How do I replace my traditional front lawn with a drought tolerant design?

The City of Alhambra as well as the rest of the State of California is experiencing one of the worst droughts on record. In an effort to help city residents reduce their water consumption, the City revised the landscape standards in 2015 to allow for more drought-tolerant front yard designs. These revised standards allow residents to improve their front yard landscaping and water practices while beautifying their homes and neighborhoods. One of the revised standards now includes limits to how much decorative/permeable hardscape and how much non-decorative hardscape is allowed within the front yard. Decorative/permeable hardscape is limited to no more than 25% coverage of the front yard. Stepping stones, mulch, and decomposed granite are some examples of decorative/permeable hardscape. Non-decorative hardscape is also limited to no more than 25% coverage of the front yard. Walkways and driveways are examples of non-decorative hardscape. In addition to these standards, the revised standards now allow the use of artificial turf.
To start the process, the Planning Division will need to review and approve a detailed landscape plan. This landscape plan should include the following information:
  • Lot dimensions
  • Location of house and garage
  • Front yard measurements
  • The area of live plant material with dimensions (shall be no less than 50% of front yard:
         -Name of plants
        -Size of plants
         -Quantity of each plant type
  • The area of decorative/permeable hardscape (no more than 25% of front yard)
         -Width, length, and total square feet of decorative/permeable hardscape
        -Description of materials to be used
  • The area of non-decorative hardscape (no more than 25% of front yard)
        -Driveway width, length, and total square feet of area
        -Walkway width, length, and total square feet of area
        -Width, length, and total square feet of any additional non-decorative hardscape

Drought Tolerant Plants List

Landscape Plan Checklist

Landscape Brochure