Hi there I have a large patch of lawn that gets full sun and wanted to convert it to something more dynamic with wildflowers/herbs whatever really but the caveat is it would still have to be an area for heavy foot traffic and where my daughter could play. I couldn’t find any postings with this similar condition. Any help would be greatly appreciated I am in zone 8b just outside of Seattle.
You might want to start by planting spring and fall blooming bulbs into the lawn--probably pretty lumpy after a few years, but there would be flowers spring and fall that would just go back to sleep in the summer. Maybe do little patches where you take out the grass, like mini flower beds/herb gardens, and put your other plants there? Another option would be a yarrow lawn, although in your area it might grow too fast or might be invasive. Then you can just let some areas grow and bloom and mow where you don't want the plants to be tall. Yarrow will fill in pretty well in full sun, not as well in full shade, if its kept mowed it's softer than grass and doesn't need to be watered as often. It just takes a while to fill in. It won't be any more invasive than grass if it's kept mowed.
Forgive the red paint in the picture--it was taken just before I had to dig this up. The patch in the picture was about four years old at that point and was started from a single piece.
Zone 5b/6a, alkaline soil, 12 inches of water per year. For now the goal is a water independent urban homestead with edible landscaping and food forest.
If you are willing to keep existing grass, clover can be seeded in place. Clover and grass complement each other well, since the clover fixes nitrogen and grass uses it. The turf stays in place during winter so the ground is covered until clover emerges each spring.
Some other types of clover for lawns are alsike and strawberry. I noticed that even Scott's now has a 'clover-lawn' seed with strawberry. Both are taller growing.
One thing to keep in mind is bees. Clovers and creeping thyme are favorites of bees, and while I love bees, I don't want my grandchildren running all over them. The bees don't like it, the kids don't like it.
Living a life that requires no vacation.
Justin Rhodes 45 minute video tour of wheaton labs basecamp