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River-Friendly Landscape  (turf replacement, smart controller, irrigation upgrade) REBATES



River-Friendly Landscape home

The City of Sacramento Department of Utilities offers rebates to residential and commercial customers to help pay for water efficient upgrades. Download the rebate brochure. The River Friendly Landscape Program offers the following rebates for residential and commercial customers:

  • Turf Conversion Rebate – A rebate to replace existing turf (grass) with Water Wise Landscaping. The rebate amounts vary depending upon the account type. Submit the online form or download the appropriate application (Single-Family, or Multi-family/Commercial).     
Landscape Design Assistance Program. Used in conjunction with the Turf Conversion Rebate. Consult with a City approved Landscape Designer for up to 2 hours.
  • Smart Controller Rebate - EPA Water Sense Labeled Smart Irrigation Controller. Submit the online form or download the application (all property types).
  • Irrigation Upgrade Rebate – A rebate to install irrigation system upgrades such as drip irrigation and replace standard fixed-spray sprinklers with rotary sprinkler nozzles. Submit the online form or download  the appropriate Application (Single-Family or Multi-family/Commercial).

  • Rain Barrel Rebate – A rebate to install Rain Barrel(s) to store water for use during dry periods. Submit the online form or download the application.

  • Laundry-to-Landscape Rebate – A rebate of up to $100 for materials to install a gray water system that diverts gently-used water from your washing machine and route it to mulch basins around trees or bushes. Download the application.

Rebate Amounts

Single Family Customers:

  • Turf Conversion Rebate: Maximum Turf conversion rebate of $3,000 at $1.50 per square of grass converted on the front, side and back yard.  Your rebate will be the amount of your applicable expenses as verified by receipts but will not exceed $1.50 times the square footage of turf removed up to $3000.
  • Irrigation upgrade Rebate: $400 for an Irrigation Upgrade ($400 for materials used to convert to drip irrigation for front, side or back yard, and $400 for adding EPA WaterSense Labeled Smart Irrigation Controller).
  • Labor costs by licensed General Contractor or landscaping contractor (C-27) of up to $500 for Turf Conversion or $150 for Irrigation upgrades or Smart controller rebate may be included as a reimbursable expense. 


Multi-family (3+ Units), Commercial & Institutional Accounts:

  • The maximum rebate for large sites is $50,000, while funds last, to be used toward either turf conversion, irrigation upgrades, or a combination thereof.
  • Turf Conversion Rebate: $1.50  per square of grass converted to a water wise landscape. Your rebate will be the amount of your applicable expenses as verified by receipts but will not exceed $1.50 times the square footage of turf removed, up to $50,000
  • Irrigation Upgrade incentive: Smart controller rebates; Reimbursement is $25/wired irrigation station from $400-$700. Funding is also available for the conversion from spray to drip irrigation and the conversion from fixed fan spray sprinklers (like the Rainbird 1800 or Toro 570 series) to rotating nozzle heads.
  • Maximum reimbursed labor costs of up to 20% of material costs of the retrofit project - work must be done by a licensed general contractor or landscape contractor (C27). Contractor receipts must be itemized.

Turf Conversion Rebate Requirements:

  • Each converted area must include non-invasive River Friendly plants, such as drought tolerant groundcovers, shrubs and trees, as approved by the City. New landscape plans must contain at least 60% plant coverage upon plant maturity.
  • The new landscape shall be watered by drip irrigation unless the customer chooses to hand water, in which case there shall be no in-ground irrigation system.
  • If there is an automated irrigation system, the customer is required to install an EPA WaterSense certified smart irrigation controller.
  • 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. If existing trees are located WITHIN the converted area, you will receive credit for no more than one quarter (1/4) of the total mature tree canopy towards the living 60 percent plant coverage requirement (if low or medium water use tree). In addition, each distinct area separated by a driveway or sidewalk will be considered separately with regard to the canopy coverage requirement.
  • The converted area must include a minimum of 5 plants.
  • Any design elements that are not plant material, such as planters, rocks, mulch or similar element must be integrated as part of the converted area's landscape.
  • Pathways may be installed but must be permeable in order to count toward the canopy coverage requirement. Mulch may be organic or inorganic, must be spread 2"-5" beneath trees and shrubs and shall be 6" or less in diameter.
  • Ineligible items include but are not limited to the following: soil amendments, seeds and tools purchased to complete the project.
  • Your rebate will be the amount of your applicable expenses as verified by receipts but will not exceed $1.50 times the square footage of turf remove

Need Inspiration?

Check out these landscape layouts from Rescape California to inspire your design:

Rain Garden Planting Plan and ideas

  GardenSoft Water Wise Gardening in the Gold Country Region 

Having a contractor help you with your landscaping project? Please share this Contractor Information Packet with your contractor to ensure that your receipts are completed correctly.


Steps to proceed


  1. Submit a completed Turf Conversion application. Include photos of existing turf, plant coverage worksheet and landscape plan.  If mailing it in using the PDF form, email or mail to:

    City of Sacramento Department of Utilities
    The River Friendly Landscape Program
    5730 24th Street, Building 22
    Sacramento, CA, 95822
  2. Wait for approval from water Conservation staff. Please note that missing information may cause delay.

  3. Schedule the pre-inspection before beginning your project.

  4. Complete your landscape conversion project and submit receipts and a photo within the 120 days following project approval.

  5. Post inspection from Water Conservation staff - After we receive your itemized receipts, they will be reviewed and verified by Water Conservation Staff. Following receipt review, you will be subject to a post-completion inspection (you will be contacted to confirm the appointment).

  6. Receive a rebate check - You should receive your rebate check within 10-12 weeks of your post-inspection appointment and approval.


Contacting Water Conservation Division

For more information about the River- Friendly Landscape Rebate Program or if you have questions about your application or the application process, please email or call 916-808-1337.


Online forms:     Downloadable forms:
Smart Controller Rebate                                  Smart Controller Rebate
Irrigation Upgrade Rebate    Irrigation Upgrade Rebate (Single-Family or Multi- Family/Commercial)
Turf Conversion Rebate    Turf Conversion Rebate (Single-Family or Multi-Family/Commercial)
     Landscape Designer Rebate
Rain Barrel Rebate    Rain Barrel and Laundry-to-Landscape



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