Frequently Asked Questions
Lawn Replacement Program FAQs
The Lawn Replacement program typically kicks off in January or early February each year. The deadline to submit an application is usually around March 15 for the May garden pick up. If funding remains, a second deadline, typically around July 15, will be announced. These customers would pick up gardens in September.
Applications are accepted throughout the year if you are only interested in hiring our Lawn Removal Service (not getting Garden In A Box kits). The Lawn Removal Service operates from May through September, depending on weather conditions.
If you choose to remove lawn on your own, you MUST provide photographic evidence that the lawn has been removed at least five days before picking up your gardens. Please plan accordingly. No exceptions.
You don’t need professional landscape plans to create a beautiful xeriscape! Trust us, it will look great if you follow the seven basic principles of xeriscaping.
For more help, check out our companion website, Waterwiseyards.org, where you’ll find tons of resources, tips, and encouragement from Coloradans who made the switch from grass to garden.
You can also sign up for our Waterwise Yard Seminar Series to learn techniques and tips from local pros. Our Garden In A Box program also makes designing your garden simple. Every garden we sell includes several plant-by-numbers maps which show you how to arrange each plant.
Unfortunately, we no longer offer at-home consultations. If you participate in our programs, you’ll have access to our staff of xeriscape advisors who can often provide helpful tips and ideas over the phone.
Try our Water Eligibility Tool to see which programs you qualify for.
Our Lawn Removal Service is available to Colorado residents who live roughly between Fort Collins and Fountain. Free Garden In A Box kits are only available if your water utility participates in the Lawn Replacement Program. If they do not, you may still purchase Garden In A Box kits.
No! We believe that there is nothing wrong with practical, useful lawns for entertaining, playing with kids and pets, or just lounging in the grass! You are welcome to keep the areas of lawn that are useful to you.
We do have a 200 square foot minimum requirement for all projects.
Most customers choose to remove between 400 and 500 square feet of lawn, usually in the front yard. Front yards tend to be less useful, plus, it’s a great way to add some curb appeal to your home!
Our regular Lawn Removal Service rate for the 2022 season is $2.25 per square foot. Many customers are eligible for a discount thanks to our partnerships with Colorado water utilities. If your utility offers a discount, you’ll pay just $1.00 per square foot, up to a predetermined maximum set by your utility. Discounts are limited, so apply early to reserve yours!
We have a 200 square foot minimum for all projects. Sorry, no exceptions.
You could also be eligible for up to three free low-water Garden In A Box kits through our Lawn Replacement Program. You can use the Find Your Discount tool on our Lawn Removal Service page to see what discounts are available to you.
Don’t worry, you can still create an amazing xeriscape on a budget! You can always attend our Waterwise Yard Seminars for free, purchase a Garden In A Box, or hire our Lawn Removal Service at the regular rate. The Lawn Removal Service is available to anyone between roughly Fort Collins and Fountain, Colorado.
If you’d like your utility to offer discounts in the future, we encourage you to contact their customer service department. Please urge them to offer Resource Central’s water conservation programs and discounts to help your community conserve water and create eco-friendly yards!
Several Front Range cities and water utilities also offer rebates and other lawn removal incentives separate from Resource Central. Check out these programs in Greeley, Fort Collins, Thornton, and Centennial Water & Sanitation District, to name a few.
Yes. You’ll need to submit an application even if your utility doesn’t offer a discount. Don’t worry, it only takes about ten minutes to gather a bit of crucial information about your project. We’ll ask you to submit the square footage, a “before” photo, and a few other simple details.
We review each application in the order received as quickly as possible, typically within one business week. We will reply by email with what to do next. Thank you for your patience!
The application review process is competitive but there are a few things you can do to ensure your application is approved:
• Submit early – we review and approve applications as they are received.
• Plan your project – show us that you have a good plan for how you’ll remove the grass, how you’ll cover the space, and how you’ll adjust your irrigation system and schedule. We need to see that your project will save water!
