I would like to replace our patchy lawn with something that doesn't need to be watered or mowed because my husband is terribly allergic to grass, so we don't take care of it as we should. I've read a lot of articles that suggest microclover, creeping thyme or moss, but I don't know which is the best for our situation. We live in zone 6 in the Northeast, have a lot of shade from a beautiful japanese maple tree and we need something that is unlikely to trigger grass and pollen allergies. There is a lot of foot traffic from our kids and dog, which is also why we won't use any pesticides. I know, just give up and put in astroturf, right? but I really want real plants. Which kinds of alternatives would be the best for these conditions? If I combine a mix of them, where should I put each? What and when is the best way to plant them (live plants, seeds, spring, fall?) and finally, do I need to dig up and kill off all the grass first, or can we start by filling in the bald spots and try to phase out the grass over time? Any advice is welcome! Thank you!