Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

LADWP Turf Rebates are Back

A new front garden was created using the last round of LADWP turf removal rebates. All the turf was removed and replaced with California Friendly® plants.

If you are interested in removing some or all of your lawn, the LADWP (once again) wants to help you trade your grass for cash. But this year they also want to help change the way we think about landscaping around our homes.

The latest rebate program is called the California Friendly® Landscape Incentive Program and it’s being administered by the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) on behalf of their dozens of member agencies, including LADWP, which services the City of Los Angeles.  A registered trademark, California Friendly® refers to landscaping that is sustainable over the long term. It’s not just about ripping out grass but creating and maintaining sustainable and livable landscapes going forward.

The objectives of the new program are more defined and worth noting:

  • California Friendly® plants, including native species, appropriate for the Los Angeles climate
  • Mulch and other groundcover to help retain moisture in the soil
  • A rain capturing feature like a rain garden, rain barrel, cistern, infiltration trench, or vegetated swale
  • Drip irrigation (as needed)

You have to go online and create account to get started, but even before you do, you will want to review the terms and agreements. Thankfully, there’s no more cash for artificial turf or yards of rocks.

Below are the criteria for getting a rebate, according to the SoCal Water $mart website.  For your application to be eligible for a rebate you should make sure you’ve met/done the following:

  • All sprinklers have been capped, removed or converted to drip irrigation.
  • All turf has been removed in the project area and covered with weed barrier material.
  • The project has a rain capturing feature—a rain garden, rain barrel, cistern, infiltration trench, vegetated swale, or retention pond.
  • At maturity, the California Friendly® plants will fill in 50 percent of the project area.
  • At least three inches of mulch surround the plants and cover all exposed soil.
  • Only 25 percent or less of the project area is covered with non-vegetated material like pavers, gravel, decomposed granite, etc.
  • No artificial turf is installed.
  • All exposed soil is covered with permeable weed barrier, preferably organic, and at least a three-inch layer of mulch.
  • No invasive plants have been included the project area.
  • If the project includes a parkway, the California Friendly® plants will fill in 80 percent of the parkway project area. Be sure you meet all requirements for parkway landscaping. Visit for more information.

There’s lots of information and information on the Metropolitan Water District’s website,  the MWD’s portal for water conservation rebates and grants, landscape classes, water-wise garden inspiration and tons of helpful how-to tips.  You can also find out more about California Friendly landscaping at

The Buzz is very interested in this topic, too, and in the near future, we will provide more features on local gardens as we all try to reduce water usage but still have lovely gardens, with more plants and less lawn for our historic homes.

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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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