Lawn Installation and Permits

Greeley Water and Sewer grants variances and permits for residents/businesses with reason to water outside of established restrictions. Residents, owners, or property managers must apply for these variances and post them in a front window or other visible location. All permits are subject to approval by Water and Sewer staff. Once the paperwork is completed, visit our office at 1100 10th Street, 3rd floor to receive your permit.

In 2017, it is essential that single-family-residential customers on the water budget get a variance when installing a new lawn. This will set a uniform water rate for the establishment of the new grass. If procedures below are not followed, you’ll go over budget for the additional irrigation. Here are some guidelines and best practices to new lawn installation on a water budget.

New Lawn Variance

Greeley residents must get a permit (variance) when planting new seed or sod to water the lawn outside of watering restrictions. Without a permit, residents must follow Greeley’s watering schedule or risk fines. Permits must be obtained when landscaping a new home or planting seed or sod in an established yard.

In order to acquire a permit, the city requires residents to prepare the soil with compost (organic matter). When soil is properly prepared, the landscape retains water and diminishes runoff from the lawn onto paved surfaces. Soil in Greeley is mostly clay with pockets of sandy soil. Both sand and clay are minerals that lack organic matter. Compost is a mixture of decayed organic matter used for fertilizing and conditioning soil. It promotes microbiological activity in soils necessary for healthy growth.

Apply for a variance

To apply, either the homeowner or landscape installer must bring the following items to our office:

  • an original receipt/invoice for seed or sod
  • an original receipt/invoice for compost (not top soil or fertilizer)
  • a photo of rototilling or receipt of tiller purchase/rental
  • a sprinkler permit number (if applicable )

There is no fee for a variance.

The permit will be issued at the time of application. A member of our staff will perform a visual inspection of the new lawn within two days. If the lawn installation is found to be in non-compliance, the variance will be revoked.


Compost must be added at a minimum rate of four cubic yards per 1,000 square feet of area. It must be spread evenly on top of the existing soil (approximately 1.5 inches deep), then rototilled in to a depth of six to eight inches. Additional lawn establishment benefits are attained by adding up to six cubic yards per 1,000 square feet and/or adding super phosphate or triple-super phosphate for root growth. Phosphate should be spread on top of compost immediately before tilling it into the soil.

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Large Property Permit

If you manage a homeowners association, apartment, trailer park, business, educational institution, or other large commercial property, you may be eligible for a large property watering permit. Your property must be larger than four acres and you must not be able to sufficiently water within the allotted days. (This program is not available to individual homeowners.) 

Some government properties and quasi-government areas such as UNC, Aims Community College, School District 6, parks, golf courses, county facilities, and other city properties have made arrangements with us and/or have applied for large property permits. This is largely due to the fact that they have large areas of turf that they can not physically accomplish watering within the established schedule. These sites have heavier traffic; sometimes lawn irrigation needs to work around scheduled activities.

If you would like to apply for a large property permit, please call 970-334-4134.

Special Circumstances Variances

The City of Greeley gives other permits to customers who are unable to follow established watering days. These permits don't give applicants additional watering days; they alter the schedule to accommodate special needs. Applicants must follow all watering regulations and follow the schedule per their application. Below are common reasons to apply for the variance:

  • long- or short-term medical hardship
  • watering schedule conflicts with worship days
  • ET controller/other sprinkler clock issue
  • scheduling conflict (extended absence, business hours/days, sport field schedule)

If you would like to apply for one of these permits, please call 970-334-4134. 


Contact Us

Greeley Water and Sewer

1100 10th Street, Suite 300
Greeley, CO 80631

Monday - Friday 8am - 5pm

970-350-9811 tel
970-350-9805 fax

Water Conservation

970-336-4168 for Water Budget


Water 8am-5pm 970-350-9811
Sewer 7am-3pm 970-350-9322
after hours970-350-9600

Other Numbers

start or stop service970-350-9720
water taste or odor970-350-9324
water pressure970-350-9320
water restrictions & violations970-336-4134
utility line locates811

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