I'm not really into large open lawns of close-cropped grass and neatly edged boundaries. My wife kind of leans that way, but she still puts up with me and my more rustic lawn ideas. I usually let the grass grow until I start to hear picky complaints, like... "Can I borrow the machete, I need to go out to the car".
We maintain our "lawn" with a small push mower (See "Mowflex" post back in June). This inexpensive mower works great, although by the time you work your way around the yard, it's usually time to start over again.
I just can't see spending a fortune to keep the grass looking like a carpet. I always shake my head in amazement when I see guys riding a $3000 mower on a tiny suburban quarter acre lot. Wasn't there anything else at Home Depot to spend that money on?
We once had a goat named "Buffet" for grass mowing. Buffet ate grass, but he also ate my fruit trees and my garden. He was like Houdini when it came to escaping and even rolled a log over to the fence so he could step up on it and jump the fence. At night he would appear on the porch peering in the window. That was kind of freaky.The little push mower is less trouble and tends to stay where I put it.
Ninety percent of our acreage is in a natural state and loaded with a great mix of wildlife and native plants.It maintains itself. Only the area around the house is maintained as lawn and that is broken up with rambling flower plantings. The short-cropped lawn is pretty sterile with only an occasional bug passing through.
Today on a morning walk, I watched Flounder and Feather go out past the short lawn to the unmown Bahia grass beyond the mow zone. As soon as they crossed into the deep, cool unmown grass, they dropped and rolled on their backs uttering doggy contentment growls. They were like cats in catnip (is there dognip?).
In the field behind them the resident doe and her fawn stopped grazing and watched us intently. After determining us a a nonthreat, they continued browsing. The deer were in a true meadow that only gets cut or burned about once a year. As a result the variety of plants that grow there is much higher than the lawn, which is why the deer were there. Down by the pond, the unmown shores were glowing with the blossoms of wild coreopsis and marsh pinks. Flowering meadows are a great excuse for not mowing... "Honey, we can't mow it now, the coreopsis hasn't finished making seeds for next year...just give it a couple more months..."