It was in scraggly bluegrass with quackgrass infiltrating everywhere The first two years I covered the entire lawn with carpet ( turned color side down for asthetic (sp?) purposes )
This step was essential to kill the quack grass, if you've never encountered it before - any little bit of root will grow a huge aggressive clump!
Then I tilled it - I wanted to double dig it but had to face the constraints of time and energy. Added 6" of composted cow manure and leveled out.
I planted a strain of tall fescue from Gardens Alive ( i think it was ) It grew fast! filled in well and only needed a bit of re seeding. After it was established - I only watered it about an inch per week- one day per week only. Often in hot times, I had to water the lilacs more than the lawn. It was up in the spring before the bluegrass and stayed green latest in the fall.
It was only ever mowed to 3" and I had to fight tooth and nail to keep the other relatives from 'helping" me by mowing for me =)
Across the driveway from my new lawn was still the original bluegrass, they regularly mowed to 1.5 "! They had to water it daily to keep it green and since they really weren't big on playing with it , they rarely watered it enough in the hot days and it would go dormant.
One time about 5 years after it was finished - we had to dig up a waterline- it was quite interesting to see how deeply the roots had penetrated. Over two feet!!! so it was harvesting the water it needed from deep in the earth.
This is the most favorite of my lawns! however one major drawback of fescue is that it can be toxic to grazing animals. look up fescue toxicity. Many horse people take great care to know what kinds of grass are in their hay.
Although, when i did bring my horses to the house, they preferred the bluegrass even at 1.5 " to the long lush fescue and nibbled it bald =)
Tall fescue has an endophyte that helps it be a champion grass. And it is that endophyte that can be toxic to ruminants. BUT! There are varieties of tall fescue that are endophyte free, or there is at least one variety that has a ruminant friendly endophyte.
Well, UN-watered grass would be better than watered grass. I can't plant much garden out front because the deer eat nearly everything. I have some areas in the backyard where fescue might be the perfect thing also.
Do you have a lot of woody material in your area? Like branches and twigs or firewood that has become rotton?
Are you willing to chip in some labor?
I will be putting fiberglass posts in your yard to mark out the spaces where these experiments are going on - is that okay with you? And I would need some very strict control over the mowing and watering.