I have a fair sized lawn. To be honest, I'd prefer no lawn at all, but my daughters play soccer, and so I keep a field for them to play on. It's around 40% grass, 45% clover, and 15% whatever can survive the mower. I love it, but I'd rather not have to take care of it, or grow food on it. I do refuse to plant it though, and of course never fertilize or water. That is, with the exception of once or twice a year. Here's why:
After soccer season ends, and the girls take a few weeks of no soccer, I let the lawn go. And I mean really go. When it's almost too high to mow (my mower can mow a hayfield!) I go in and chop it all down. I work my way up and down towards an area that has poor soil. This basically blows all the overgrown lawn onto the area with poor soil. So twice a year my poor soil has gotten a thick mulch of "lawn clippings". What's left behind is a dismal, brown lawn.....for about two days. I water it after two days (the only time I EVER water it, and I still feel like it's a waste of water), and the next morning you can already see signs of recovery, and by day 5 it looks like nothing ever happened.
Here's how I see it: The Lawn area is super healthy, with a nice deep root system and lots of clover to fix nitrogen. All those nutrients are drawn from the ground into the grass and clover to make vegetation. So twice a year, I take an hour out of my busy schedule (ok, ok, out of nap time) and help the healthy part share some nutrients with the not so healthy part.
The result? The poor soil (after two years) is becoming rich, loose, and healthy. It retains moisture, and supports some very healthy weeds. Before, not even thistle would grow very well, now I chop the thistle once in a while, and all the leafy weeds that I leave alone are starting to keep it from coming back.
It's super easy, (the small amount of extra work it takes to mow down the overgrown lawn is made up for by not having to mow at all for three weeks), and really shares the wealth when one part of your land needs a little something extra.
Lawns aren't the greatest things to have, but if ya gotta have em, why not make them work for you?