Replacing old lawn with ground cover or garden

I have a large lawn that continues around the front, back and one side of our house. And it looks bad with clumps of crab grass, weeds and some bald spots. Basically all I've done for the past few years is mow every other week and weed sporadically when I am not working or away on trips. I am throwing in the towel with maintaining a large lawn and would like to try something else that would make it more presentable and easier to maintain. Our kids are grown and gone, so no one really uses the lawn.
A friend suggested replacing all or most of the lawn with ground cover, which sounds promising. Is it possible to start it in an existing lawn, and have it take over, or do I need to tear up all the sod and start all over? Another suggestion was to tear out the lawn and replace it with plants and trees. Maybe but it sounds like a lot of work and expense. I should mention that I live in Western Washington, where we experience A LOT of rain. Thanks for any suggestions or advice. Mike
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I used Roundup to kill most of the grass in my backyard and covered it with wood chips I got for free from one of those tree service companies.
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Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
USDA Zone 8
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and you manged to kill the soil biology as well....
On Wed, 15 Feb 2006 08:26:21 GMT, "Travis M."

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wrote:

Doesn't look dead from my window. Wanna come over and have a look?
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Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
USDA Zone 8
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Sounds to me like you are mowing too infrequently and possibly scalping lawn when you do. Then you need premerge for crabgrass, fall reseeding and need fertilizer. Ground cover needs care too and a well established lawn, cut once a week at the proper level is not that hard to maintain. I have a neighbor that struggles with his, letting it grow too high before cutting. Takes him much longer and he must bag clippings for garbage man. Frequent cutting and mulching clippings, only takes me 1.5 hours/week on slightly less than one acre very slopey lot. Frank
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We don't have "crab grass" in Western Washington. The rest of the comments are valid.
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Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
USDA Zone 8
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