As a homeowner, there are several programs available to help you turn your turf into desert landscape for the purpose of conserving water, adding beauty, and keeping neighborhoods in compliance with local ordinances. More and more studies show that neighborhoods which maintain the appearance of their properties typically have higher property values and lower crime.
One of the main barriers to installing desert landscape is money, or upfront money. Those on a fixed income may not have hundreds or even thousands of dollars to replace a lawn with decorative rock, cacti, and/or desert flora. However, there are several programs available to help with this hurdle.
First, is the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program available to homeowners who have more than 15% equity in their properties. PACE places a tax assessment on the property for up to 20 years to finance the landscape and water conserving improvements. The property owner repays the assessment over the given time. The PACE program funds 100% of the improvement costs without any upfront money from the homeowner or consideration of the homeowner’s FICO score. Many homeowners have taken advantage of the PACE program for solar projects, but the program is also available for desert landscape improvements that conserve water. More information is available at https://www.renovateamerica.com/home-improvement/landscaping and https://ygrene.com/landscaping-improvements.
There are also several rebate programs available for turning grass into desert landscape. These rebates are available whether you pay out of pocket or finance the improvements. They include:
- Cathedral City’s Watersmart Landscape Grant Program that offers up to $500 in rebates. More information is available at http://www.cathedralcity.gov/home/showdocument?id=4120
- Coachella Valley Water District has a rebate program that provides $2 per square foot up to 10,000 square feet. More information is available at http://cvwd.org/380/Landscape-Rebates#ResidentialLandscape
- Desert Water Agency offers a turf to desert landscape rebate of $1 per square foot. More information is available at https://dwa.org/conservation/rebates-incentives/turf-buy-back.
These programs may not last forever, so now may be the perfect time to take advantage and improve the aesthetics of your property and neighborhood – all while conserving water and energy.