America's love affair with the lawn is getting messy

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) - LeighAnn Ferrara is transforming her small suburban yard from grass bordered by a few shrubs into an anti-lawn - a patchwork of flower beds, vegetables and fruit trees.

It didn't happen all at once, says the mother of two young kids. "We started smothering small sections of the lawn each year with cardboard and mulch and planting them, and by now the front yard is probably three-quarters planting beds," she says. "Every year we do more."

Her perennials and native plants require less upkeep and water than turf grass does. And she doesn't need herbicides or pesticides - she's not aiming for emerald perfection.

For generations, the lawn - that neat, green, weed-less carpet of grass - has dominated American yards.