Water Conservation Frequently Asked Questions

Can I water my trees?
Water your trees, stress your lawn. Grass can be easily replaced if it dies or goes dormant for a year. If you lose a tree, it could be 20+ years before you get the shade it provided back.
Can I replace my lawn with artificial turf?
Replacing grass or natural turf with artificial turf is allowed in Elk Grove. Artificial turf must be pervious surface (allows for water to drain through it into the ground). Many styles of quality artificial turf exist that look great and drains like real grass. It's always important to check CC&Rs if you live in an area governed by an HOA, as specific neighborhoods might have different regulations not enforced by the City of Elk Grove.
Does the City have regulations regarding restricting the replacement of grass to drought friendly landscaping?
It depends on the area of the City. Certain neighborhoods require turf through CC&R’s regulated by their neighborhood associations while others do not have specific regulations.
Where can I find the regulations regarding turf replacement?
Most rules for landscaping can be found in Chapter 23.54 of the Municipal Code. Additional rules apply in some locations. Consult your Homeowners Association (HOA) and/or Neighborhood Association and your home’s CC&R's to determine if any special restrictions exist in your neighborhood.
Does lawn replacement require approval from the Planning Department?
No permits are required unless irrigation is proposed.
Do you have a list of reliable and competent vendors for this kind of project?
As a matter of policy, the City does not provide recommendations for vendors.
I'm on a corner lot. Can I replace the turf outside of my side yard fence?
Turf within landscape easements can be removed, but must be replaced with vegetation and cannot be left as bare dirt. While the City of Elk Grove does not require particular plants for this replacement, it is required that at full maturity, the plants cover at least fifty percent (50%) of the converted area, and that the plants not be high water use or invasive species. A homeowner can use any low and/or medium water use plants to meet this requirement; however, the City highly encourages the use of drought tolerant and native species. An applicant should also consider keeping any existing trees because they provide shade to one's home and landscape.
My property has a meandering/detached sidewalk and there is a strip of turf between that and the street. Can I replace it?
Turf within landscape easements cannot be removed and left as bare dirt. If you want to remove the turf, it must be replaced with plants which, when fully mature, cover at least fifty percent (50%) of the converted area. If you do replace this turf, it’s important to install stepping stones or walkways to allow pedestrian traffic to/from the street to avoid damaging the vegetation.
Why can't I leave these landscape areas as bare dirt?
The City wants to ensure that neighborhoods maintain attractive landscape areas within residential neighborhoods. Trees, shrubs, and groundcovers provide shade, absorb carbon dioxide, supply oxygen, reduce soil erosion, decrease energy use, reduce storm water runoff, reduce fugitive dust, and ultimately save water.
Can I let my lawn die?
While in most cases the City of Elk Grove will not be enforcing Code cases regarding dead lawns, if you do not intend to replace the turf with alternative landscaping, it is recommended that you provide water to your lawn at least once a week to keep it from dying. No matter what, dry vegetation must be maintained to reduce fire danger.
Does the City have any recommendations for replacing my lawn?
There are hundreds of plants that use very little, if any, water. With proper design and plant selection, a homeowner can accomplish almost any look or feel and still save water.

© 2021 City of Elk Grove. All Rights Reserved.