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Davis Journal

The ‘Flip Your Strip’ program reimburses homeowners for adding water-wise landscaping

Jun 06, 2022 01:42PM ● By Kerry Angelbuer

The water-sucking grass between the road and the sidewalk found in most homes uses 5,000-8,000 gallons of water each summer to maintain. The extreme drought has sparked a rebate program described in Homeowners can receive up to $1.25 per square foot for replacing their lawn strip with a more water-efficient design. This can translate into hundreds of dollars depending on length and breadth of the area. Throwing in rock and a few boulders will not qualify for the program. The new strip design must be half covered by small, water-wise plants, in fact the program offers a class to learn to design and drip irrigate a new strip. 

Designing a more water-wise strip will improve the overall beauty of the yard. It can be hard to keep grass in the strip looking healthy. The strip is often walked on, visited by grass killing pets and exposed to high temperatures radiated from the nearby concrete and pavement. Imagine a strip with some natural rock placed periodically for ease of traversing surrounded by flowers that bloom every year in their season (perennials) or flowering ground cover. Bulbs, like tulips, daffodils and hyacinths only require water from the snow melt and spring rain before going dormant for the summer and can be used here and there. Smaller bushes can add height interest as well as evergreen leaves or blossoms. Walkers will enjoy the increased beauty and variety as homeowner’s flip their strips.

To qualify for the program, the strip currently must be filled with living, well-maintained grass and the homeowner must be in good standing with the water provider. If required by governmental code to have xeriscape in the strip, the homeowner would not qualify for the rebate, so participation must be voluntary. Artificial turf is not an acceptable alternative. At least half the strip must be covered by perennial (lasting for years) plants that do not exceed two feet. Keeping views clear will enhance safety of pedestrians and bicyclists. The remaining strip can be covered with a few inches of gravel, bark, composted mulch or a 100% ground-covering plant like vinca or thyme. No concrete is allowed, but bricks, pavers or stone can be added for part of the strip. Trees can stay or be planted but must be watered by drip irrigation. Always choose trees with mannerly roots near standing concrete so that the roots don’t eventually lift and destroy the level surface. Low-volume drip irrigation with a filter and pressure regulators complete the design. 

If you don’t speak plant, website has created some strip plans that can be adapted to any area. Multicolor bricks lining beds of ornamental grasses and perennials like yarrow, mint, red yucca and daisies can give season-long color. A shadier conversion going between existing trees can include blue plumbago, geranium, columbine and the speedwell ground cover. Some companies, like Rip Your Strip, have taken up the challenge of helping you transform your strip and claim your rebate. A homeowner has six-months from the time of application to complete the project to receive the rebate. l