Replace Lawn

Lawns are the biggest outdoor water user for many homes.  If you live in an area with scarce water resources, replacing your lawn can be one of the best ways to save precious water resources.  There are many great alternatives to lawns that can provide a wonderful outdoor environment for your home.

Households: 0 completed, 2 committed
Points ?
Annual Savings
$500 - $5,000
Upfront Cost
These are estimates

Energy and water savings

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kWh Electricity
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Therms Natural Gas
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Gallons Gas
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Gallons Water
  • Save precious water resources
  • Save money
  • New and beautiful yard!

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The Action
We will replace some or all of our lawn with drought tolerant alternatives.
Is this action for me?
If you own your home and have a yard, this action is for you!
When and Who?
This action can be done anytime. DIY? Maybe, depending on your comfort level with outdoor gardening projects. Using a professional landscaping company is also an option.
How long will it take?
Longer - time to plan your new yard, remove the lawn and install new irrigation and plants or hardscape.
What is the cost?
$2.00 - $10.00 per square foot or more, depending on the size of lawn removed and the replacement.


  • Save precious water resources

  • Save money

  • New and beautiful yard!



Receive up to a $2,000 rebate for removing your turf grass from CA Department of Water Resources


Find the best financing options for your energy efficiency project with Go Green Financing.

Find loan options for home energy & water upgrades through Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing


Receive free wood chips to make a sheet mulch project into reality.

Prevent Waste and Build Healthy Soil with Compost!

A comprehensive guide to the sheet mulch process, including discounts & rebates.


Learn how you can convert your existing garden into a water-efficient landscape. 

The Basics

Replacing 1,000 sq. ft. of lawn with drought tolerant plants can save up to 20,000 gallons of water a year or more. Even better, in the process you get a new beautiful yard! There are many beautiful alternatives to lawns that will provide an enjoyable environment for your home.


Plan a new yard!
Replace with native or drought tolerant plants
Consider gravel, pavers or other hardscape options
Add a sitting area or other use
Consider artificial grass

Reclaim your space

Lawns often take up considerable landscape space in our yards.  Many homeowners have realized that the only time they spend on their grass is when they’re out mowing it!  If we think about removing them, it opens up whole new possibilities of what we can do with the space!  Consider your lawn, both front and back, and think about all the ways you could use the space.

Some possibilities - an area for a table and chairs for eating or relaxing, a beautiful garden with more diversity of plants and trees, a vegetable garden, fruit trees or a rock or sculpture garden.  The possibilities are endless!  Think about what will be most enjoyable for your family and then start planning.  Even better, many cities offer big rebates for replacing your lawn with other low water options.  Check the resources section below for rebate information.

Go native

Replacing your lawn with native or drought tolerant plants that require little to no irrigation can be a huge water savings.  What are native plants?  Plants that grow naturally in the area so they are suited to grow with the natural rainfall as their only water supply.  For native plants, you might need to water them initially when you plant, but after that they are often ok to survive on regular rainfall.  There is one exception - many areas are seeing changes in rainfall amounts, so check with your local nursery or a landscape designer to choose plants that will be happy and healthy with any climate changes happening in your area.

The other option is to choose drought tolerant plants.  These are plants known to require very little water use, and they can greatly reduce irrigation needs.  Check with your local nursery or landscape designer to find the best native and drought tolerant plants for your area.  You can also check the Plant Hardiness Zone map as a guide for choosing plants.

Consider artificial grass

If having a lawn area is something important to your family, consider artificial turf as a lawn alternative.  Artificial turf offers a low-maintenance, weed-free playing surface that does not require fertilizer or water and is well-suited for normal recreational yard activities.  For the right applications, artificial turf provdes a safe place for children and pets to play.  It is also useful for families with grass allergies.

Although artificial turf offers special benefits, before making a decision consider the pros and cons of natural gardens and artificial turf.  Planting a water wise garden with drought tolerant or native plants promotes a healthy ecosystem by attracting beneficial insects and providing food and habitat for insects and birds.  It also prevents runoff, improves soil quality, reduces climate emissions and improves air quality.  Artificial turf needs to be manufactured and will eventually end up in a landfill.  Artificial turf is a great choice if turf grass is necessary, however, a natural garden is best if you have the option.

Water your lawn just enough

If swapping your lawn isn’t in the budget right now, there are still ways to maintain a grass lawn on significantly less water.  Lawns can still thrive on up to 50% less water than they often receive, as long as they are adequately watered once a week or so.  One way to allow lawns to conserve water is to adjust the amount they are normally mowed.  It’s much like human hair after a shower - the shorter the hair, the more quickly it dries. This applies to your lawn, too!  Avoid the crew cut and mow no more than a third of the leaf blade, or if possible mow less often, especially when it’s particularly dry out.  This will allow your lawn to hold to as much moisture as possible, avoiding those telltale yellow and brown patches.

If some areas are in dire need, tend to those particular spots with a watering can instead of reaching for the hose or turning the sprinklers on. Avoid watering during the day, as most of the moisture is likely to evaporate before it’s made an impact. Instead, water after sundown or early morning, allowing the lawn to fully benefit from the water.  Another way to go if you really want to keep your lawn is subsurface drip irrigation.  This is a big project, but if done right can really reduce water needed to maintain a lawn.

Water wisely

Find more information on how to save water outdoors, on our Water Wisely action.