Do I Have to Give up my Green Lawn to go Green

Some of my friends are tearing up their beautiful green front lawns and replacing the lawn with native plants. And of course, like all converts, they are trying to get me to do the same -to go green. Here is some of their logic. If you are paying $100 a month to have the front lawn mowed and then another fifty per month to water the lawn and more for the fertilizers and pest control? You are paying $1,800 per year for lawn. Actually you will be able to replace the lawn for about the costs of one year of lawn maintenance costs.
After visiting one of the local nurseries that feature native plants, I am beginning to be sold. I think after this non-winter we had, it has got me thinking seriously about it. That is as long as I can have color and not a desert look which I do not care for at all. I live on the Ventura Coastline and that is the type of landscape I enjoy.