Santa Ana Water Smart Landscapes

Landscape GardenWelcome to Santa Ana’s California-friendly landscape webpage, with information and resources to help you transform your yards into beautiful, “Water Smart” gardens.

With the serious drought California is currently experiencing, it is more important than ever to conserve
the large amount of water normally used to maintain grass lawns. You can help be a part of the solution by replacing your grass areas to landscape designs and plants that require less water.

A number of resources, tools, and landscaping tips are available to assist residents and businesses in transitioning from lawn to drought-tolerant garden. Information about the City's current water regulations, as well as sample designs and gardening resources are available in the "Quick Links" box to the right.

City Landscape Design Guidelines

Description: cid:image004.jpg@01D1ECA4.F7FB0570In response to the extreme drought conditions throughout California and the State of Emergency declared by the Governor in 2014, landscape policies have been modified to allow drought-tolerant landscape throughout the City.  

The City Landscape Guidelines provides direction regarding required landscape planting and “ground cover” on private property.

The use of synthetic turf is allowed as a landscape design feature provided it does not exceed 50 percent of the landscape area. For more information, please consult our Synthetic Turf Design Guidelines.

A parkway generally refers to the narrow piece of land between the street and sidewalk. Traditionally, they have been planted with grass and include a street tree. While these strips of area are owned by the City, it is the duty of the public to maintain and improve these parkways. For more information on parkways, please consult our Parkway Improvement Guidelines.

Sample Landscape Designs & Gardens

Below you can find sample designs and gardens to provide some ideas for designing your Water Smart landscape project.


Sample Design #1

Sample Garden #1

Sample Design #2

Sample Garden #2

Sample Design #3

Sample Garden #3

Sample Design #4

Sample Garden #4

Selecting the Right Plants

There are a number of websites to help guide you through the Water Smart landscape design process. Two helpful sites are: and South Coast Water Smart Gardening. In addition to photos of beautiful landscapes, both sites have extensive online databases of drought-tolerant plants, including photos and information about the plants, whether they attract wildlife, and more.

Turf Removal Rebate ProgramDescription:

While they may look nice, lawns of turf or grass are water guzzlers. Santa Ana is partnering with the Metropolitan Water District on a Turf Removal Program which offers rebates for grass removed and replaced with drought-tolerant landscape.

Resources & Training

If you find yourself in need of some assistance while creating your garden, please consult the following for helpful resources and training:


Choosing the Right Irrigation

Help Your Trees Survive The Drought

Save Water and Save Trees During the Drought

Water Shortage Regulations

City of Santa Ana continues to be committed to reduce water usage and a sustainability future. According to a study done in 2013, about 67% of all water consumed in Santa Ana is from residential dwellings. To help conserve our state and local water resources, there are regulations on water consumption for Santa Ana residences and business.