A week or so ago my mom and I attacked the parking strip in front of the house with spades and removed 8-10 linear feet of sod. It was hot, and the dogs were antsy and I stopped every 8-10 minutes to rest or pull the dogs apart and to top it off I got sunburned in the one spot I forgot to put sunscreen - the front of my neck. I knew a gas-powered sod cutter would make short work of the lawn, but they're big, super heavy and noisy and I wasn't sure I could deal with all that. Not to mention the logistical transportation nightmare. My dad just wanted the project (at least the sod removal part) done with and after an hour of the two of us pushing and pulling the monster around the front (and the back of the back) yard we were. The next few hours my mom, dad and I carried all that sod to the side of the house and placed it dirt side up over the grass/weeds in the adjoining vacant lot. It rained the entire time and it was dirty work but look at the results. A beautiful yard of dirt!
So far that's all it is, dirt, and bad dirt at that. It just crumbled in my hands as I lifted the sod. Even though it was raining, and had been raining on and off all week, the dirt 2 inches down was bone dry. Just shows how important a long soak can be for your plants/grass. My birthday present from my parents last year was a truck full of dirt for the new yard so after that is delivered and tilled into the existing soil we should be able to fill the yard with the perennials and groundcover. Maybe I haven't mentioned how much I hate front yard lawns yet. I hate mowing something that I never use, isn't decorative, and something that requires that I water it with a sprinkler that has to be moved every few hours. I admit that I let large sections of our previous lawn turn yellow last summer because
1. Grass that isn't watered grows slower, so I mow it less.
2. I couldn't stomach leaving that water running like that.
3. I'm kind of lazy.
Lawn-alternative front yards are definitely still the minority but there are a few in my neighborhood. One in particular I have admired since before we moved in. It turned green before anyone's lawn did, it has year-round color/texture, and it doesn't have to be mowed. A number of the plants have to be cut back after their blooming season is over, or at the end of winter, but for me 10 minutes cutting tulip leaves to the ground is still better than 30 minutes pushing a mower.