• Use low-water plants, shrubs, trees and wood mulch – we’re big fans of living, vibrant yards with lots of low-water, native, and drought-tolerant plants that create insect habitat. Projects that replace lawn exclusively with rock or stone only will not be approved as they increase the “heat island effect” and do little to create habitat.
• Submit a complete application – an incorrect water utility account number or missing “before” photo will slow down the approval process and you may lose your space.
• Complete the phone consultation early – after we review your application, we’ll invite you to a 15 – 30 minute consultation to review your project. Your application is not fully approved until you complete the phone consultation and return the signed contract.
Please note that we generally approve 90% of applications as long as they meet the basic project requirements and demonstrate significant water savings. Space and program funding is limited to a predetermined number of households. Supplies and participation are limited and fluctuate annually.
We strongly encourage you to use a tape measure to calculate the square footage of your project area. If the area is roughly rectangular, simply multiple the length times the width in feet to get the total square footage. If your project is a different shape, you’ll need to brush off your geometry skills! Here’s a guide that might help. If you don’t have a tape measure, you can pace off the various dimensions. The typical walking pace is about three feet. Please try to provide an accurate measurement of the space. Do not guess!
Yes! You are not required to have an irrigation system. However, any lawn removed as part of the Lawn Replacement Program must be regularly watered and maintained to qualify. This ensures we achieve our water conservation mission.
Existing, watered and maintained grass is a well established area of lawn that regularly receives supplemental water and maintenance throughout the growing season. The area could be watered by an in-ground irrigation system, a sprinkler attached to a hose, or by hand. To participate in the Lawn Replacement Program, you must submit a “before” photo showing the lawn is in generally good health. Some small bare or dry spots are usually OK. You must self-certify that the lawn is regularly water and maintained. The photos below show examples of what the lawn should generally look like.
These lawns are considered “watered and maintained.”
These areas are NOT considered “watered and maintained.”
All gardens will be available for pick up at one of our convenient distribution locations within 15 miles of your city’s center in May and early June. A small number of participants may qualify for a fall garden pickup in September. We’ll confirm your garden pick up date, time, and location during a phone consultation. If you can’t make it to your designated pickup, we’ll help you find the next closest pickup location. You can also send a friend to pick up the plants for you.
In 2022, Lawn Replacement Program participants who qualify will have the option to choose any combination of Garden In A Box kits they wish. You’ll select your gardens when submitting the application. You’re limited to a maximum three free gardens which will fill up to 300 square feet of space. Check out our Garden Store for specifics! Some plant substitutions may be necessary. We appreciate your understanding.
We appreciate your enthusiasm! Unfortunately, lawn removal projects that started before receiving written approval from Resource Central are not eligible. You must remove existing and maintained grass to qualify. That being said, you are still eligible for our Lawn Removal Service. If you started a project and would like some help completing it, submit your project details here.
Lawn Removal Service FAQs
Our Lawn Removal Service is the physical removal, hauling, and disposal of at least 200 square feet of maintained lawn by sod cutter. The service costs $2.25 per square foot as measured by our technicians. You may qualify for a discount, if offered on behalf of your water utility. Participating utilities are typically announced in January or February. We will let you know if you’re eligible for the discount.
We accept credit or debit card payments only. After your project is approved, you’ll be asked to pay a $100 deposit securely on our website. You’ll pay the remaining balance on the day of your appointment by credit or debit card. Sorry, no exceptions.
We typically start accepting applications for discounts and scheduling appointments in January or February. We start physically removing grass in early May and continue through September, weather permitting. Appointments are only available Monday through Friday during normal business hours.
We’ll set our sod cutter to cut as deep as possible, about two inches below the surface. We’ll cut deep enough to remove the grass roots but not too deep that we end up removing all your topsoil. Sorry, we can’t dig any deeper than that. Most people do not add topsoil nor compost to make up for the removed material. Instead, you should add several inches of mulch which will help bring the area up to a more even grade with the surrounding lawn.
Please remove sticks, loose rocks, pet waste, toys, and any other obstructions before we arrive. That’s it! We will submit an 811 utility marking request for your project as required by Colorado law. When we arrive for the project, we’ll inspect the removal area with you, mark the project outline with spray paint, and flag obstacles like stumps, tree roots, large rocks, and sprinkler heads. Please do continue to water the space as you normally would. Please do NOT water on the day of your appointment.
