Design Requirements

Before you complete the application for this program you must read and understand these Design Requirements as well as the Terms and Conditions and the Process Guidelines.

The first step of FYI is attending a Design Workshop. There you will receive guidance on creating a design and learn more about the FYI process. After you attend the workshop, you will be asked to submit your design online.

The design MUST include the eight (8) items discussed on the following page.

Remember: You have NOT yet been approved for funding. You cannot be approved until the UC approves the design of your improvements. So IF you begin work on your new improvements before the design is approved, you do so prior to a commitment from the UC to provide an incentive.

The design you submit to us is the design that must be installed. For example, the UC will not be required to make the FYI payment if the installed improvement is not the same as the approved design. Read carefully the Terms and Conditions for more information.

A professionally-drawn design is NOT required: A simple, hand-drawn design is fine, showing the pavement to be removed, and any other improvements such as landscaping (if applicable) to be added. The UC assumes most of the designs submitted to us will be simple drawings done by your typical homeowner. The drawing must show enough detail to illustrate the overall project design.

If, after reading these requirements, you have any questions about what’s required here please contact us at or 504-717-6187.

What to Include in Your Design

As mentioned, the drawing can be done by a non-professional and by hand. Although the drawing does not have to be at a high level of detail, it should show enough detail to illustrate the overall project design.

Your drawing must comply with the following:

  1. Your design MUST include your name and the street address of the project, so we are able to match your drawing with your application
  1. Your drawing MUST show exactly where the new improvements will be in relation to large, existing fixtures such as the street, sidewalk, driveway, home, etc.
  1. In addition to showing these large existing features, the drawing must provide the measurements (or size) of the area to be improved, in square feet. If you are eventually approved for an Incentive payment, the payment cannot be for more landscape than was approved on your application and design.
  1. Your drawing MUST label the plants that you will include in the improvements. Plants should be native and/or water-loving.
  1. If the full names of the plants will not fit on the drawing, feel free to use a code for the plants on the drawing, adding the associated plant names on a separate piece of paper.
  1. Only Louisiana-friendly plants may be installed as part of this project.
  1. Your drawing MUST show that you have less than 40% of your front yard covered in impervious surfaces.
  1. There can be no bare soil or installation of non-permeable (material water cannot easily penetrate) hardscape such as a concrete patio or walkway.

Helpful Tips for Landscaping

Group by Hydrozones

Plants are often categorized by how much water they require, or their hydrozone. When designing your garden it is wise to group together plants that have similar watering needs.

Capture Runoff

Slowing down the flow of runoff through your landscape will allow more of it to infiltrate into the groundwater. This can be accomplished through the use of groundcovers, but also with a series of rocks and boulders to create a “dry streambed.” If your property is sloped, towards the street, you may want to install an infiltration basin, an underground layer of sand, gravel or other coarse material.


When planning your garden, consider how much sun different areas of your garden will receive.


Many Louisiana native plants have wonderful blooms that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Tubular flowers are the perfect fit for a hummingbird’s beak and the same bright colors that attract them also look great in your garden. Also, some plants with thorns or strong scents can be used to deter undesired animals such as stray cats


Everyone has heard of spring flowers; however there are many plants that bloom during other seasons. You may want to select plants that bloom during the winter to brighten up your garden during gray days, or autumn bloomers to give your garden a “fall feel.” Your garden doesn’t have to be stark or bare during the other 3 seasons!

Maximum Size

When placing plants, it is important to consider their maximum size. We all want our gardens to be healthy, and that means that the plants will grow! Be sure to allow adequate space between plants and away from buildings to avoid problems later on. If you feel that your garden looks too sparse, you can always sprinkle wildflower seeds in for a seasonal burst of color!


Believe it or not, there are times when watering is necessary even in a city that receives 62” of rain annually.  There are many irrigation options available. It is important to consider the slope and flow paths of your property as well as the placement and root systems of your plants. Drip irrigation, bubblers, and hand watering are all efficient ways to irrigate your garden.