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Guidelines for Decorative Lawns in Commercial & Municipal Areas

To prevent future water waste, Marin Water prohibits the use of its water for irrigating any new ornamental lawn in commercial and municipal landscapes. This prohibition applies only to new and rehabilitated commercial and municipal areas, and not to residential properties or recreational areas.  (Ordinance No. 459

What types of commercial and municipal landscapes does the prohibition apply to? 

The rule applies to new and rehabilitated landscapes that require plan review by the District. Projects required to undergo landscape plan review include new construction projects with landscape areas of 500 square feet or more, and rehabilitated landscape projects of 1,000 square feet or more. 

Why is the prohibition in place? 

The District hopes to discourage new installations of purely decorative grass around business complexes and in street medians by restricting use of the District’s potable and recycled water supplies for grass care and maintenance.  

The District has previously identified non-functional turf as a key area of opportunity where greater water savings can be achieved to preserve the District’s supplies for other more beneficial uses.  

If not lawn, what recommended water-efficient landscape alternatives should I consider? 

Visit our WaterSmart Gardening Resource Center for guidance on designing and selecting plants for your landscape project.