Converting City Halls to drought-tolerant landscape

On December 2, 2021, the Historic Advisory Board provided comment on the design to convert City Hall West’s lawn to a drought tolerant landscape and asked staff to return with a revised design. Staff brought a revised concept to the HAB on September 1, 2022. A Certificate of Approval for the work to proceed was approved for City Hall West and we now need community input to advance towards final design. Construction is anticipated to begin in December and be complete in the spring of 2023.

Concept design and plant palette
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City Hall West Design Feedback

City Hall West Design Concept

Download a PDF of the design concept for City Hall West




On September 7, 2021, City Council gave staff direction to implement a number of water conservation efforts, including converting the lawn that surrounds City Hall and City Hall West to drought tolerant landscape. Motivating Council’s direction is the ongoing drought state of emergency, Governor Newsom’s call for voluntary reductions, Alameda’s Climate Action and Resiliency Plan’s objective to build resiliency in the face of climate change, and EBMUD’s offering of a new landscape rebate program for lawn conversions to water-wise gardens that thrive in California’s summer-dry climate and during a drought.

On December 2, 2021, the Historical Advisory Board granted a Certificate of Approval for the work to proceed at City Hall. The lawn is now converted to a beautiful drought tolerant landscape. Groundcover plantings are aesthetically grouped to provide flowering color accented with green and gray foliage for visual interest. Additionally, all ground cover plantings selected for the project are evergreen low maintenance species ideally suited for Alameda’s climate. Plants were installed per EBMUD and Bay Friendly Landscape plant spacing principles. This approach to spacing reduces seasonal pruning and trimming debris. The new landscape features numerous species selected to attract pollinators, butterflies, humming birds etc. California Native Milkweed will be grouped in visible areas to serve as a food source for Monarch Butterflies. The project also placed 4 new benches adjacent to the new landscape and cleared out the area on the east side of the building so the picnic table is more usable. The new landscape will save a tremendous amount of water using an underground drip irrigation system operated by an automated, Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (“WELO”) compliant irrigation controller.

City Hall Before & After

City Hall Before


City Hall After



Get Project Updates!

Email Erin Smith, Public Works Director, at or call 510-747-7938.

Rebates available for lawn conversions!

Thinking about converting your lawn or adding efficient irrigation? East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) has rebates up to $2,000 available now through June 30. EBMUD’s landscape rebates support water-wise gardens that thrive in California’s summer-dry climate and during drought. Lower your water bill and conserve water when you convert lawn to sustainable landscape and upgrade to high-efficiency irrigation equipment. Click here to read more.