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Landscape Design Assistance Program


 (Only available in conjunction with the FRONT LAWN Turf Conversion RFL Rebate)

We know that sometimes taking on a landscape project to convert your turf to water wise landscape can be a daunting task. That is why we have the Landscape Design Assistance Program to help homeowners consult with a professional landscape designer for 2-hours and City will rebate you the consultation fee. The Landscape Design Assistance Rebate is specifically for Department of Utility customers, who are participating in the River Friendly program and replacing existing front yard turf (grass) with a water wise landscape. Participants pay the designer a $200 fee at the time of service and are reimbursed by the Water Conservation when their lawn to garden conversion project is successfully completed.

In this program, City approved Landscape Designers will help participants explore ideas and make recommendations on layout, plants and other features that may work for the front yard conversion. The 2-hour consultation will not be enough time for the designers to develop a detailed plan, but will provide enough time to discuss site issues, customer needs and develop general layout ideas and plant choices.

Rebate will be paid after project completion.


  • Be a City of Sacramento single family/duplex customer.
  • Be a current participant of the River Friendly Landscape (RFL) Turf Conversion rebate program, or complete the Turf Conversion application now.
  • Participants must use a City approved Landscape Designer, listed on the website and complete their Turf Conversion project to receive a Design Assistance rebate.
  • Customers may only participate in the program one time per property.

Rebate Terms

  • Designer will charge a fee to the customer not to exceed $200 total for a 2-hour landscape design consultation.
  • If Designer and participant agree that less than a full 2-hour consultation is needed, the Designer will reduce the cost.
  • If a Designer provides more than 2-hours of consultation, no additional cost will be funded through this Program.

If mutually agreeable, the Designer and participant may contract for additional design services outside of this Agreement. Participant will pay the Designer at the time of service and Designer will provide the customer with a receipt. The City will reimburse the participant when they complete their Turf Conversion project.

What You Should Expect 

The City approved Landscape Designer will help customers with the following:

  • General analysis of the site conditions and evaluation of the customer needs.
  • Develop a general concept on how to design the space. This may include: pathways, focal point, screening, use of boulders or other items, etc.
  • Provide conceptual layout or a sketch to depict the suggestions made during the consultation.
  • Provide suggestions for possible climate-appropriate and drought-tolerant plants for the design.
  • Provide a list of resources to assist in selecting plants, materials, and educational information. 

Steps to Proceed

Step 1:

Step 2:

  • Wait for a Specialist to call and schedule a Pre-inspection of the project. 
  • Upon Pre-inspection approval, application will proceed.

Step 3:

  • Review the list of City approved Landscape Designer and choose one that meets your needs. 
  • Schedule your two-hour landscape design consultation in which the designer will help you explore ideas for your new front yard landscape.
    • Complete the Landscape Design Questionnaire before your consultation and, if possible, provide the completed Questionnaire to the Designer prior to your appointment.
    • Draw a basic base map, to scale, of your front yard on graph paper.  Include fence liens, house location, and existing plants/trees and hard-scape that will not change (See How to Draw a Base Map).
    • Consider compiling a file of photos from magazines and website to help communicate what you would like in your new front yard.

Step 4:

  • Complete the consultation and pay the Landscape Designer the $200 fee and ensure you get a receipt after the consultation - keep this receipt with your other Turf Conversion project receipts.
  • Remember to email the completed Landscape Plan Sketch and Plant Coverage Worksheet after the consultation.

Step 5:

Step 6:

  • Water Conservation staff will conduct a post-inspection to verify installation.
  • After post-inspection, City will reimburse the customer the $200 design fee along with the Turf rebate check.

Landscape Designers

Landscape Designers who would like to partner with the City and help homeowners with the turf conversion project can sign the Designer Agreement.

Landscape Requirements

Landscape designs and recommendations must be drought tolerant and be consistent with the objectives of the City’s Turf Conversion Rebate Program and include the elements of the watershed approach to landscaping, which are:

  • Build and protect healthy, living soil
  • Use rainwater as a resource through retention and infiltration of stormwater
  • Use climate-appropriate plants and group them according to water and sun requirements
  • Use highly efficient supplemental irrigation, when irrigation is necessary

Landscape recommendations and conceptual sketches are intended to beautify neighborhoods, reduce runoff, and save water. When fully mature, the plant material will cover a minimum of 60% of the converted area. Tree canopy and plants outside the converted area are not considered in the calculation even if they are adjacent to or overhanging the converted area.

For distinct areas greater than 250 sq. ft., the converted area must include a minimum of 5 plants. If existing tress are located within the converted area, the maximum credit toward the coverage requirement will be (1/4) of the total mature tree canopy for the existing tree(s) that are low or medium water use trees within each distinct area.


For questions, please contact us.
Information Line: (916) 808-1337