When we moved in we heard about a lawn removal rebate program where the Santa Clara Valley Water District would pay the consumer $2 per square foot to rip out your lawn and replace it with drought tolerant plants. After looking into it online (it is pretty complicated) we decided to go for it. We scheduled our pre-inspection and they only had times during weekdays. Those pesky kids keep showing up to learn on weekdays so that posed a problem. Thankfully, my dad was able to come and be present for our pre-inspection. They measured our lawn and told us we would get $1,300 to rip it our and replace. Yes!
Then we had to fill out an extensive application with a diagram on the yard, and list what plants off their list we would be using. After we got the Notice to Proceed we went to A-Tool Shed and renting a lawn cutter. This is a tool I didn’t even know existed. It is basically a giant horizontal blade that jiggles back and forth to end up cutting a strip on lawn out that you can roll up like carpet. That’s the idea anyway.
We had not been watering our lawn for a LONG time (sorry neighbors) so it was extremely dry. When we used the sod cutter it did not roll up like it was supposed to. Instead it crumbled everywhere. This was not a pretty process. Eventually we got it all out and then rototilled the crap out of it.
Next Todd and my dad tore out the really bumpy and uneven brick front walk, which was a huge safety hazard. We decided to replace the front walk with large rectangle steps made of brick that were framed in pressure treated wood. Unfortunately, the days that Todd and my dad worked on this were the hottest days of the year. 100 degrees plus some. They were baking and sweating. In one weekend they managed to put in two of the three steps the made up the middle walkway. But, we had decided to extend the walk way toward the driveway since we always used to cut across the grass anyways and extend it to the side yard since that is how we get to the basement. This made 10 rectangle steps total!
We started to get worried about making our deadline for the rebate. Thankfully, Todd’s dad Bill came to the rescue. He is doing a remodel on his house has a crew of guys he knows and trusts. He had them come over and complete the remaining steps and they even put the doors on the front of our washer and dryer in the kitchen! Yay! That had been on our to do list for awhile! Thanks Bill and Lisa for the early Christmas gift!
Then Todd went to work on the irrigation. We had to convert the pop up sprinklers to either micro-sprayers, soaker hose, or drip tubing. This was hard work that took Todd a long time and was very complicated since we used a mix of all three kinds of approved irrigation. We also bought a new irrigation timer that is water wise called a Rachio. This new water wise timer also gets a rebate as well. The Rachio uses the wifi of our house to go online and get weather data for our area. So, if it rains the Rachio knows and will automatically turn itself off for the correct amount of days depending on how much it rained. Crazy!
After the irrigation was done, we started building mounds out of dirt for visual interest and then…planting!!! We planted mostly low ground covers that will eventually spread out in a carpet like manner. On the mounds we planted a variety of drought resistant plants from the approved plant list. My parents also kept finding and buying great plants when they were out and about. When we asked how much they cost, so we could pay them back, they said that the plants were mysteriously free! Thanks Mom and Papa! We want to put a small tree on the top of each mound but we have not found ones we like yet. We also have been bringing back interesting rocks from Lake Almanor to put around the yard for some hardscape as well. Last, we bought two new large pots to put on either side of the new front steps and we planted those with a variety of plants as well.
Then we scheduled our post inspection and again they only had weekday middle of the day times. Lucky for us my dad could be there for the post inspection. We passed! Yay, we should get a check in early 2016.