Some lawns approach an acre or more and the desire to adequately maintain all of it can fade. The bigger the lawn, the more time, energy, and money it takes to maintain it. If there are no children or pets using the lawn for recreation, it is a good time to re-think the size of the lawn. Altering the size of the lawn can be as simple as not mowing an area or as drastic as a swimming pool.
How do I make the lawn smaller?
First, decide how much lawn to leave. Whether it's just to look at, provide contrast, relax on or throw a ball around. From there, it's as simple as not mowing the rest of the grass. Try to carve the new lawn into the old one by mowing in natural, sweeping contours and think of the un-mowed area as a new garden. Island planting beds can even be created throughout the lawn, reducing the overall amount of lawn to mow and maintain.
What do I put in the newly acquired space?
At a bare minimum, a freedom lawn could develop, just be sure it's not against local bylaws. Just let whatever grows there take-over. It might not look as bad as you think.
For a little nicer look, ornamental grasses of varying colors, styles, and heights could be planted. A natural looking transition from manicured lawn to longer wild grasses can look really nice.
Existing gardens or beds can be extended or the area could host new trees,shrubs or perennials. Vegetable or "Victory" gardens are a great idea, being able to grow your own food is healthy, resourceful and empowering.
Reducing the size of the lawn can make room for new or extended deck or even a new pool and patio area. Water features can be added, ponds and waterfalls are a relaxing addition to the yards. A deck or patio can be landscaped with container gardens for a dramatic effect.
Be it a cluster of perennials or a new deck, imagination and resources are the only limits to what you can do with the new property acquired in the downsizing of your lawn.