Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Why should I consider removing turf from my landscape?

A: Turf grass is commonly used in landscaping. Unfortunately, it also requires a large amount of water, time, and money to maintain in our Southern California climate. Conversion to a California Friendly™ and native landscape may dramatically reduce both water and maintenance expenses.

Often, turf is located in places where it is underutilized or not needed, such as side yards, parkways, street medians, around parking lots, and in business landscapes without pedestrians. Many customers find that they can remove turf in their landscape while improving the usefulness and curb appeal of their property. In fact, California Friendly™ and native landscapes not only save water and money, but they can be a beautiful, unique, and interesting replacement for traditional turf.

Q: Is artificial turf covered by Lawn to Garden?

A: No, the intent of Lawn to Garden is to incentivize our Long Beach community for removing water thirsty lawns, and replacing it with a drought-friendly garden that reduces demand on water, improves air quality, and increases biodiversity in the City of Long Beach. Artificial turf does not achieve all three of these goals. There are no exceptions to this rule. Please refer to the Terms and Conditions and Design Requirements for more information.

Q: What are the requirements to participate?

A: At a minimum, you must currently have grass to be eligible for the program and receive project start approval before removing your turf. There are several other requirements. Please visit the Terms & Conditions and Design Requirements for details.

Q: How long does the Lawn to Garden process take?

A: Please refer to the “Project Checklist” to get the full scope of the Lawn to Garden project. Much of the Lawn to Garden project process depends on how quickly customers submit the required documents and the time it takes to install their garden.
Application approvals: 1-3 day turn-around period
Landscape Design approvals: 1-3 days

Q: Can I convert my backyard and front yard at the same time?

A: Yes! You can place an application to convert your front and backyard in the same application. The incentive for front yard transformations is $3.00 per square feet and $2.00 per square feet for back yard transformations.

Q: How can I measure my project area?

A. To measure your project area, gather the following tools and follow the steps below. There are also online satellite imagery websites that may be able to help you measure your lawn’s square footage. If you will be using a contractor for completion of your project, ask that they measure your project area to ensure the correct amount of square footage is requested in your application. Visit our How To section for more information.

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 Long Beach Utilities t 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 a professional on this list will be eligible to receive a reimbursement of the cost of the design up to $1,500.

Q: What happens if I reserve the wrong amount of square footage in my initial application?

A: Incentives are awarded based on the measured area submitted when a reservation is requested. It is important that you accurately measure the area requested as we cannot increase your area measurement after the reservation is granted.

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. Please send images of all the turf area you would like to convert to a drought friendly garden to

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 offers 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. Learn more about our recommended plants on our Selecting Plants page.

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. Learn more about our recommended plants on our Selecting Plants page.

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 LB Utilities 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 LB Utilities has been notified that the landscape installation was complete.