Published at Friday, 20 September 2019. Backyard. By Isabelle Barrientos.
The exotic, tropical look of your backyard resort will be achieved by combining a wide variety of shapes, forms, colors, and textures. Banana plants with their large dramatic leaves, beautiful foliage plants like coleus and gingers, open and airy ornamental grasses, beautiful climbing vines, and tropical blooming plants all have a place. What may surprise you is that there is also a place for many of our more cold-hardy and traditional landscape plants. Uniformity and normality are out; randomness and whimsy are in.
What is a Tropical Look Anyway? Tropical landscapes are by their very nature very informal. To create your Backyard Resort, your backyard landscape will capture the wild and untamed mood of a natural tropical landscape. This mood can’t be captured with the boring, straight-line plantings of overly manicured shrubs that are so common in residential landscapes. The tropically-inspired garden will be much more casual, with seemingly randomized patterns of trees, shrubs, and foliage.
For the tropical effect, you should have at least one palm tree. It’s hard to imagine a tropical landscape without the presence of palms. Why palm trees aren’t used more in southern landscapes can only be attributed to lack of information. Plant one and you can be sure you’ll hear more than one ”You can’t grow that here!”. There a number of palms that can handle very low temps with little or no damage. Windmill, Sabal, and needle palms come to mind. Palms create the tropical foundation, now you need to enhance the tropical effect. Let’s throw in some bananas, cannas, and elephant ears with their huge leaves for a start. All are very easy to grow and, with a little work, can be protected so that they come back year over year. Yucca and big ornamental grasses add great tropical effect too. Add some real color sizzle with tropical hibiscus, coleus, and Mandevilla and you’re going to start humming Jimmy Buffett and reggae tunes for sure.
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