Rainscaping Lincoln 2020 Sustainable Landscapes Cost Share Program

Learn how you can be reimbursed up to $2000 for installing a water quality project on your property!

We are no longer accepting applications.

Due to stormwater runoff, many pollutants typical in urban areas have been found in our local waterways. The entire city benefits when residents take steps to prevent water from leaving their property and entering the storm drains.

The City of Lincoln Watershed Management Division is offering a rebate of up to $2000 to Lincoln property owners for approved rainscaping projects. The program reimburses participants for 50 percent of qualifying expenses related to these projects. The goal of this program is to improve water quality, reduce runoff, and facilitate infiltration. Participants may do the work themselves or hire an approved professional.

Funding for this program is provided by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District and the City of Lincoln. Lower Platte South Natural Resources District logoNebraska Department of Environmental Quality logo

What are rainscapes?

Rainscapes are beautiful, as well as functional, landscaping projects designed to capture and infiltrate stormwater runoff. They help improve water quality by preventing pollutants from leaving your property and reaching the storm drains. Rainscapes are also more sustainable than traditional landscaping because they utilize native plants, which require less water and fewer pesticides. Projects include rain gardens or bioswales, waterwise lawns, and pavement removal.

BMP Design Guidelines (335 K) PDF


To qualify for the program, you must:

  • Live within the Lincoln city limits See Map
  • Own property where the project will take place
  • Submit an application and have it approved by City Staff *
  • Complete qualifying project within the allotted time frame
  • Provide photo documentation
  • Maintain the project for a minimum of 5 years

* Application must be approved and an agreement must be signed before work on the project can begin.

Do you live outside of Lincoln? Check out the LPSNRD Rain-ready Landscapes Program

Additional requirements:

  • Rainscaping projects (except waterwise lawns) cannot be in the public right-of-way or directly above buried utilities.
  • All projects must comply with restrictive covenants (where applicable) and local ordinances.
  • Rainscaping projects and add-ons must be designed and installed as per the BMP Design Guidelines PDF and other educational materials provided by City.

Cost Share Timeline

Application Period

March 2 to April 24, 2020

The application period has closed.

Project Installation

May to September 2020

Completion Deadline

October 23, 2020

1. Choose one or more of the following approved projects

Rain Garden or Bioswale

A rain garden temporarily holds stormwater runoff in a shallow depression planted with native perennials and grasses. Similar to a rain garden, a bioswale slows the flow of stormwater runoff within a shallow channel. Both improve water quality by allowing more stormwater runoff to soak into the ground. They are dry most of the time and only hold water immediately following a rain event.

Waterwise Lawn

Native turfgrasses and soil quality restoration combine to create a Waterwise lawn. Native turfgrasses, such as buffalograss, are deep rooting and require less water than a traditional lawn. Adding organic matter to the compacted clay soils typically found in Lincoln helps more rain soak in where it lands, instead of running off and keeps your lawn healthy with less maintenance.

Pavement Removal

Impervious surfaces prevent water from soaking into the ground. By removing 100 ft2 or more of unwanted pavement and replacing it with vegetation or a permeable paver system, you can reduce the amount of stormwater runoff produced on your property.

2. Choose add-ons (included in maximum reimbursement amount)

Rain Barrels

Rain barrels capture and store stormwater runoff from your roof. Add up to 2 rain barrels to your project. Rain barrels must be standard sized (40 to 60 gallons).

Reimbursable Expenses (142 K) PDF


With their large canopies and deep roots, trees can help slow the flow of stormwater runoff. Add up to 2 approved trees to your project. Purchase price cannot exceed $300 per tree.

Reimbursable Expenses (235 K) PDF