As much as I dislike lawns, they are a part of life for many people. In my area (Pennsylvania) mowing is the only upkeep I do, but I still would like to see some rewards for my effort. What edibles can be part of the lawn?
Violets - naturally occurring, but the variety ‘Silver Gem’ seems promising as a source of edible flowers and greens all season.
Thyme - Especially the creeping types, I plant them in especially dry spots of my yard.
Clover - apparently edible? I don’t know.
Hens and Chicks - Sempervivum tectorum is specifically mentioned as edible, but I assume all are. I have some growing but haven’t eaten it.
Sedum? Some places say it’s edible, but I don’t have experience.
Lingonberry and Cranberry
Stitzenplanten - coming at it from a different direction, a lawn full of bulbs can feed bees, making honey.
Miner’s lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata) volunteered in one section of my lawn in the shade of a fir tree and it’s delicious. It is the main plant in that area now. Though like the various “sorrels” it should be avoided by anyone at risk for kidney stones (high oxalates). I don’t mow that part until after it goes to seed in late summer.
For me keeping sheep and poultry is the most efficient way to make my “lawn” edible. I don’t mow. The grass and forbs all just become food for my food. I occasionally do some manual trimming if there’s anything they aren’t eating that I don’t want to start getting out of control.
Outside of where the animals go I’ve found musk strawberries make an amazing and fast spreading ground cover as long as you give them a clear space to start with (they won’t choke out most of the pre-existing plants, but once they fill in you won’t get a lot of new plants seeding in due to how densely they grow.
For people who haven’t tried them, violets are really tasty and easy to prepare in the spring. One of my favorite greens, actually, with a flavor similar to pea shoots. Really nice quickly sauteed in olive oil with a touch of salt.
Not exactly a lawn plant, more of a ground cover, but young hosta shoots can be delicious as well.
More of a personal preference thing, but last night I jumped on an electric battery powered lawnmower that was refurbished (cheaper +upcycle is a win for me ethically).
Unfortunately it is only a 16" mower instead of the 22" gasoline powered mower we currently use. That said, it takes my wife about 15 minutes to mow the entire current footprint of the yard (she loves mowing, I do not). As I continue to convert more of the yard to edible lawn, it won’t need to be mowed as often anyway.
For the part of the yard that actually WILL be “lawn” , I just plan to stick with grass as the dog goes to the bathroom there and constantly tears things up. Plus it will get heavy use during playtime once I get the fence up that I just dropped off in our driveway.