Permaculture is not about having a uniform lawn, a monocrop that is pleasing to the conformity-seeking eye. It is about inviting in all native species and letting them thrive in their natural environment, free from petrochemical herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and fertilizers. What you can do is to get some organic matter onto it, so that you can start building back the soil. If there is a localcompost seller (maybe even your town?) see about getting enough to put down 1"-2". Then apply just about every variety of seed that local seed sellers have. Even clover and alfalfa. There are some who think little white clover flowers and little yellow dandelion flowers are "weeds". They are not. They are part of the diversity of a grassland. If there are no broadleaf "weeds" in your lawn, then it is not a healthy ecosystem.
Another thing you can do is to pick any mushrooms you see and drop them on your lawn to inoculate it with their spores. Depending on how much pesticide, herbicide and fungicide was applied by the previous owners, the soil fungi may be under stress to non-existent. When fall comes, put oak leaves on your lawn and run over them with the lawn mower. Oak leaf litter is an excellent nutrient for soil building fungi, and it is a shame to burn it or bag it up and haul it off to a landfill.
Biochar is another soil amendment that is highly recommended. I don't like to apply biochar dry, as it can blow away in a slight breeze. I blend it up in water and then sprinkle, spray, or pour it onto garden beds, under trees, and over the lawn.
The thing I notice most about the pictures you posted are the bare spots. If you cover the bare spots with a combination of seed/compost/biochar/mushrooms/ground up leaf litter, they should fill in pretty quickly.
To rehab it I would plant a few 6-10ft fruit/nut trees 20ft apart so that you can still use the lawn to host/play but still have your edibles or just help out the wildlife.
If you really must add "grass" add dutch /dwarf white clover.
Iterations are fine, we don't have to be perfect
Location: Southern New Hampshire
posted 7 years ago
Thanks guys. We were thinking of eventually putting some fruit and nut trees at some point. We will be using this area a lot for chicken free-ranging as well eventually. It's in such rough shape atm since the previous owner barely maintained the outside at all.
Broadleafs are even more important. Chickens will eat grass, but they really go for the weeds: dandelions, curly dock, prickly lettuce, chicory, etc. I have mine in a chicken tractor and they roam the back yard, occasionally leaving a pothole where they find something particularly interesting to scratch at. To keep some sort of lawn aesthetic, and so as not to break an ankle, I level the potholes out with bagged topsoil and a mix of seed. One grass plant that works well in the mix is browntop millet. Cheap and not very tall when it goes to seed. I don't know how well it will do in NH, as it is a heat-loving plant, but if they have some at the local seed store, it would probably be worth getting some and broadcasting it in. Since the seed is small, it is used here in the South as quail forage.
I free range my chickens and I will second the importance of deciduous trees. Chickens LOVE to scratch and if you get piles of decomposing leaves all over your property they are going to go to town eating all the little bugs that like to live in leaf litter. Free food is good food.
edit - I may have mistook Johns meaning there with 'broad leaves' but my point still stands
The best chicken pasture I have seen is clover and barley (plantd yearly). You don't want tall grasses if you have chickens in tractors cause its too hard to move them over it.
And if you are running them over and over the same area-look for a plant that comes back quickly. My favorite is to plant crownvetch, but check to see if its invasive in your area. I like it because it doesn't cause bloat if it spreads to the hay field and gets fed over winter, and, it has deep roots to pull nutrients from deep as well as misture when its dry.