Here's what we've done to ours:
- Consider that whatever grows in the lawn counts as a lawn. Mow regularly. Only remove what's prickly (thistle, etc.).
- Top dress with good compost and overseed with a mix of hardy grasses and clover (This is what we use (it's in French, but there's a complete list of the grasses included)
) and let survival of the fittest determine which grass will takeover. Repeat yearly.
- Examine where the grass doesn't grow at all (too much shade, too dry, too compacted) and turn those into plant beds or mulched areas, and use plants adapted to those conditions. In heavily trod areas, use cement/rock steps of some sort to spare the ground from over-compaction and damage. Kids adore walking steps, especially if you space them apart so that it's a slight challenge for them.
- If you feel the need to remove weeds, treat that as a harvest. Dandelion, violet greens, young plantain leaves, wood sorrel can all be eaten (we've been having those in our daily salads, soups and green smoothies all spring). Dandelion root can also be made into faux-coffee (I pick some up every spring to keep our perennial dandelion sort of under control. It still constitutes a good portion of our lawn, but I don't want it to overwhelm everything else), and it's a very potent compost addition.
Our lawn won't win any suburb "keeping up with the Jones" contest, but it doesn't require any watering, it does fine in all conditions, and it's a lot more resistant to pests than single-species grass.