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Turf replacement: Rebates plus less ongoing expenses
native grass
An example of California native grasses that clump to cover ground can be found along Moffat Boulevard at the Manteca Transit Center.

You can give  your front yard a new look with financial help from the City of Manteca.

All you have to do is be willing to save water by replacing water guzzling non-native grass and follow a few rules to make sure you can get reimbursed before you start.

The Manteca turf replacement program dubbed “Lawn to Garden” pays an incentive of $1 per square foot — up to $650 — when a grass lawn is replaced with water-efficient landscaping suited to the area’s  semi-arid climate.

The need to replace lawns and other areas covered with grass that are not native to California is simple. In order to stay green such grass consumes an inordinate amount of water.

For non-native grass to look like what you’d see in the Midwest, South, Eastern Seaboard or even in select Bay Area locations where temperatures are lower and there is more moisture in the air, it requires a huge price with front and backyard lawn areas.

That price is almost 50 percent of all water consumed during the course of a year by a typical Manteca household.

It’s a fairly common water use in the Central Valley, especially with tract-style homes on larger lots.

Best use of the water supply is the obvious reason for the conversion.

But reducing water use when it comes to “eye candy” given that most front yards are for curb appeal and not used by neighborhood kids to play flag football, reduces the financial burden for all ratepayers.

It can stretch the effectiveness of water wells that can cost several million dollars to put in place  by allowing them to be able to serve more households.

It also reduces the consumption of expensive treated surface water the city obtains from the South San Joaquin Irrigation District.

The dual-water source system was engineered to make supplies not just more reliable but to reduce expensive well pumping in the summer when use surges because of the demand to irrigate lawns.

There are also savings to the homeowners beyond the rebate to help cover turf replacement.

More drought tolerant plantings such as shrubs and ground covers once established reduce not just water use but also the ongoing cost for upkeep and the use of pesticides and even fertilizer.

And if you go with native plants and grasses, the savings are even greater with water and long-term maintenance costs.

There is also a commercial program with the same per square foot replacement that will reimburse up to $5,000.

The city’s rebate program only applies to front yards and parkways.

If you remove your grass lawn before your design is approved, you will not qualify for the rebate

Contact the city Water Division at 209 456-8468 or email to discuss lawn to garden requirements before beginning project.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email