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Removing or Downsizing Your Lawn

Jun 27, 2016 10:45AM ● Published by Troy McGregor

Are you thinking about removing or downsizing your lawn but are not sure where to start? You are not alone. This is one of the most common questions we’re asked by customers at the Ruth Bancroft Garden and Nursery. The first step is to contact your local water agency and ask about rebates. EBMUD offers generous rebates to replace a lawn, and the Contra Costa Water District (CCWD) will pay you $1 per square foot to replace your existing front lawn with water-wise landscaping. The Ruth Bancroft Garden is a preferred designer with CCWD Landscape Design Assistance Program.

Good design is about more than just plants. Think about how you want to use the new space. Will this be a new gathering place for you and the neighbors, a wildlife habitat, or maybe a cutting garden? If you don’t have a good sense of design (be honest), then it’s time to hire a professional. A two-hour consultation with us can save time from searching the web, flipping through countless magazines, and—most importantly—wasting money due to poor plant and material selection.

We’re fortunate in the East Bay as we’re able to grow a vast range of plants that are not only suited to our Mediterranean climate but are low maintenance. Don’t be put off by clay soil either, as that is easily mitigated with berms, with some exceptions. Berms are essentially mounds of well-drained soil. All plants thrive in berms, especially succulents, CA natives, and members of the Protea family. We’ve worked with Contra Costa Topsoil in Martinez to develop the Bancroft Bedding Blend that is a ready-to-berm soil. We have received glowing feedback as to how well the plants do in the blend in addition to how easy it was to plant in.

For inspiration, plants, and design assistance, visit the Ruth Bancroft Garden and Nursery. We’ll be happy to help you succeed. For more information, call (925) 944-9352 or visit:

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