Frequently Asked Questions
Lawn Replacement Program
How do I sign up for the Lawn Replacement Program?
Is this a rebate program?
No, this is not a rebate program. Resource Central and our partners are only offering a discount on services provided.
When does the program start and what are the deadlines?
The Lawn Replacement program typically kicks off in January or early February each year.
Applications are accepted throughout the year until your water provider runs out of available spots. The Lawn Removal Service operates from late 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 10 days before picking up your gardens. No exceptions.
What if I need help designing my project? Do you offer at-home consultations?
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.
If you participate in our programs, you’ll have access to our staff through phone consultations to provide helpful tips and ideas over the phone.
Who can participate? Who qualifies for a discount?
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. Discounted waterwise gardens 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.
Do I have to remove my entire lawn?
No. We believe that there is nothing wrong with practical, useful lawns for entertaining, or playing with kids and pets. You can choose to remove all, or part of your lawn.
We 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!
Is there an option to remove turf myself and utilize my discount on gardens?
Yes. You can apply for our Lawn Replacement program as a do-it-yourself applicant. This means you are interested in removing the turf yourself. Your water provider discount can then be utilized towards gardens while supplies last!
What discounts are available in 2024?
Our regular Lawn Removal Service rate for the 2024 season is $2.50 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 discounted low-water gardens 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.
My water utility doesn't participate in your program. What can I do?
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.
Do I have to submit an application? When will I hear back?
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 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!
What can I do to make sure my application is approved?
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 will slow down the approval process and you may lose your space.
- 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.
Why do I need photos that are without snow and have my project area marked for my contract?
The Lawn Replacement contract requires a photo that has the project area clearly outlined. This helps our team verify the square footage of your project. We also ask that submitted photos don’t have snow. This helps us determine the condition of the turf. We understand that snow can’t be avoided sometimes. Once the snow melts, we will ask for updated photos. If you have old photos of your lawn without snow, that works too!
How do I measure my project area?
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. Please try to provide an accurate measurement of the space. Do not guess!
I don't have an in-ground irrigation system. Can I still participate?
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.
What qualifies as existing, watered and maintained grass?
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.”
How do I get my discounted waterwise garden and irrigation conversion kit?
All gardens will be available for pick up at one of our convenient distribution locations within 15 miles of your city’s center in early June. 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.
Which Garden In A Box will I receive? How large is it?
This season, Lawn Replacement Program participants who qualify will receive a maximum of 300 square feet of waterwise gardens. The sun option is based on the “Golden Hour” garden and the shade option is based on the “Native Shadows” garden. Check out the Garden Store for specifics. Some plant substitutions may be necessary.
I have more questions about the Garden In A Box kits. Where can I find more information?
Our talented Garden In A Box team has an FAQ page of their own. Check it out, give them a call at 303-999-3820 ext. 222, or email them.
I already started or completed removing some lawn. Can I still qualify for the discounted gardens?
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.
Lawn Removal Service
What is the Lawn Removal Service? How much does it cost to remove my lawn? How do I pay?
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 $2.50 per square foot. 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 50% 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.
When can you remove my lawn?
We typically start accepting applications for discounts in January or February. We start physically removing grass in late May and continue through September, weather permitting. Appointments are only available Monday through Friday during normal business hours.
How deep can you cut the lawn? How much material will you remove from the lawn?
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.
Do I need to do anything before you arrive to remove the lawn?
Please remove sticks, loose rocks, pet waste, toys, and any other obstructions before we arrive. 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.
I have trees, roots or a fence in my yard. Will you damage them?
No. We use a machine on grassy areas of your yard only. 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.
Can you cut curves or only straight lines?
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.
Will the grass grow back after you remove it?
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.
What does it look like when you're done removing the lawn?
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.
What should I do after the lawn removal?
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. Remember, we require at least 50% plant material in your new landscape. 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.
Can you remove some lawn at my commercial or industrial property?
Maybe! Drop us a note or give us a call to chat about your commercial project and our availability. Email Us or call 303-999-3820 ext. 221.
Do It Yourself
What is a xeriscape and why should I replace my grass with it?
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:
How should I remove a section of my lawn?
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.
What is an irrigation zone and how do I convert my irrigation system?
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.
Do you offer help with sprinkler conversions, planting, mulching, weeding, or other garden tasks?
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.
Can you recommend a landscaper to help with my project?
We don’t recommend specific landscape contractors. Instead, we encourage you to visit the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado website to find a qualified landscape professional in your area.