There are a bazillion reasons why folks are choosing alternatives to sod/lawn -- but it's a hard won argument. People like lawns. Up North here, of Seattle, where live, there are expansive SOD FARMS growing grass as far as the eye can see. Clearly folks are choosing a lawn over the alternatives. The only reason the dog meadow isn't turned into flower beds and another patio is I think they should have a place where they can just hang out outside. Fact is, they aren't out there all THAT much. Summer here is short and if it's raining, they're both sitting on the porch anyway. To top it off, Bo is allergic to grass yet his favorite thing in the world lately, it seems, is to graze like a cow whenever we go. I can almost see the spots rising on this tummy after an afternoon spent at the grassy park! Bea and Bo both love to sun themselves in the soft grass -- how can I deny them this pleasure? I can't. So grass it is. And clover. LOL
Maybe you can choose LESS lawn? Bruce and Lari's yard is a testimony to why a lawn-less yard is so awesome. Maintaining extensive gardens isn't for everyone either but there are "trouble free" ways of having an appealing landscape without all the fuss of an English Garden. If I weren't so green thumbed myself, I would hire a landscape designer to help. Choosing the RIGHT plants/shrubs from the start, putting down adequate mulch (no weeding required) is a big step toward a trouble free landscape!