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 $1 per square foot, up to a maximum of 2,000 feet.
The process works like this: The homeowner notifies the utility company of changes made to their lawn. The utility company comes to verify changes have been made and then issues the check. Specific enrollment details can be found on the Socal Water$mart Web site.
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.