Low Water Landscape Program
What is the Low Water Landscape Program?
We want to help our water customers conserve potable water use outdoors. Flagstaff's water use goes from about 45 million gallons per week in the winter to 60-70 million gallons per week in the summer, mostly due to residential outdoor use. Here in our northern environment, it's possible to have a beautiful yard that has drought-tolerant, low-water-use, and/or native plants that use significantly less water than a lawn. You may still want to have grass in some parts of your yard (we know Fido loves his lawn!), but a mix of low-water-use plants, mulch, and rainwater gardens can save water, beautify your landscape, retain water that would otherwise run into storm-drains, create important pollinator habitat AND save you money! Number winning
How Can I Be Part of the Low Water Landscape Program?
City of Flagstaff water metered customers can contact the Water Conservation office at 928-213-2116 to schedule a FREE pre-removal (i.e. when your grass lawn is still intact) inspection of their site to find out if they may qualify for a low water landscape rebate.
Landscape irrigation can be a significant chunk of your water bill during the summer. By switching from a grass lawn to a low water-use landscape design with drought-tolerant and native plants, you can conserve in lots of ways!
What resources are available?
We've partnered with the Arboretum of Flagstaff for some great materials and tools to help you get started with redesigning your yard! You'll find links to the Watering Guide, Landscaping with Native Plants, Common Weeds, Assessing your Property, and Neighborhood Plant Lists, including links to local landscapers and local native and low-water plant vendors.
Note that we process applications on a first-received, first-served basis until funds are depleted.
- Applicant must be the current property owner and have an active City of Flagstaff water account.
- Applicant must use water currently to maintain and irrigate a lawn. No rebates are issued for converting plant-less landscapes to a low water landscape yard.
- Rebate is calculated at $0.25/square foot. (Note: If your residential rebate totals $600 or more during a calendar year, it may be considered taxable income by the IRS. Contact a tax advisor for additional details.)
- At least 50% of the converted area must be replaced with low water use plants, which are also ideally native. We have plants lists for each neighborhood.
- Rock-cover should be no more than 20% of the new ground cover. We encourage the use of wood chip mulch for water retention on the landscape.
- If irrigation is installed, it must be a drip irrigation system, ideally with a timed controller. No spray irrigation is allowed.
- No fountains or other water features may exist on the property
- Artificial turf is not eligible for a rebate.
- Applicant must submit a post-lawn removal water consumption calculation estimating the water savings during the establishment period of the plants and the post-establishment period.
- Applicant must submit a site design and a plant list, showing the location of each plant type on the site (e.g. shrub, native grass, tree, perennial flower, etc.). The plant species name does not have to be specified on the site plan.
- Large sites may submit up to three rebates if they need to remove the lawn in stages.
- City of Flagstaff Water Conservation staff reserve the right to deny a rebate or a section of the modified area if the final inspection reveals that the low water landscape plan has not been properly implemented did not use low-water-use plants, and/or does not match the approved design plan.
- STEP 1: Customer contacts the City of Flagstaff Water Conservation office at 928-213-2116 to schedule an initial, pre-landscape removal inspection and measurement of the lawn-removal section. Customers should not start removing or killing the grass lawn until the initial inspection is complete. City of Flagstaff Water Conservation staff can also provide an indoor water consultation on the property if the customer would like one.
- STEP 2: City of Flagstaff Water Conservation staff comes out to the property to do the inspection, take measurements of the lawn, and take pre-removal photos the live grass lawn.
- STEP 3: City of Flagstaff Water Conservation representative provides the customer with the following:
- Water consumption data from the last 7 years to assist the customer in calculating reduced water needs during the peak use months of May-August
- Water Calculator Tool to estimate new landscape's water use
- Low Water Landscape plant lists and other resources
- STEP 4: Customer submits on Water Rebates:
- (1) a low water landscape rebate application
- (2) a proposed site plan, including a plant list (doesn't have to be species-specific, but rather, how many trees, shrubs, perennials, and/or grasses)
- (3) the Water Calculator Tool for the establishment and post-establishment periods. The calculations can be based on the recommended watering schedule from the supplier or landscaper. They need to demonstrate water savings.
- STEP 5: City of Flagstaff Water Conservation staff will notify customers when their site plan, water savings calculations, and plant list are approved.
- STEP 6: Customer may now start removing the grass lawn and implementing the low water landscape design.
- STEP 7: Customer contacts the City of Flagstaff Water Conservation staff when the project is complete to schedule a final inspection and submit their receipts. If the low water landscape deviated from the original plan, a final site plan showing all the plants and their common names should be submitted. Water Conservation staff will come out to take photos of the completed site.
- STEP 8: City of Flagstaff Water Conservation staff will issue a rebate credit on the customer's account. We will also ask residents to put a sign up in their new low water yard to encourage neighbors to participate.
- AFTER CONVERSION: Water Conservation Staff will contact customer annually for the first few years after the modifications have been completed to seek feedback and provide continuing education water use. Customer may also receive free materials such as a moisture meter to assist in determining when the plants need to be watered. City of Flagstaff Water Conservation staff will review the peak use water consumption to ensure it has decreased.