Wells Branch Wild:
Is your lawn ready to go native?

Wells Branch residents can receive up to $3,000 to remove their lawns in favor of drought-tolerant landscaping ($100 per 100 square feet converted (500 square feet minimum))!  This can be a DIY Project, or you can hire a landscape company to do the work for you.  The City of Austin (COA) is looking for wood-mulched landscapes with native and drought-tolerant plants. Water Conservation program participants must meet all eligibility requirements and receive water from Austin Water or the Wells Branch MUD, an certified water provider. Wells Branch residents are eligible for this program because the Wells Branch MUD buys water from COA (even though you pay your water bill to Crossroads Utility Services).  Below are the steps required to receive the rebate.

  1. Sign up online at www.waterwiseaustin.org.  You will need to upload photos of your lawn that you intend to remove and provide a measurement of the area. You can follow up with a planting list later if you aren’t sure yet what you want to plant. If you have any questions about this program, you can call Chris Charles from the COA at 512-972-0366.
  2. Receive a letter of Approval from the COA BEFORE you get starteNote:  You will also need approval from the Wells Branch Architectural Control Committee (http://www.wellsbranchmud.com/acc).
  3. Lawn removal – The EASIEST and least toxic way to remove your lawn is to mow the area short, cover the entire area with flattened cardboard boxes patchwork style, and then apply a 6-inch layer of mulch on top of the cardboard boxes. The layer of cardboard and mulch will kill off your grass. Cardboard boxes can be picked up FREE from local businesses, on Craigslist, or on our Facebook Buy Nothing Group. Wood mulch can be received FREE from Chipdrop.com. The mulch comes from local tree-trimming companies. To see an example of what this FREE mulch looks like you can see it at 14453 Robert I. Walker Blvd, or call Karen Buerkle 512-775-1105 to take a private tour of her yard. You must wait for the mulch to be delivered and this can take some time, so be prepared to be patient and use the time to collect as many cardboard boxes as you can.
  4. Install plants within the date range specified by the city in your letter of approval. If you haven’t already, send a list of native Texas and drought-tolerant plants you intend to install in your yard for approval. Visit the COA plant guide for inspiration: https://www.austintexas.gov/department/grow-green/plant-guide
  5. Once approved, purchase your plants and save all receipts as you must submit them to the COA. If you hire a contractor instead of DIYing the project, you will need to provide their paid-in-full receipts as well.
  6. Email to the COA photos of the completed project with receipts, and paid-in-full contractor invoices if used. Rebate checks will be mailed within 6-8 weeks.
  7. Once completed, we would love for you to register your Garden as a Wildlife Habitat!

Click HERE to download the wildlife habitat checklist.  You may be much closer to certifying than you realize!  Feel free to contact me (jdzurenko@gmail.com) for any certification questions you might have!

Wells Branch Wild Conservancy’s mission is to lead, inspire, and engage our community in stewardship of a healthy and sustainable ecosystem. Follow us on Instagram (@wellsbranchwild).  Follow us on Facebook (wellsbranchwild).

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