Improve Your Yard with These Tropical Garden Ideas

If you’re like the average person, you’ve probably been guilty of being caught dreaming of being somewhere tropical or exotic while stuck at your desk. Not that you can be blamed, of course. A proper tropical venue is virtually bursting with color and design elements that seemingly have the power to compel you swap out your dress shoes for flip-flops. A prime mover of this vibe can be traced to an area’s plants and flowers, which is good news. It means you can replicate this kick-back tropical vibe at home in various handy ways.

1. The Beauty of Broad Leaves

tropical garden ideas

Photo by InAweofGod’sCreation Licensed Under CC BY 2.0

If you close your eyes and think of a tropical place, one of the first things that’s probably going to pop into your head is palm trees gently swaying in the breeze. While you may not have the capacity to plant a palm tree in your back yard, you can at least replicate the ambiance stemming from their fronds by planting some broad leaf plants.

A plant like Japanese banana or taro will produce wide leaves that spread to cover a healthy hunk of surface. This mutli-layered width instantly adds an exotic touch to any garden, even if you don’t go for the full-blown tropical motif. Plus, if you mix in a few broad-leaf plants, you can transform a part of your garden into a slice of a tropical jungle.

Also, don’t be afraid to surround these broad leaf plants with more traditional plants or flowers. This juxtaposition will allow the broad leaf plants to stand out even further, since your eye will have something non-tropical yet still garden-friendly to visually use as a reference.

2. Make a Living Wall

Chances are, your home was not built with the promise of a tropical garden in mind. This presents a slight problem, as it’s highly likely that there’s a wall or a fence that seems poised to wreck the good vibes that a tropical garden puts forth. There is one terrific solution to this issue – cover it up with plants.

As the video demonstrates, putting together a “living wall” isn’t difficult. All you need is some wall-climbing plants and a training system such as a trellis and the patience needed to allow them to flourish, and your unwitting eyesore is gone.

What’s more, there are several wall-climbing plants out there that will fit right in with a tropical theme. As such, you don’t have to worry about part of your garden’s theme abruptly shifting from Fiji to France. If you don’t want to mess with a wall-climber, you can still obscure the wall by blocking it with a row of potted tropical plants.

3. Color, Color, Color

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Photo by ADD Licensed Under CC0

A tropical or exotic motif is not going to be monochromatic, whether it’s a garden or a Hawaiian shirt. Because of this, color plays an enormous role in creating a proper tropical vibe in your backyard. There are plenty of ways you can do this without having to resort to planting flowers that may not be all that tropical.

An exotic plant like a bird of paradise is going to not only provide you with a refreshing burst of color, it’s going to deliver its hue-driven package in a style that’s far removed from a flower you’d see in a French or English garden setting. In these cases, the shape is nearly as eye-catching as the color itself.

You can also kill two birds with one stone here by deploying broad leaf plants with colorful leaves. For instance, canna leaves can possess bold yet elegant streaks of red on their outer edges.

These plants do leave you a little room if you feel the need to plant a few traditional flowers here and there. However, don’t overdo things. It could be surprisingly easy to turn the colorful exotic plants into an outlier instead of your garden’s main star.

4. What About Tiki Statues?

Placing a tiki statue in your tropical garden almost seems inevitable. When you have friends or family over, they may wonder aloud where your tiki stuff is if you don’t have a tiki statue or pole of some kind on display. This could get annoying, but such questions are part of keeping a tropical garden.

Here’s the thing, though: You don’t have to roll with a tiki motif as a means to bring your garden together. There are plenty of affects you can put in place that will do that on their own, such as colorful plants.

If you think that a tiki statue is too cool to pass up, make sure that you get one that has a sense of regality and dignity. There are a lot of statues out there that tend to look like parodies of the genre, and you’ll know them when you see them. Avoid those at all costs.

Also, while you’ll want to put your tiki in a place where people can see it, be careful not to make it the dominant feature. Your best bet here is to put it in a place where it can be spotted, but also helps to direct the eye to other components of your garden.

5. Go with the Flow

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Photo by Mariamichelle Licensed Under CC0

If you go to any professional tropical garden, you’ll notice that there’s an easy visual flow. Plant placement, color, and shape all work as one cohesive unit to guide the eye around naturally, without any odd sights to break up any mental mellowness.

Even though you’re not a pro, you can still replicate this trick in your own garden. Make the use of non-tropical plants sparse, you don’t have broad bare gaps between your plantings, and make sure you have something set up to garner too much attention. These principles are somewhat rooted in all garden building motifs, but they just seem more critical here.

If you adhere to this, along with some of the other tips, you’ll have a sublime tropical paradise waiting for you when you get home every day. Whether or not this prevents you from daydreaming about going somewhere exotic is entirely up to you.

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