Since you can’t always get away to take a trip to the tropics, why not bring the tropics to your backyard.  This way you will be able to get all of the benefits of being on a tropical vacation while you only have to travel to your backyard.  Even better, you can enjoy it every day!

When I think about the tropics it makes me feel like I am in another world that is relaxing, restorative, and enjoyable.  It is a place where everyone is happy and stress-free.  Who wouldn’t want this in their backyard?

Here are 8 elements to contemplate when considering adding a tropical design to your garden:

Planning And Inspiration – Take a look at the area you are considering for your tropical design.  Sketch out this area, so you can plan and layout the design. Note the current plants, trees, and structures in this area.  Determine what you want to highlight in this area.  This might be an outdoor dining area, a tree, or a pool.  Don’t forget to include paths and walkways.  If you don’t have a lot of ideas in mind, look for existing tropical gardens to give you inspiration.

Understand Your Climate And Soil – This is your top consideration because you don’t want to add flowers and plants that will not do well in your climate or soil type. There are some that thrive in very warm weather and others that can only tolerate a mild winter. If you have cold winters, you might want to grow plants that are climate-sensitive in pots, so you can move them indoors. An important element is the amount of light a plant variety needs.  For instance, an orchid prefers filtered light, not direct sunlight.

Fill Your Garden With Lots Of Plants – Tropical gardens are known for their lush plants and foliage.  They tend to have plants growing everywhere and it is ok for them to overlap. You can have trees and groundcovers.  Use foliage and flowers to create layers of plants. Try adding hanging baskets and containers too. Density is an important component of a tropical garden.

Look For Large Leaf Plants – To add more density simply include plants with big, bold leaves.  Recently breeders have been developing many of these plants with different shaped and colored leaves, making it easy to find them.  These plants will certainly add to the tropical feel of your garden.

Some large leaf plants are:

  • Alocasia
  • Banana
  • Caladium
  • Colocasia
  • Yucca

Make Sure You Have Bright Tropical Flowers – To add the look of the tropics you will need bright colorful flowers.  It is also a great way to differentiate your garden from your neighbors.  Look for different shaped flowers and beautiful blossoms. 

Some ideas for these plants include:

  • Bletilla striata 
  • Canna Lily
  • Crocosmia
  • Hibiscus
  • Plumeria

Don’t Forget The Shade – Shade will be important if where you are is hot.  A tree is a great way to cool off from the heat and it will also help cover plants that don’t tolerate heat well.  This would be a good place to have something to sit on such as a chair or a bench. Other great ideas are having a deck with trees and an umbrella to cool off or even a hammock.

Consider A Water Feature – The sound of water is another element of a tropical garden. It will add to the relaxing vibe you are trying to achieve in the garden.  If a pool, hot tub, or pond is not a consideration because of space or budget, try adding a fountain. 

Add Sculptures And Other Décor – Other ways to add the tropics to your garden is with artwork such as sculptures, large rocks, or even lighting.  Try adding tiki torches or other special lighting, a tiki bar, or pretty containers.

While you might not be able to have all of the elements when you first start out, you can put together your design plan and add to it on an ongoing basis.  Let us know your ideas on how to turn your backyard into a staycation!

Leave a Comment:

Credit Card Processing