removal and Subsurface Irrigation Rebate Programs

The Lakewood City Council allocated $25,000 to fund residential turf rebate projects for City of Lakewood water customers. (Golden State Water customers should contact 800-999-4033 to check for available rebates.)

All applications must be pre-approved with a water account in good standing prior to starting your project. Review and print the complete Water Rebate Packet, which includes program requirements, pre-applications, and information on device rebates(PDF, 765KB).

Water customers may also participate in Metropolitan Water District’s landscape rebate project, while funds last.