Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: How much does it cost to convert a lawn to a California Friendly landscape?

A: Your new drought-resistant garden can range from very inexpensive up to $20 per sq/ft depending on how much of the work you do yourself and the cost of the materials you select.

Q: What are some of the changes for the new Lawn-to-Garden program?

A: On July 1, 2018, LBWD will begin accepting applications for its new Lawn-to Garden Program. While the design requirements of the original Lawn-to-Garden program will remain intact, there are a few new core design requirements that will come into effect.

Effective July 1, 2018, the Lawn-to-Garden Program will require the following in all designs:

  • A storm water retention feature
  • Hydrozoning of plant material
  • Drip irrigation (with exceptions made for certain plants)
  • 10% of plants listed must be flowering or California native plants

With the additional design requirements in place, the Long Beach Water Department will be increasing the L2G turf removal incentive from $2.50 to $3.00. In addition, the LBWD will be offering its customers an additional reimbursement (up to $1,500 dollars) to seek a certified landscape designer/architect/contractor to provide professional design services for their Lawn-to-Garden projects.

Q: Do rain barrels fulfill the storm water retention requirement?

A: The Lawn-to-Garden program incentivizes landscape transformation. While rain barrels are rainwater capture devices, standalone, they are not modifications to the landscape and thus do not fulfill the storm water retention requirement.

Q: Can I choose any designer to receive the design reimbursement?

A: No. Only designs from landscape professionals that have submitted their credentials to the Long Beach Water Department will be considered for reimbursement. To see a list of verified professionals, visit the Design Reimbursement page. Customers who contact and receive a landscape design from professional on this list will be eligible to receive a reimbursement of the cost of the design up to $1,500.

DISCLAIMER OF ENDORSEMENT:  Landscape designers listed as part of our design incentive program are verified landscape professionals.  This list is not representative of the only landscape professionals that are able to provide this type of work.  Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement of any designer, and LBWD is not responsible or liable for any services rendered.  It is the homeowner’s responsibility to request current proof of insurance, bond and license, and to obtain any other relevant information about any designer.

Q: I have already applied to the Lawn to Garden program, but I want to take advantage of the benefits of the new program. What should I do?

A: In order to be eligible for the new program which comes into effect July 1st, you must withdraw your current application. Only applications that have not yet been approved for construction are eligible to be withdrawn. Application withdrawals can be submitted in writing to In the email please state your address, water account number and let us know that you would like to withdraw your current application. Please note that we cannot secure positions for the new Lawn-to-Garden program and it will be limited to 150 projects per year. If you choose to withdraw your application be sure to apply as soon as possible on July 1st.

Q: My lawn has been dead for several months. Do I still qualify for the program?

A: If your lawn is dead but still in place, we will consider your project for the L2G incentive program. However, if you have started or completed the lawn to garden transformation, you are not eligible.

Q: Does the city still offer free mulch?

A: Yes. The Office of Sustainability offers free mulch to Long Beach residents. Check out their website to learn more:

Q: Are there any free tree programs?

A: Yes. The Office of Sustainability also offer free trees to Long Beach residents for planting in their parkways. Not all trees permitted in the Lawn-to-Garden program are available from the Office of Sustainability. Check out their website to learn more:

Q: What types of plants are eligible in the Lawn-to-Garden program?

A: There are specific plants suitable for our semi-arid region and the L2G program. Explore the links below to choose from thousands of drought tolerant plant options:

Q: What types of fruit trees are eligible in the Lawn-to-Garden program?

A: Some of the more popular fruit trees that participants have used in the past are Avocado, Pomegranate, Meyer Lemon, Sweet Orange, Olive, Guava, and Loquat. To check to see if a particular plant is eligible in the program use the search tool here: Any plant that is on this website with the exception of any turf like grasses is eligible in the L2G program.

Q: Can I use traditional turf grass as part of my new landscape?

A:  Your new landscape cannot contain any turf grasses, artificial or synthetic turf, or turf-looking grass such as Buffalo grass, Zoysia, or Kurapia. Mexican feather grass (Nassella tenuissima) and all other invasive plant species are prohibited from the Lawn to Garden program. For a list of invasive species and their alternatives, visit PlantRight.

Q: If I leave my turf grass but replace pre-existing plants with L2G eligible plants, will these plants still qualify for the incentive?

A: No. The L2G incentive is specifically designed to assist residents in joining the water efficient Long Beach way of life, by removing their thirsty turf grass lawns.

Q: How much plant material needs to be planted?

A: Plant material must cover at least 65% of the new landscaped area by the time the plants are mature or after two years’ time, whichever comes first.

Q:  I live in a homeowners association (HOA) and do not have an individual LBWD account. Can I still qualify for the program?

A: If the lawn you would like to re-landscape is in a common area then the HOA will need to apply directly. If it is your own personal area of the complex then you may be eligible to apply.

Q: How do I effectively kill my lawn?

A:  Please reference our “How To” page for detailed instructions and helpful links.

Q: When will I receive my incentive check?

A: If approved, payments will typically be made within 60 calendar days after LBWD has been notified that the landscape installation was complete.

Please note: During this current economic downturn, some services are closed on alternating Fridays for staff furloughs.  These furloughs affect many operations in all City Departments and help prevent significant service reductions to the community. During this period you may experience a delay in receiving your Lawn to Garden incentive check. We appreciate your patience and understanding.