A consequence of living in the shade of a huge Copper Beech tree is the lack of lawn. Or more correctly, the lack of available nutrients/water/sunlight to grow any sort of lawn. The tree sucks up all the water and the dirt we have is just plain dusty. We did make an "effort" to add organic material back to the soil this year by not raking up our leaves last fall, so that might help this season.
After several years of trying to grow grass in the back yard, we have decided to give up, and start a new plan. I noticed this article on Apartment Therapy about growing moss and I think the new plans for the backyard are going to include a flagstone patio surrounded by moss and a play area for the kid(s) covered in playground mulch.
I wouldn't mind the backyard to look like this:
Moss seems pretty simple to plant. You just need to get some, grind it up in the blender, and add either beer or buttermilk to make a slurry, then spread it around wherever you want the moss to grow. I love the idea of gardening by blender. If it turns out that I can't grow glorified mold in my back yard, perhaps we should just mulch the entire backyard and call it a day.