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A Green, Dry Thumb: Sacramento Homeowners Get Paid By City For Drought Tolerant Landscape Design

Thanks to California’s historic — and worrisome — drought, it’s no longer about who has the nicest or priciest home on the block, it’s about who has the most sustainable setup. That’s right, the Jones’ have gone green. Sustainable and eco-friendly landscape designs are all the rage nowadays, but what if you actually got paid […]

A Green, Dry Thumb: Sacramento Homeowners Get Paid By City For Drought Tolerant Landscape Design

Thanks to California’s historic — and worrisome — drought, it’s no longer about who has the nicest or priciest home on the block, it’s about who has the most sustainable setup. That’s right, the Jones’ have gone green.

Sustainable and eco-friendly landscape designs are all the rage nowadays, but what if you actually got paid for creating one for your home? That’s exactly what’s happening to Sacramento homeowners who are incorporating water conservation into their home’s landscaping. The city hopes the cash incentive will encourage homeowners to conserve water.

Thanks to Sacramento’s new River Friendly Landscape program, homeowners can receive a 50 cent per square foot rebate from the city if they replace their existing yards with drought resistant landscaping. Homeowners are also eligible to receive a $250 rebate if they install a smart meter, which ensures sprinkles remain off when it rains.

Unfortunately, despite the cash incentives, many Sacramento residents are still breaking the rules by not honoring the two day per week watering restrictions. So far this year, the city has already doled out nearly 4400 restriction violations to homeowners. This figure is on par with last year’s. Terrence Davis, who works as the city’s Sustainability Manager, was hoping for less violators this year.

“It just takes some time for people to get with the program,” Davis said. “And it’s really about behavior changing. It takes a little time for folks to get the message.”

William and Debbie Ingersoll, however, got the message loud and clear.

The Ingersolls, who live in South Land Park, changed the landscaping in their front yard in order to make it more drought tolerant. The liquid amber, Juniper, and grass they had in their front yard prior to their sustainable landscaping overhaul required a lot of water to maintain. Now, they’ve replaced those with California native plant species that require far less water. The couple also added a drip system and smart meter. The entire project cost roughly $7500, and based on their square footage, the Ingersolls were reimbursed $850 from the city.

“We’re both master gardeners,” said Ingersoll. “So as master gardeners, we wanted to show people that you can have a nice looking front without having to be a brown patch.”

Roughly 150 other Sacramento households have also done the same to their yards in order to their part in combating the drought.

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