Conventional lawns aren’t so much in style these days, at least here in Northern California. They require a lot of maintenance and are often frowned on because they suck up a lot of water. They’re just not very sustainable. More often than not, my clients tend to favor drought tolerant native plants and grasses. If they are to have some traditional lawn, they typically limit it to a small area, though there are exceptions. Meadow gardens are in favor these days.
As an aside, this article from Cecil Adams at The Straight Dope says Americans likely burn more than 600 million gallons of gasoline a year cutting the grass (thanks to Michelle at Fine Gardening for the link).
There are a variety of environmentally friendly options. One product I’ve come across is called Eco-Lawn. They call it the “ultimate low-maintenance drought-tolerant lawn.” Eco-lawn was first was brought to my attention by Miriam Goldberger. It seems to be catching on and — check out this video — has even received attention from Martha Stewart. I like it.
I’ve used the “no-mow” lawn before with good results. The Eco lawn uses less water – a big plus – but is available as seed – not sod. You can use it in the shade, in part-shade or in full sun
This is some “eco-lawn” we seeded at a site in Napa. It is still growing in. It looks great, uses less water, and doesn’t require one of those gas-sucking lawn mowers either.