We, too, are transforming a lawn into a growing landscape using wood chips on cardboard.
I understand that some folks want to avoid inks and whatever else, and so they don't use cardboard as a mulch. I get that. That's why I don't use those shiny boxes with multi-color inks and pretty pictures of the products that once were inside of them, but I do use nice big boring old brown cardboard boxes as mulch. They break down fast after smothering that gol-durn crabgrass, and then wood mulch hopefully helps smother the next year's seed bank.
Last summer, I planted round 1 of trees/shrubs in the "lawn" and then laid down cardboard, further mulching with 5"-6" of locally sourced wood chips. This year we'll expand that with round 2 trees/shrubs, and we'll plant lovely edibles/medicinals/show-offs in last year's round 1 project by just pushing back the wood mulch and digging in.
Regarding cardboard mulch: I believe in using what I have, when I can. Back in the city, the nice trash men and recyclers took away practically everything, including our flattened cardboard boxes. But now in the country, I am wealthy with cardboard from moving to the country and various "country living" shipments. Yesterday I received a shipment for seed-starting supplies - it came in a cardboard box within a cardboard box! Sure, I could drive all these boxes to a landfill and make them somebody else's problem (aka "kicking the can down the road"), or I can deal with the cardboard myself and let nature do its thing.
After all, my cats don't need too many cardboard forts. They start getting ideas...