Bringing the Islands to Your Front Door with Tropical Landscape Design

Tropical landscape design is fun, vibrant, and lush outdoor space that complements a variety of architectural styles. Exotic, tropical style gardens provide a relaxing escape from the busy everyday routine. However, many homeowners choose not to implement this design because they worry about maintaining tropical vegetation, especially those in cooler climates.

tropical landscape design

While warm, moist climates are the best for tropical gardens, it is possible to create the look and feel of the tropics in areas with cold winters.

There are a few tips to keep in mind if you are creating a tropical landscape design in a non-tropical location:

Most tropical plants can not survive less than mild temperatures. When the nights get cool, container gardens can be moved indoors until the weather is more appropriate.

Pay careful attention to the amount of water each plant requires. Some may need watering on a frequent basis during dry times, while some will thrive regardless of the moisture.

Sunlight is also important for many tropicals. Some plants may need as much as 6 hours of direct sunlight a day for proper growth. Select plants that are not impossible to cultivate in your area.

tropical landscape design
If you are not sure which tropical plants are best for your soil and climate, professional landscape design service for suggestions.

Whatever the local conditions, there are a few common elements in every tropical landscape design.

Bright, intense hues, paired with the natural simplicity of pure white and raw browns, make these garden styles warm and inviting.

Color can be splashed throughout your outdoor space, incorporated into accessories and furnishings with an island feel and in the plant life you select.

 

Materials That Create An Outdoor Paradise

Bringing a tropical feel to your outdoor design is a wonderful way to create a tranquil retreat that is relaxing and beautiful. Natural materials used to create narrow pathways that wind through secluded tropical foliage is a must. Tropical gardens reflect the true beauty of the outdoors by replicating a native island environment. Consider forming paths from these materials to help retain moisture:

tropical landscape design

  • Treated mulch and natural colored wood chips
  • Crushed stones or gravel
  • Smooth pebbles
  • Simple dirt pathways are common as well

The natural appeal of concrete is popular for a tropical landscape design. Various sized stones and boulders, simple wood beams, and even tree trunks can be used to create amazing borders that accent the overall island feel of your design. Incorporate your own tastes with unique uses of ordinary materials as well, focusing on a warm, relaxing atmosphere.

Accessories That Define a Tropical Garden

tropical landscape design

Color and relaxation are the essential characteristics of tropical style accessories. Choose furnishings and décor that blend with the style of your home while still reflecting the laid-back lifestyle of the tropics. Elements of nature can be used to accent your tropical theme as well.

Consider these suggestions for outdoor accessories:

• Outdoor furniture with an island flair. Bamboo and wicker are both popular, as well as natural teak wood furniture. Add colorful cushions to match your overall theme.

Outdoor lighting can make your tropical garden just as inviting when the sun goes down. Simple fixtures and island style patio lights will enhance your theme and add functionality.

• Colorful planters, intriguing pottery, and other décor that reflects the feel of the islands can help blend your landscape with your home.

Natural waterscapes, especially trickling streams and waterfalls, complete the tropical atmosphere of your outdoor design with the tranquil sounds of water. Exotic koi ponds are also an elegant touch.

Tropical Plant Life

Lush, vibrant vegetation is a critical part of tropical landscape design. Choose your plants carefully, depending on your climate, and select exotic plants with irregularly shaped leaves and interesting textures. Plants within a tropical garden are typically planted to reflect natural growth, usually with large greenery and bamboo densely planted behind smaller, colorful blooms.

tropical landscape design
Palm trees are often the center of a tropical style outdoor space. Plant a variety of palms in clusters throughout the yard. Large species can be used to create a focal point for your island feel.

Bamboo can flourish in most any environment and is a great way to create a dense planting area for privacy or shade. Other plants to include are:

Fragrant, tropical banana trees
Colorful flax and climbing bougainvillea
Lush green mondo grass
Broadleaf ferns that add continuous green to your garden year round.

Even if you live in an area with cold winters and annual frost, you can enjoy the feel of the islands without ever leaving home. Tropical landscape design is relaxing, beautiful, and easy to maintain, not to mention an inviting way to enjoy the simplicity of nature.

Allen Quay is a self-proclaimed blogger and founder of Landscape Design Advisor. He's traveled the world visiting famous gardens and their owners in the search for landscape design ideas that he can share with others. Click here if you live in Southern California and would like to meet Allen for a FREE landscape design consultation.
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