Grass-to-Xeriscape Landscape Rebate
Frequently Asked Questions
How much money can I get for taking out my grass?
A single family homeowner is eligible to receive $500
to remove a minimum of 500 square feet of healthy grass.
What are the program requirements? Information
regarding planting, timelines and eligibility can be found
How can I obtain an application? Get a
copy of the application online or call us to mail you a copy
at (480) 644-3306.
Once I've sent in my application, do I need to make an
appointment for my inspection? If your converted area
is in your front yard, it is not necessary for you to be home.
However, if you are converting an area in your back yard, we
will contact you to schedule an appointment.
I have already removed the grass in my yard. Do I still
qualify? Unfortunately, no. This program is only
available to homeowners that are planning to remove healthy
grass. The main purpose of the program is to reduce water used
on live grass, which means that the City must inspect the area
to be converted while the grass is still healthy and in place.
Without this initial inspection, it is not possible to qualify
for the rebate.
I've stopped watering my grass. Can I still get a
rebate? If the grass is relatively healthy,
(routinely irrigated and manicured with an average coverage of
70 percent), you will likely qualify. Please remember that
turning off the water will not be sufficient to get rid of
Bermuda grass. Find more
tips on removing grass.
How much time do I have to complete my conversion after
the initial inspection? Once the City has inspected
your yard and given the initial approval, you have six months to
complete your conversion of the grass area.
When do I receive my $500 from the City? If you
are approved, your check will be issued approximately eight
weeks after the final inspection is completed by staff.
Can I just put in rock without plants? Not in
the converted area. The program requires that the converted area
must be replaced with low-water using plants that, at full
maturity, will cover at least 50 percent of the area.
How many low-water use plants do I need to put in? The converted area must be replaced with low-water using plants
that, at full maturity, will cover at least 50 percent of the
area. For example, if you convert 600 square feet of grass to a
Xeriscape, then plants need to "cover" 300 square feet. This
"coverage" is not required to be groundcover, but is considered
to be the area covered by a plant's canopy at full maturity.
This requirement can be accomplished in a variety of ways. For
example, there are a number of large trees that provide 225
square feet of coverage, and many large shrubs that provide 75
square feet of coverage. Continuing with this example, you could
plant an Ironwood tree and a yellow bells shrub and meet the
minimum requirement. There are many other combinations of
different low-water use plants that would work as well. The
program requirements highlight some examples of the coverage
provided by a variety of plants.
Photo: Chuparosa or Justicia californica is a great
low-water use shrub for your Xeriscape.
Why do I need to replace my grass with low-water use plants?
Removing grass and replacing it with properly watered low-water
use plants saves water. The Grass-to-Xeriscape program is
designed to save water, and it also is intended to promote
overall sustainability. This includes reducing
effect through plant shading. Plants also supply oxygen,
provide wildlife habitat, and absorb carbon dioxide, among other
Doesn't grass help keep my house cooler? Grass
will reduce your home's summer cooling requirements up to 4%,
but add shrubs and that amount jumps up to 24%, and well-placed
mature trees can cut energy costs up to 42%. So while grass does
provide some cooling benefits, the real key to energy savings is
shading your home.
How do I choose the right plants? When you
request the conversion packet, you should receive a copy of Landscape Plants for the Arizona Desert. This book has
pictures, growth size, and lots of information on over 200
low-water use plants. This book can also be viewed
online. The book includes the most common plants used in
landscapes but is not all inclusive of the plants that qualify
for the rebate. The qualifying
Low Water Use Drought Tolerant Plant List is
created by the Arizona Department of Water Resources, and
includes all of the plants that qualify for our program.
My yard already has lots of plants surrounding the grass
area. Do they count toward the coverage requirement?
The only area of your yard that has to meet the 50%
coverage requirement is the converted grass area. The existing
plants do not apply towards that converted area. However, if you
have a low-water use tree planted in the middle of the grass
area to be removed, it could count toward the coverage
Do my new plants have to provide the 50% coverage before
the final inspection? Your initial plantings can be
started at any size. Our coverage requirements apply to the size
of the plants at full maturity. As long as your plants will
provide the coverage at full maturity, you are meeting the
I'd like to replace my grass with artificial turf. Will
that qualify? Artificial turf can be incorporated into
the landscape. However, in order to qualify for the rebate, you
cannot replace all of the removed grass with artificial turf.
The coverage requirements (see question 10 above) always apply.
Artificial turf does not provide shade and may contribute to the
What about black plastic lining - can I use that to
control weeds? Black plastic lining is prohibited in
the converted area. Your layer of top dressing (granite/rock)
should be 2-3 inches thick. This will help to inhibit
evaporation and weed growth and provide consistent coverage.
Black plastic prevents air and water from reaching plant roots
because it is impermeable. However, if you prefer, landscape
fabric is approved to use under your granite or rock mulch.
How do I water my new low-water use plants? Our interactive
online watering guide will allow you to input specific information about your
plants and watering system. The guidelines provided are for
established plants, so the frequency needs to be adjusted for
new plantings - see chart below:
Watering Schedule for Newly Planted Desert
Weeks 1& 2
||Water every 1-2 days in summer, every 3-4 days fall
|Weeks 3 & 4
||Water every 3-4 days in summer, every 6-7 days fall
|Weeks 5 & 6
||Water every 4-6 days in summer, every 7-10 days fall
|Weeks 7 & 8
||Water every 7 days in summer, every 10
-14 days fall
After week 8
||Gradually extend the time between irrigations until
plants are established
Note: After the eighth week, move the drip emitters to
the outer edge of the root ball.
Can my homeowners' association get a rebate for removing
grass in our common area? At this time, the rebate is
only for single family homeowners. The City has applied for a
grant for non-residential customers to be eligible for a rebate. Check out our
commercial properties site for updates. HOAs can get
guidance with proper watering and water budgets by checking our
commercial properties site or by contacting our office at
How much does a typical conversion usually cost? While it does require some 'up front' money to convert grass to
Xeriscape, it will save dollars in the long run. The costs can
vary greatly depending on existing conditions and desired
landscape changes. Estimates for a conversion typically range
from $1.50 - $5.00 per square foot. However, when looking at
extra costs required for grass, such as water, fertilizer, mower
upkeep, overseeding and other maintenance activities, you'll
realize a savings each year.
Do I need to save documentation of my expenses for the
conversion? No. The City will verify that the
conversion is complete and will approve your application if the
requirements have been met. No further documentation (such
as receipts, photos, or plans) is necessary.
Why do I need to fill out a W9? The City of Mesa
is required to collect a W9 from all entities that collect
money, including this rebate. All W9 forms are kept
confidential. Copies can be found
online or we can mail one to you. Request a copy at (480)
What if I have a question that isn't addressed on
this list? No problem, just contact us by phone at
(480) 644-3306 or by
HOW TO APPLY & CONTACT INFORMATION
You can get an application in one of the following ways:
Find a copy of the
W-9 Form required to receive payment.
Be sure to read the requirements before filling out the