You probably would not be surprised to know that there is a great disparity between American people living in densely populated urban areas, and those dwelling in more rural conditions. It is hard to say when the American dream of ancestral immigrants building a little farm in a vast, unpopulated, wild area was absorbed by the fast-paced lifestyle of business, apartment-dwelling or even long commutes to the city from the suburbs. Regardless of when this transition took place, it left most people with much less land and space to envelope themselves in. In fact, according to the 2000 census, nearly eighty percent of all U.S. residents live in urban areas. For most of these city-folk, their home, whether it be a small apartment, neighborly townhouse, or a tidy two-story home in the mid-west, is the only space they have to themselves. Though many neighborhoods and communities sponsor outreach projects such as parks and community gardens, the importance of natural elements in one’s immediate space is often overlooked. Because your home is your only place you can ever make truly your own and be comfortable, adapting it to reflect nature and inspire you is essential.

Many of the products in your home probably hold a claim to nature. Your cleaning products probably picture a serene, smiling consumer cradling a small child, surrounded by lush plants. Many products are supposedly scented like a rain forest or an orange grove. The manufacturers of these products have even recognized the recent focus on organic and natural home treatments. What these corporations have discovered is that consumers have an instinctive desire to select the safest, most natural, and purest products to use in their homes and in the presence of their families. Capitalizing on this basic and obvious trend has been very profitable for many of the giants in the industry. However, rather than settle for a rain forest depicted on your laundry detergent, you may decide to incorporate a variety of live tropical houseplants into your home. One of the incredible advantages to an urban lifestyle is the vast accumulation of resources available. Having experts available to help you care for your houseplants and a wide inventory to choose from dramatically increases your success. The novice can expand and grow through personal research, community discussion, and by taking advantage of seminars and other opportunities to create, learn, and share their experience with others. When you choose a plant to enliven your living space you reflect your personal style, as well as appeal to the unchanging essential needs of all humanity.

Now more than ever, the focus of home furnishings and accessories have been influenced by the patterns in nature. Simple designs accented by the bright colors that you would expect to see in your favorite blooming plants intrigue and inspire. These styles create a warm, cozy, and inviting atmosphere. The peace and harmony of the space is magnified by an equal application of light and dark tones and varying textures. The accessories are as diverse as the natural world they were inspired by. Your personality may be best be represented by the crisp, modern sophistication of a black and white photograph of an orchid framed in a simple chrome frame. Or perhaps you are drawn to a splintered wooden mirror or colorful floor mat made of recycled plastic. Some accessories are alive themselves. Functionality and practicality meet living beauty in vertical gardens and terrariums. Not a new idea, but an ever- evolving one, vertical gardens make the most efficient use of a small space. A wall that held no direct purpose can become the habitat for dozens or even hundreds of plants. There is perhaps no greater impact in your living space. Living things, like ourselves, function best when set with a backdrop that holds the essence of vitality. We cultivate this essence in our home more than anywhere else. By selecting home elements that inspire and fulfill us, nature resumes its place in our daily lives.

If the space in your tangible possession is confined to only the walls of your home, you may be surprised to know that you can effectively substitute the space you don’t have.  It is fascinating to oversee your food’s production from coddling the seed to harvesting the fruit. This experience is not out of the reach of the apartment dweller or even the student in a dorm. Space efficiency is at the center of window farming. Growing your food in a single window can be incomparably rewarding. Using a modified hydroponics system attached to an air pump to deliver nutrients to each plant makes window farming overwhelmingly more effective than previous house grow systems. Because the system requires no grow lights or many of the other expensive equipment associated with food production in homes, and can be assembled almost entirely out of re-purposed material, window farming is a practical way for even those on a budget to seize more control over what they eat. Composting can also be exercised on a smaller scale than ever before. Perhaps you were hesitant to commence a project that carries a reputation of intense maintenance with a large space requirement. New developments have been made to former composting techniques that they no longer exclude people with a limited space resource. Equipment is available to keep your entire project under a cabinet. The process in which whole organic material breaks down to form a natural and effective soil amendment is fascinating and relevant to your lifestyle. Serving as a peaceful daily reminder of the the beauty of the unending cycle in nature, and also as an entertaining and resourceful hobby, home composting is a tool to maximize the underestimated potential of nature in your home.


Your home may be the only opportunity you have to be influenced by and positively impact the environment. Our burden and responsibility to protect and appreciate nature is not eliminated by the urban detachment we experience as the result of our city lifestyle. In fact, the burden is intensified. Invest in your home and the your personal well-being by incorporating the lost elements of nature into your immediate surroundings; no matter how smaller they may be.