Drought Tolerant Landscape – Water Conservation – Rebates

San Mateo County is offering several less-known rebates that will reward you for making your landscape more drought tolerant and for water conservation efforts.

An up to $300 “Rain Garden” rebate and an up to $4 per sq.ft. “Lawn Be Gone” rebate, emphasize the value of making the change and will make you happier to make the change to your landscape.

So what is a rain garden? A rain garden is simply a landscape having a depression designed to collect rainwater from a roof, a patio, a driveway, or a street, that is planted with flood and drought-tolerant plants. When it rains, the water flows into the depression where it then soaks into the ground. Part of the motivation for this rebate program is to reduce how much water flows into storm drains and has to be treated before discharging it. Many people create very attractive landscapes incorporating a creek and a pond, both of which are dry most of the time. The biggest challenge will probably be simply making the changes to get the water from your roof to your new rain garden. In order to get the “Rain Garden Rebate” you must apply to the “Lawn Be Gone Rebate”.

If you’ve thought about drought-tolerant landscaping, you might have found only limited varieties of drought-tolerant plants to choose from. To qualify for the “Lawn Be Gone” rebate you must choose your plants from the BAWSCA Approved Plant List. The good news is that they list over 2,500 plants. Although I found the plant list at https://bawsca.dropletportal.com/program/resources/lawn I don’t know how long the link will be active so I’ve stored the BAWSCA Approved Plant List (2/16/21) on my website.

In Silicon Valley, the Yerba Buena Nursery is well known for its California native plants. I also noticed this winter Summerwinds Nursery was carrying quite a few native California plants.

The “Lawn Be Gone Rebate” requires that you apply for approval before removing your lawn. More information can be found at flowstobay.org and BayAreaConservation.org The rebate is currently advertised as effective from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022.

Another rebate program is the “Rain Barrel Rebate“. The member agencies are offering up to a $200 rebate for each cistern or rain barrel. If you have a roof area of 1,250 – 1,750 sq. ft. they recommend a minimum of 3-4 rain barrels, each with a 55-gallon capacity. A key factor that would determine if this would work for you is if the collected rainwater can flow by gravity to a garden area where it can be used. Since asphalt or wooden shingles can contaminate the water, the water should only be used for non-edible landscapes.

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