Pasadena Water & Power

Turf Removal Program


Apply for a Rebate
Program Overview  
Program Rules 
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Inspiration for your Project  

Lawns typically use 50 percent more water than other plants. That's why more and more Pasadenans (like the resident featured in the before and after pictures on the right) are replacing their thirsty lawns with colorful water-smart landscaping that attracts birds and butterflies. PWP's Turf Replacement Program can help you make the switch to a water- and money-saving landscape.

Now ALL customer types may qualify for the program, including commercial, institutional, residential and multi-family water customers.

Program Overview

$1 for every square foot of water-thirsty grass replaced with water-wise plants or a combination of these plants and water-permeable groundcover such as mulch. Rebate is capped at $2,500 for residential properties, and $10,000 for commercial and multi-family properties.

How to qualify for and reserve program funds:  

  • You must have a water account with Pasadena Water & Power and the project area must be on the property associated with that account.
  • Submit application along with:
           1) sketch/drawing of plans to replace at least 250 square feet of turf grass with qualifying plants/materials;
    pictures of existing landscaping that includes live turf grass (optional); and
    City Planning Division approval (if required)
  • Complete a pre-inspection BEFORE tearing out old lawn and new planting begins.  
  • Projects will be verified through a post-inspection before a rebate is issued. 

Important Note: It is solely your responsibility to fully understand and comply with program rules before making any modifications to your landscaping.

Program Rules

Pasadena Water and Power (PWP) offers rebates of $1 per square foot of turf grass removed and replaced with qualifying landscaping. All PWP water customers are eligible. The maximum rebate per residential property is $2,500. The maximum for commercial and multi-family properties is $10,000.

All projects require both a pre-installation inspections (prior to project start) and a post-installation inspection (prior to release of rebate funds). After submission of an application, customers will be contacted by Pasadena Water & Power to schedule a pre-installation inspection. No work shall be started prior to this inspection. Turf must be living at the time of inspection.  After the post-installation inspection is completed and the project is approved, you may begin your project. 

A full list of recommended California Friendly plants and landscaping ideas can found on Pasadena’s Smart Landscaping Guide and on www.bewaterwise.com

A combination of live plants, trees, mulch, decomposed granite and gravel are acceptable turf replacements. All bare soil areas between plants must be covered with a minimum 2” layer of permeable material such as mulch or decomposed granite. Converted area cannot be covered with impermeable surfaces such as concrete, brick, or asphalt. Use of a permeable weed barrier is highly encouraged; non-permeable sheeting or plastic is not permitted.

For residential projects, a minimum of 70 percent of the front and street side setback areas are required to be covered and maintained with some combination of live trees, shrubs, vines, ground covers, flowers, existing lawns or other types of vegetation. Decomposed granite and gravel are considered paving and cannot exceed 30% of the total front and side yard area.

Parkway area requirements:

  • Nothing may be planted higher than 3-1/2 feet
  • No plastic sheeting or other non-permeable materials can be used
  • No concrete paving, access to utilities must be maintained
  • Do not completely fill in area with rocks; some decorative rocks can be used in conjunction with plants, groundcover and mulch.

All projects must comply with Pasadena’s landscape ordinances and zoning codes as applicable. An approved plan from Pasadena’s Planning & Community Development Department is highly recommended as a part of your application. If your retrofit is larger than 5,000 square feet, it may be subject to additional Water Efficient Landscape requirements. Please direct zoning related questions to: (626) 744-6777.

PWP reserves the right to modify the terms of this program at any time. Funds are available on a limited basis. Once funds are reserved, funding is ensured if project is completed within the terms of the rebate program.

This program is funded by Pasadena Water and Power and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

For More Information

Residential projects: (626) 744-7926 or jhao@cityofpasadena.net 

Commercial/multi-family projects: (626) 744-3865 or nlong@cityofpasadena.net 

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