More Turf More Work
Landscape design has traditionally been focused around lawns. The truth is, when a lawn is designed into a landscape, more work, fertilizer, weed killer and especially water come with it.
Modern, sustainable design has moved past installing turf lawns just to simply look at. Turf lawns are great when they serve a function and are used by children, pets or for outdoor activities, but the days of boring, thirsty grass taking space for the sake of convention are coming to an end.
If a lawn is functional and makes sense in a design, then sustainability can be maximized by limiting turf to less than 25% of the total irrigated area.
While artificial turf can save water and fertilizer, it is generally not a good sustainable alternative because it does not support the ecosystem. It does not work in harmony with nature. It is a dead material. It does not support soil health, it is not recyclable, it does not breakdown, it does not provide habitat and it can even get hot enough to cause burns.
An effective and reduced-labor method of switching from lawn to garden is called sheet mulching. It involves laying a biodegradable material like cardboard over lawn and weeds to block light, then placing compost and mulch down, followed by plantings.