One of my projects has been to clear out an area under the bigger trees in my property, so that we can use more than just a sliver of the property. We've got an acre and a half out here, but we use maybe one-eighth of an acre just because all the rest is overgrown. Step one was to take out a bunch of the small, damaged trees that are growing up under the canopy. Then I cleared out as many of the branches, rocks and what have you that I could find. Then I mowed the underbrush into mulch.
We now have one small area under the trees that's perfect for a table and chairs in the heat of the day. There will be more to come, but I'm not going to transform this place into a wonderland simply because it's a rental, and I'm not getting paid for this. I just want to have some portion of the land usable.
The fireflies have discovered the open spaces, and they're currently using it for their mating dance. Quite a nice light show. Between the fireflies and the other wilderness out here, I can see why so many ghost stories sprang up. Twinkling lights and raccoons crashing through the underbrush must have made quite a few imaginations go crazy.