L.A. homeowners can trade green (lawns) for green (cash). 

If you live in L.A., here's an easy green-for-green trade: replace your lush Bermuda Grass with less-thirsty shrubs and bushes, and get a healthy incentive to make it worth your while. The city of Los Angeles and several other cities in drought-plagued Southern California are actually paying homeowners to lower their monthly water bill.

In the four years since the program launched, around 850 homeowners have taken the offer, re-landscaping a total of 1.5 million square feet of grass within the city. And the L.A. Department of Water and Power, the country's largest municipal utility, recently announced plans to up their offer from $1.50 per square foot to an even $2.

Incentives vary by jurisdiction. Pasadena and Burbank both offer $1 per square foot, while Long Beach tops the list at $3. In general, these programs require pre-approval from the city before work is begun. 

But, beware, the offers are also idiosyncratic. Pasadena forbids the use of artificial turf, while Glendale limits it to backyards. And most programs are explicitly looking to avoid tricksters. You have to prove your lawn is alive before you can get funds to kill it.

Top Image: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters.

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