The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) and a handful of other utility companies are paying SoCal residents to rip out their suburban lawns. In exchange, homeowners are required to replace grass with drought-tolerant, native plant species or install permeable surfaces which filter water back into the ground. Common permeable surface choices include flagstone, brick, and gravel. The rebate is $1 per square foot, up to a maximum of 2,000 feet.
The process works like this:
Cyberhomes blogger Marcie Geffner writes:
The rebate might not be enough to persuade homeowners who really love their lawns. But for me, the offer was a no-brainer as I wanted to replace my big boring lawns with flagstone walkways, cactus and other plants that are more natural to the climate, if not necessarily native.
Other water-saving rebates available through LADWP include incentives to replace toilets and clothes washers with high-efficiency models, timer controlled irrigation, and pressure-reduced sprinkler nozzles. If you're willing, there is even a rebate for installing synthetic turf.
Check with your local utility company or DSIRE.org to see what environmentally-conscious rebates are available in your area.