Front yard of Juan Jimenez

It took Juan Jimenez about 6 months to finish his front yard on the 300 block of Keystone Avenue in Burbank on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012. Jimenez planted drought¿tolerant plants and added concrete in his front yard to save money on water use. (Raul Roa / Staff Photographer / December 28, 2013)

The incentive for Burbank residents to replace the turf in their yards with drought-tolerant plants just got a little sweeter.

The Burbank City Council signed off on plans last week to double the rebate for water-saving landscapes — raising it from $1 per square foot to $2. And that applies now not only to front yards, but also side and backyards, city officials said.

Since most single-family households use 50% of their water on landscape irrigation, customers who participate could save between 15% and 25% on their monthly water bills with the right plant materials, said Burbank Water and Power spokesman Joe Flores.

“A native landscape garden can be really beautiful and lush, and there’s all kinds of different styles of native land gardens,” Flores said. “Some people have a perception that it can be a cactus garden, but that’s just one particular style.”

When Burbank resident Juan Jimenez replaced the turf on his frontyard with drought-tolerant plants and installed new sprinklers about four years ago, he said he realized a $40 savings on his water bill each month.

The Metropolitan Water District will subsidize half of the cost of the rebate and provide the manpower to work with Burbank customers, while Burbank Water and Power will foot the bill for the other half of the rebate.

Anticipating more interest among residents, the utility plans to commit $75,000 to the rebate program.

That means residents can pocket hundreds of dollars by relandscaping their gardens, depending on the size of their lawns.

Since the rebate program began a year ago, 30 households have transformed their gardens, and 15 more are in the process of making the change.

The rebate increase was approved by the council in a 4-1 vote, with Councilman David Gordon being the sole dissenter.

The utility also offers “how-to” landscaping workshops to cover turf removal, with the next one taking place from 9 a.m. to noon on Jan. 11.

For more information, visit burbankwaterandpower.com or call (818) 238-3730.

--

Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.


ALSO:

2013 Newsmaker: Burbank couple fought civil rights battle that changed the nation

Burbank man pleads not guilty in swastika vandalism case

Early morning high-speed chase ends in freeway crash