No! We use a machine on just the grassy areas of your yard. We will hand dig with a shovel around any trees, roots or fences. Just be sure to let us know ahead of time so we can plan our time accordingly. We are very careful when we remove lawn near trees!
We can absolutely cut curves! Our machine is roughly the size of a (much heavier) push mower so any design you can make, we can make too! Just let us know exactly how you want it when we arrive and we will mark it out.
No one wants a zombie lawn! We do our best to remove as much of the grass root as possible. Healthy grass can have roots in excess of six inches deep but our sod cutter can only remove the top two inches of material. It is possible that some small patches of grass will start growing back but this unusual if you properly complete your project. We recommend covering the bare ground with a thick layer of cardboard, then adding four or more inches of mulch on top within a week of the lawn removal. The cardboard is an eco-friendly weed barrier and the mulch helps retain moisture, shade the soil, and block sunlight from reaching the grass. We typically do not recommend landscape fabric nor synthetic weed barriers.
The Lawn Removal Service is not a good solution for removing stubborn weeds. Deeply rooted, well established weeds will grow back more vigorous than before. We recommend treating them with horticultural vinegar.
Bare ground! We’ll leave you with nothing but dirt so you can start planting and mulching right away. We’ll be sure to rake the area smooth (within reason) and sweep up afterwards. The service includes hauling and disposal of the removed sod. We compost nearly all the sod we remove!
Here are some “after” photos of our Lawn Removal Service projects.
At minimum, you’ll want to cover the area with at least four inches of mulch within about a week to prevent weeds and grass from growing back. You should also be prepared to add low-water plants, trees, shrubs, gravel, flagstone, or whatever materials you choose. Don’t wait too long to cover the bare ground; you could lose a lot of soil in a heavy rainstorm from erosion. You can also till the soil to break it up and incorporate amendments, like compost, but this is not required for most native plants to thrive.
How to Remove & Replace Lawn FAQs
According to Denver Water, a xeriscape is “landscaping that promotes water efficiency by using plants that are native and adaptable to Colorado’s semi-arid climate.” The goal of the our lawn removal programs is to generate long-term water savings by replacing thirsty grass lawns with beautiful pollinator-attracting and drought-tolerant gardens. A xeriscape is not a “zeroscape”! A xeriscape is also not just rocks and cactus, pavement, or bare ground. It’s a diverse, living landscape with many ecological benefits and up to 60% water savings over a traditional grass lawn.
By transitioning to a xeriscape, you’ll save time and money on maintenance, reduce fertilizer, fuel, and pesticide use, add curb appeal to your property, and create habitat. We bet you’ll meet your neighbors too since they’ll be curious about your new, awesome yard!
Here are some examples:
You should hire our Lawn Removal Service, of course! If that doesn’t work for you, you can rent a sod cutter, sheet mulch, or solarize the area. We don’t recommend using chemicals as they are likely to negatively impact soil quality and insect health. For more details, check out our Lawn Removal 101 page.
An irrigation zone is a set of sprinkler heads that all turn on at the same time. Your property will have multiple zones that can be programmed for different run times on your irrigation control clock. To find your zones, simply activate each one on your control clock for a few minutes, then walk around your property to locate which heads have turned on. Be sure to check for drip zones as well by listening for gurgling water.
Xeriscape projects are far more successful in saving water when they encompass one or more entire irrigation zones. This allows you to convert the zone to a drip system or to deactivate it entirely. Grass and xeriscape should not be in the same zone because they require different watering rates and schedules.
There are many ways to convert you irrigation system, including the RainBird 1800 spray-to-drip retrofit kit. We recommend contacting a local QWEL (Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper) certified professional.
Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to offer sprinkler conversion services nor gardening help. Resource Central is a not-for-profit organization, not a general landscape contractor. We recommend finding a qualified landscaper, irrigation or xeriscape specialist through Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado.