we've only been trying to have a lawn for 4 years. between the shade and the oak it wasn't meant to be. so there was no grass, but also not enough trees to be properly forest, so instead, we had alternating dust and mud, and the dirt kept eroding into the gully.
so i built a retaining wall (brni plays at being roman) which stopped the erosion, and we filled the yard back in with dirt, but still, nothing would grow, no matter how much we seeded. the oak tends to suck moisture out of the ground in an aggressive fashion, and a maple that had grown disproportionately large due to it's trunk splitting sucked up all the light. i guess if we wanted to go the chem-lawn route, we could probably have kept things going artificially, but that seems a bad idea. so we got willie to come cut down the maple. we dropped most of it's trunk into the gully, where it can provide shelter and habitat for critters. and we seeded. and grass grew. and lived.
in the gully, there's deer, and rabbits, and squirrels (of course) and a fox. there's a red-tailed hawk that lives in the trees back there, and today it was joined by another. soon the crows will come, and they will harrass the hawks, clouds of them rising and falling on the hawks, chasing them from tree to tree.