Design Requirements

(Commercial, Industrial or Institutional Sites)

Before you complete the rebate reservation application for the WaterSmart Turf Replacement Program you must read and understand these Design Requirements as well as the Terms and Conditions and the Program Steps .

When you submit the online rebate reservation application for the WaterSmart Turf Replacement program (Program), you must also submit the design of your proposed new landscape. The design MUST include the elements discussed in the Landscape Design and Irrigation System sections.

Remember: You have NOT yet been approved for funding.  You will not be approved until Water Authority approves the design of your new landscape.  Projects that have been started or already completed prior to rebate reservation approval are not eligible.

A professionally-drawn design IS required.  The design you submit is the design that must be installed; Water Authority will not be required to make the Program payment if the installed landscape is not the same as the approved design.  Read carefully the Terms and Conditions for more information.

When thinking about the design of your new landscape, don’t forget to take advantage of all the landscape resources we have developed for your benefit and use.  This website was designed to make each step as easy as possible for you.  Also check out our Design Tips  page under the Design Ideas tab.

If, after reading these requirements, you have any questions about what’s required, please contact us at or call us at 866-685-2322.

Landscape Design

Landscape design plans must be drawn to-scale.  A landscape design and irrigation plan must be completed by a landscape designer, landscape architect, certified landscape irrigation auditor, or landscape contractor, and must include:

  1. Street address of the project on each page, so we are able to match your drawing with your application
  2. Exactly where the new landscape will be in relation to large, existing fixtures such as the street, sidewalk, driveway, home, etc.
    • In addition to showing these large existing features, the drawing must provide the measurements (or size) of the area to be re-landscaped, in square feet.  These measurements should add up to no more square feet than the number of square feet you entered on your application.  If you are eventually approved for an incentive payment, the payment cannot be for more landscape than was approved on your application.
  3. Plant names (common and scientific) with plant symbols showing minimum 50% coverage at 75% maturity and WUCOLS page reference (or other acceptable reference) to verify moderate- to low-water use.
  4. Plant material that will cover at least 50% of the newly landscaped area.
    • Your new landscape MUST be designed such that it can reasonably be assumed that at least 50 percent of the site will be covered with plant material by the time the plants are mature, or within two years, whichever is sooner.  New or existing trees are not counted in the coverage.  New trees may be included in the cost of the project.  An example of what is NOT acceptable:  A new landscape that is almost entirely graveled or containing few, if any, living plants.
  5. 100% of the new landscape MUST be covered with materials such as plants, compost and mulch, and permeable “hardscape”.
    • Your new landscape MUST be installed such that 100% of the area will be covered with materials such as plants, mulch or permeable hardscape.
    • Examples of permeable hardscape include pavers and brick set on a bed of sand, where no mortar or grout has been used.
    • If not covered by permeable hardscape or plant material, your new landscape must be completely covered by at least a 3-inch layer of mulch.  Acceptable mulch includes rock, compost, bark and other organic material.
    • There can be no bare soil or installation of non-permeable (material water cannot easily penetrate) hardscape such as a concrete patio or walkway.
  6. Estimated Total Water Use (ETWU).*
  7. Maximum Applied Watering Allowance (MAWA) – Maximum 70% of ET.* 
  8. Irrigation plan with hydrozones and head or emitter placement and equipment list (if no irrigation is planned – show hydrozones only).
  9. Identify pressure regulation and filtration.
  10. North arrow and scale.

Your drawing must NOT include any turf grass, artificial or synthetic turf.  No turf grass, artificial or synthetic turf is allowed in the newly landscaped site.

* See pages 30 and 31 of A Homeowner’s Guide to a WaterSmart Landscape for the ETWU and MAWA calculations. ETWU must be less than or equal to MAWA