Lawn Removal Programs FAQs
Have Questions? You’re not alone! Browse our FAQs and find the details you need.
General Lawn Removal 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 grass 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 also 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!
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 Landscape Seminar Series to learn techniques and tips from local pros. Our Garden In A Box programs also makes designing your garden easy. 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.
Yes! You are not required to have an irrigation system, however, any lawn removed as part of the Grass to Garden or Lawn Removal Service programs must be regularly watered and maintained to qualify. This ensures we achieve our water conservation mission.
Existing 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 Grass to Garden or to receive a discount on the Lawn Removal Service, you must submit a ‘before’ photo showing the lawn in generally good health. Some small bare or dry spots are usually OK. On the participant contract, you must certify that the lawn is regularly water and maintained.
We strongly encourage you to use a tape measure to help 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 a bit! 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. Don’t guess!
An irrigation zone is a set of sprinkler heads the 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. Xeriscape projects are far more successful in saving water when they encompass one or more ENTIRE 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. For more details, check our YouTube Page for how-to videos or contact 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 irrigation or xeriscape specialist through Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado.
You can still create an amazing xeriscape on a budget! You can always attend our webinars, purchase a Garden In A Box, or receive our Lawn Removal Service which is typically available to anyone between roughly Fort Collins and Parker, Colorado. If you’d like your utility to offer discounts, we encourage you to contact them directly. Tell them you think they should offer Resource Central’s 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.
Grass to Garden: FAQs
The Grass to Garden program is organized by Resource Central and funded by local water utilities. The program incentives homeowners to replace thirsty grass lawns with beautiful, drought-tolerant xeriscapes by providing approved applicants with a free Garden In A Box and drip irrigation retrofit kit. The program makes it easy and affordable to go xeric and save water! The Grass to Garden program is free for homeowners who qualify. If you don’t qualify, you can always purchase a Garden In A Box from us for a very reasonable price.
The Grass to Garden program typically kicks off in early February. The deadline to submit an application is usually March 15th. Also remember that you must complete approximately 75% of your lawn removal before picking up your Garden In A Box in May or early June. Sorry, no acceptions.
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.
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 and time during a phone consultation. If you can’t make it to your designated pickup, we’ll help you find the next closest pickup location.
We have two Garden In A Box varieties to choose from when filling out the application – a garden for full sun (at least 6 hours) spaces, and a garden for part shade (no more than 4 hours) spaces. The full sun option is our Rocky Mountain Retreat garden; the part shade option is our Mountain Shadows garden.
Each garden is designed to cover 100 sq. ft., so you will receive 2 (two) of the same garden through the Grass to Garden program to cover the minimum 200 sq. ft. removed. This totals roughly 54 plants with typically 9-11 varieties of plants. Some substitutions may be made by the nursery. These can be spread out over a much larger space, or you may add supplemental plants if you removed more than 200 sq. ft.
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 mulch the space, and how you’ll adjust your irrigation system and schedule. We need to see that your project will save water!
• Submit a complete application – a missing water utility account number or ‘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 and the participant contract. Your application is not fully approved until you complete the phone consultation and return the signed contract.
Also note that we generally approve 90% of applications as long as they meet the basic project requirements. We do have a limited number of spots available for each participating city.
Lawn Removal Service: FAQs
The Lawn Removal Service is the physical removal and disposal of at least 200 square feet of maintained lawn by sod cutter. The service costs $2 per square foot as measured by our technicians. You may qualify for a 50% discount, up to $500, if offered on behalf of your water utility. Participating utilities are typically announced in February. We will let you know if you’re eligible for the discount by email. 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 acceptions.
Colorado residents who live roughly between Fort Collins and Parker are able to participate. We do our best to get to everyone but our resources are limited and we cannot guarantee the service in all areas. To receive a discount on the Lawn Removal Service, you must be a current customer of a participating water utility. Participating utilities are typically announced each February. Use our Water Eligibility Tool to see which programs you qualify for. You can still receive the Lawn Removal Service if you don’t qualify for the discount, you’ll just have to pay the full price of $2 per square foot.
You only need to submit an application, including project overview and ‘before’ photo, if you are receiving the discount. If you’re paying full price, you can skip the application and complete a quick phone consultation to confirm and schedule your removal service.
We typically start soliciting applications for the discount and scheduling appointments in February. We start physically removing grass in early May and continue through early October, weather permitting. Appointments are only available Monday-Friday during normal business hours.
Nope! We’ve got you covered! 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, 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 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 2 or 3 inches. 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 3-4+ 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.
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 flat (within reason) and sweep up afterwards. The service includes hauling and disposal of the removed sod. We compost nearly all the sod we remove!
At minimum, you’ll want to cover the area with 3-4+ inches of mulch within about a week to prevent weeds and grass from growing back. You should also be prepared to add xeric 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 soil amendments, like compost, but this is not required for most native and xeric plants to thrive.
Still have questions? Email TurfRemoval@ResourceCentral.org or call 303-999-3820 x221.