Published at Monday, 26 August 2019. Backyard. By Amabella Grandbois.
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.
Now, let’s go even beyond that and get into an area where you can get really creative and let your personality shine through…. garden art. There are no rules whatsoever here. Simple things like adding tiki torches along a path can make a real statement. Want to get more out there, create a faux Mayan ruin surrounded by tropical-looking foliage. If you don’t have a pool, build a small pond complete with cascading waterfall. Or, suspend a comfortable hammock between trees, complete with a fake (or real!) parrot watching over you while you relax. Remember, no rules here. This is all about you. Have fun.
The least durable backyard fireplaces will be made of thin metals and clay. They will also be less expensive. The more durable ones would be made of stainless steel, cast iron or aluminum. Copper is also quite durable, but you need to know that it does oxidize and will change color from golden-bronze to a greenish hue. Also, you should be aware of the fact that iron may rust if left out in the rain and snow. You will find backyard fireplaces that are fueled by wood, natural gas, liquid and gel. The gases burn cleaner and there is less mess than wood. Of course, with wood fireplaces you will have more work to do such as cutting the wood for the fire but many people enjoy the crackle and pop of a real outdoor fire. If you choose natural gas, you will need to install the gas line and the fireplace will be placed in a permanent location rather than being able to move it around.
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