DAVE & DUJANOVIC

You can get paid to rip out your lawn with xeriscaping in southern Utah

Jun 29, 2021, 5:58 PM | Updated: 7:58 pm

utah xeriscaping...

FILE: A xeriscaped yard in the Avenues of Salt Lake City on May 30, 2005. Washington County residents could soon get an incentive to replace their grassy lawns with xeriscaping. Photo: Tom Smart, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Due to the exceptional drought affecting Utah and the West and local limits on residential water use, you have cut back on watering your lawn. Now it’s yellow. What if you got rid of your lawn forever, xeriscaping it instead and putting in native Utah plants — and got paid for doing it?

Zach Renstrom, general manager of  the Washington County Water Conservancy District, joined Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic to discuss that possibility. A program for Washington County residents allows them to get paid for replacing their lawn with xeriscaping, meaning ditching grassy lawns for drought-tolerant native Utah plants.

Renstrom said the district is conducting a survey to determine the costs and benefits of paying residents to pull up their lawns and also studying the successes and drawbacks that other similar agencies have found with their lawn-removal programs.

Related: Governor Cox asks business owners to take an ‘H2Oath’ to conserve water

Lose the green, get some green

“But it’s just a matter of time before we start paying people down here in St. George and Washington and Hurricane to rip out their lawn,” Renstrom said.

“What are we talking about financially? I mean, are we talking hundreds of dollars or more?” Dave asked.

“Preliminarily, our boards looking at paying individuals $1 per square foot,” Renstrom said. “It won’t pay for the full amount to have — let’s say a landscaper and come and rip out your lawn. It’s more of an incentive just to encourage those individuals that are thinking about it. Hopefully this will push them over to rip out that lawn and replace it with more water-wise efficient landscaping.”

Choose plants, scrubs and trees from the desert

“What would qualify as water-wise?” Dave asked.

“There are certain trees that can handle the hot weather down here. Also, there’s certain types of shrubs that do very well. And of course, cactuses or Joshua trees would also qualify,” Renstrom said.

“A lot of rock would qualify, too?” Debbie asked. After all, rocks don’t require watering.

“We don’t want to just simply put rock in there because you do have a heat effect of that where the rock will absorb the heat,” Renstrom said. “So it’s not so much just ripping out and just putting rock there. We really want people to replace that with some type of shading materials so we don’t have a hot environment.”

Southern Utah trends: Xeriscaping and smaller lawns

To provide your lawn with 1 inch of water takes a little over half a gallon per square foot (0.623 gallon to be more exact). That means a 100-foot by 100-foot lawn uses 6,230 gallons of water every time you turn on the sprinklers, according to Today’s Homeowner.

“The average lawn square footage in Utah is about 2,300 square feet, Zach. That is a lot of lawn. Are you going to be paying people $2,300 if it’s $1 per square foot?” Debbie asked.

“Down in our neck of the woods, we have actually less lawn than that,” Renstrom said. “We have about half the amount of lawn as compared to somebody up on the Wasatch Front. But yeah, it could go into the thousands of dollars per lot.”

“Is it all or nothing?” Dave asked. “Like you’ve got to rip out your entire yard? Or would it be, hey, if you at least do 500 square feet, then we’ll do a partial payment?” 

“That’s part of the study that we’re conducting right now and asking individuals. I would say we’re leaning towards: you have to tear out at least a minimum amount,” Renstrom said.

No grass lawn ever

“If I were to rip out my lawn if I lived in St. George, and then I decided I didn’t like it. And I decided that I wanted to replace it again with grass, would I be allowed to do that?” Debbie asked.

“You’d most likely have to sign a document saying you would never put grass back in your front yard,” Renstrom said. And not only that, it would actually go be recorded the recorder’s office. So if you sold your home, the new homeowners wouldn’t be able to just come in replace it with grass.”

 

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, a.s well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Dave & Dujanovic

UTA Frontrunner commuter rail. UTA Plans to address delays by updating cars and adding a new line t...

Curt Gresseth

UTA boss talks about train delays, says improvements coming

Despite frustrating delays, UTA has a 90 percent "on-time" record, says the executive officer.

15 hours ago

social media...

Curt Gresseth and Don Brinkerhoff

Senate committee OK changes to Utah’s Social Media Regulations Act

A Utah lawmaker discusses his social media bill aimed to protect children while parents and a teen testify about loss of a son to suicide and the pain of addiction.

5 days ago

The IRS is writing checks for smaller tax refunds this year, but a Utah expert says it's still earl...

Curt Gresseth

Tax refunds are about 30% smaller than last year — but it’s early

The IRS is writing checks for smaller tax refunds this year, but it's still early in the tax season.

7 days ago

secret spending...

Curt Gresseth

Are you hiding secret spending from your spouse?

Are you a secret spender in a relationship? A national expert on personal finance offers help for couples caught up in financial infidelity.

9 days ago

Utah's First Lady Abby Cox will host the second annual Show up for Teachers Conference on Wednesday...

Curt Gresseth

Governor encouraging couples to check out virtual date night — tonight

The governor and first lady invite Utah couples to enjoy the fun of a virtual date night while learning how to make a marriage grow strong over time.

12 days ago

A Cuban woman and her daughter wait in line to be escorted to a Border Patrol van for processing in...

Curt Gresseth

Rep. Moore explains his ‘no’ vote on Mayorkas impeachment

Utah Republican Rep. Blake Moore explains why he switched his yes vote to no during the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

14 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

You can get paid to rip out your lawn with xeriscaping in southern Utah