Although I would like to take credit for the brown lump of dead grass that is our front yard, I would like to point out that it was like this when we moved in 2 & 1/2 years ago. The first year we lived here we were optimistic. We watered, fed, seeded, aerated, & said nice things to the slope, thinking it could be cured with a combination of lawn care products & plucky optimism. It showed signs of hope all spring until about June, when it became clear that our efforts were futile.
It didn't take long for us to give up the not-so-good fight. In year 2 of our residency, we adopted an environmentally-friendly attitude, and stopped watering altogether. We considered it a sign of green pride that we weren't wasting water on our lawn. This had the added benefit of letting it die off so we didn't have to mow. As you can imagine, it looked freakin' fantastic (not really).
Months later, I was at a "ladies tea luncheon" with my mother over christmas when one of the ladies politely (kind of) said to me,
"Oh! Your house is looking great! except for that lawn (tisk) - looks like you have some work to do! Have you thought about fixing that?"
I could be indignant and say she was being rude, but she's right. The curb appeal of the house is stymied by the washed-out dirt patch that greets passerby.
Now that we're on year 3, we are ready to realize our dream of drought-tolerant, slope-friendly, low-maintenance plants to replace the grass. We want something interesting, non-invasive, beautiful, yet hardy. Is that too much to ask? California poppies, sage, Ceanothus? Plus, what do we have to do to prepare the washed out soil for new plants.