There are many situations when lawn just doesn't work well - too little water, too much foot traffic or insufficient sun. Thankfully, there are other options.
A variety of styles and plants can replace lawns, depending on the use of the area. Some lawn areas are never walked upon apart from mowing, others are part of a thoroughfare.
If you don't need to walk on a current lawn area, think of converting the lawn into a garden or plant an attractive ground cover. When a climbing plant does not have anything to climb, it can form a great ground cover adding colour and textural interest not available with mown grasses. Hedera canarienses (Canary Island Ivy) and Trachelospermum jasminoides (Star Jasmine) or Trachelospermum Tricolor are good options. All require little maintenance; simply water to get the plants established and prune to keep growth within the selected area. Overall, much less maintenance than looking after lawn.
Areas which are used as a thoroughfare can be converted from lawn to stepping stones and ground covers. Attractive and popular ground covers for such areas include Dichondra repens Silver Falls (Silver Falls), Violoa hederacea (Native Violet) and Myoporum parvifolium 'Yareena' (Creeping Boobialla). Your plant choice will depend upon your growing conditions, if you are in full to semi shade Soleirolia soeirolii (Baby's Tears) is a good choice or in full sun Thymus (Thyme) is a good choice.