If you've been keeping up with the trends in decorating and landscaping, you've probably noticed that the emphasis, especially among the middle to upper class demographic, is on man-made constructs and carefully planned plantings. There may be living things in the modern backyard, but they've been so carefully shaped that they bear little resemblance to nature. However, getting back to nature can inspire you to write poetry, paint pictures, or even just to look at what really matters in your life. Consider some natural wonders for your backyard paradise and inspiration.
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If you live far enough out in the country that your sewage system requires regular visits from septic tank pump trucks then you've probably already got a forest in your backyard. However, if you live in a suburban or city neighborhood, you'd be lucky if there are a few trees in the park down the street. Visit a tree nursery and bring home some saplings and shrubs. Plant them scattered artfully around your yard and nature will do the rest. In just a few years you'll have a beautiful shady glade.
Unlike trees, flowers require more special care from humans to keep their beds from being overrun with weeds. But just because they have to be looked after doesn't mean they need to be regimented. If you were planning on using them for outdoor entertaining you might need to maximize your space that way. If you're not, instead of lining your flowerbeds up so your blooms are as straight as a platoon of soldiers, consider irregular borders or even scattering them through the yard.
Animals are few and far between in urban areas and have been ever since the advent of manufacturing. However, if you're an animal or bird lover there are a few things you can do to attract interesting critters. Set out bird baths and feeders, have lots of interesting nooks, crannies, rocks, and twigs lying around that animals can use to build themselves a burrow, and keep your dogs and cats (if you have any) out of the yard. Urbanites (what are Urbanites you ask?), might find themselves host to hummingbirds or squirrels while rural dwellers might see foxes, raccoons, and more exotic birds like blue jays or woodpeckers.
You're going to need some sort of furniture in the yard if you want to have guests over for a barbecue, but if you want to get back to nature, pass over the glass and metal options in the department stores and opt instead for locally made wood products. You can even outfit your yard with seating completely naturally by incorporating things like driftwood logs or boulders into your landscaping.