L2G Helpful "How To" Guide

These “How to…” tips are organized around the major steps involved in replacing a grass lawn with a beautiful landscape that thrives in our semi-arid region.


It’s very important to get a rough yet realistic estimate of the cost of your project before you start spending money. Get help here with creating your initial budget.

Reduce Your Costs

Find out how to reduce the cost of your project by reviewing the Money Savings Tips section. You’ll find some great ideas to keep some of that cash in your own pocket.

Find Nurseries and Designers

Many local businesses are participating in the L2G program. Find local nurseries, landscape designers, and other resources.  Find out where to buy your new waterwise plants, and which plants might work best in your situation.

Design Your Landscape

Visit our Free Designs and Ideas page to learn how to design your new landscape. We offer classes, landscape design consultations, and free designs that you can use in your own yard.

Kill Your Lawn

Killing and removing your old lawn is one of the most important steps you will take in this adventure.
o Our “Money-saving tips” include ideas related to killing, removing and disposing of your old lawn
o L2G suggestions – Kill Your Lawn and Haul it Away 
o Tree of Life Nursery.  Learn how to kill your lawn from the experts.
o Workshops
o One-page summary
UC Davis approach

Install the New Plants

If you need help installing your new plants take a look at these suggestions from experts and from successful L2G participants.
o L2G Suggestions
o Las Pilitas Nursery
Tree of Life Nursery

Maintain Your New Garden

You will need to be diligent about the care and maintenance during the first year of your new garden. Find out how to properly maintain your new landscape to keeping it looking gorgeous.
L2G suggestions
o Las Pilitas Nursery

Create An Ocean Friendly Garden

An Ocean Friendly Garden (OFG) is a garden that applies CPR – Conservation, Permeability, and Retention© – to revive the health of our watersheds and oceans. Learn the easy steps that you can take to help protect our local ocean.

Prepare Your Site

Tree of Life Nursery offers a comprehensive guide to get you started on site preparation, planting, establishing and then caring for your new landscape.

Prepare the Soil

Healthy soil will help your plants get established and thrive. Soil texture and organic content should all be taken into consideration in preparation of your new landscape. Visit the Soil Preparation link for more information.

Create an Efficient Irrigation System

About half of the water used at the average home goes towards landscape irrigation, and that about half of that landscape water is wasted. Most sprinkler systems are inefficient and tend to waste a lot of water. Learn how choose the right irrigation system for your new landscape.
o L2G “Money-saving tips” include suggestions related to irrigation systems
Las Pilitas Nursery offers helpful watering advice for native plants
o Tree of Life Nursery can teach you how to water your native plants
Residential Irrigation System Handbook
o The Association of California Water Agencies has a helpful tool to teach you more about sprinkler system options.
o Here is a terrific guide to help you easily convert your sprinkler system to a drip system.

Include Hardscape in Your New Garden

Plan for hardscape such as patios and walkways.  These add interest, functionality and uniqueness to your new garden.