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L.A. Residents Get Paid To Cut Lawns — Permanently

Homeowners can receive up to $4,000 for replacing their lawns with less thirsty plantings, in a rebate program run by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Homeowners can receive up to $4,000 for replacing their lawns with less thirsty plantings, in a rebate program run by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Faced with persistent drought and water-usage concerns, the city of Los Angeles is paying property owners to replace their grassy lawns with heartier plants, such as shrubs, trees, and perennials. The city's water utility is hoping to boost the successful program by raising its offer, to $2 a square foot from $1.50, reports member station KPCC.

The four-year-old program "will also kick in money for using weather-based irrigation systems and eco-friendly sprinkler heads," KPCC's Pacific Swell blog reports. So far, it has resulted in 1.5 million square feet of turf grass being replaced.

The city's Department of Water and Power says the rebate is capped at $4,000 for each property.

The options for replacing grass range from permeable walkways and mulch to trees. Many "California Native" plants are favored, such as California redbud shrubs, coffee berry, live oaks, and sycamore trees. That's from a water conservation website recommended by the utility.

KPCC says about 850 homeowners and commercial property owners have taken the city up on its offer since 2009.

Similar programs are in place around the nation, including areas in Missouri, Maryland, and Texas.

Sunset magazine offers a selective listing of such programs around the West.

And our colleagues at NPR's Here & Now have advice on "how to garden in drought and heat," from Ahmed Hassan, an expert who has hosted several landscaping shows on the DIY network and HGTV.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit www.npr.org.

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