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Tropical Garden Design Ideas - Your Staycation Oasis!

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Tropical Garden Design Ideas - Your Staycation Oasis!

Are you ready to turn your landscape into a staycation oasis using a lush array of tropical plants? Well, first off, let us just say - that's a fantastic idea! Second, let's talk about how to achieve that highly sought-after "tropical look." We'll give you a hint: it all starts with a feeling. 

How to Design a Tropical Garden

Before we dive into specific plants and placements, we must discuss the "come hither" feeling of tropical gardens. They evoke an intense sense of relaxation and rejuvenation that's truly undeniable. Think about it - even photos of tropical locations are enough to soothe the soul, which is why they make incredible computer desktop images! Now, wouldn't it be nice to invite that profound sense of serenity into your own backyard? We thought so. 

Key Components of a Tropical Garden

Because the undeniable air of peace and tranquility is at the heart of an exotic garden display, one can adapt this design style to suit any climate! The plants don't have to be technically tropical in nature; they just need to contribute to the overall appearance and character of a tropical garden. Regardless of where you live, these are the major elements needed to create the tropical garden of your dreams:

  • Focus on Foliage: Large, lush, and lavish foliage is often the main focus in tropical gardens. These plants flaunt virtually all shades of green with a striking contrast of textures between large-leafed plants, those with long, slim fronds, and the lacy look of Ferns.
  • Surround Yourself with Plants: Plant densely on multiple levels using planting of varying heights, from towering trees to ground cover. Hanging baskets and raised beds are fantastic for creating the illusion of an encompassing cocoon of plant life. 
  • Keep it Vibrant: Tropical gardens wouldn't be complete without the hot colors of flowers and cushions, bringing to mind the exotic birds that inhabit rain forests. Bright shades of yellow, orange, red, and pink are just right for accenting tropical gardens. 
  • Celebrate Water: An abundance of large-leafed plants implies a wealth of water, and a water feature is excellent for creating an exotic display. The sight, sound, and smell of flowing water really plays up the feeling of being in a tropical location. 

The Best Plants for a Tropical Garden

Plants like PlumeriaAlstroemeriaCallasCannasAgapanthusColocasiaPineapple Lilies, and Caladium are all fantastic for infusing gardens with all the wealth and wonder of a rainforest. Each of these varieties can be successfully overwintered indoors and brought back outside spring through fall for those in cold climates. They all produce lush foliage in various shapes, sizes, and colors - a perfect collection for obtaining that tropical look and feel you so desperately crave!

If you garden in a cooler climate, you might be wondering what other hardy plants can be added to your tropical display. Here are a few favorites for adding flower-bright color and gorgeous foliage: 

  • Hostas: These colorful foliage plants are extremely cold-tolerant and make perfect additions to tropical gardens in colder climates.
  • Lily of the Valley: This exceptionally cold-hardy plant produces broad, lush leaves perfect for a tropical garden's look. 
  • Japanese and Siberian Iris: Create a cold-hardy fountain of narrow leaves topped by colorful blooms reminiscent of butterflies with these beauties!
  • Daylilies: These cold-tolerant charmers have foliage somewhat similar to a palm's fronds and perfectly fit right into a tropical border.

It's no secret that gardening holds many benefits, and if you don't believe us, check out this article! Time spent in the garden has a clear and positive impact on us physically, mentally, and emotionally. The act of planting and caring for plants is thought to improve focus and reduce stress levels. Hmm... maybe this is why the tropical gardens that seemingly surround us with a cocoon of lush plants are so very calming and relaxing. 

Just Add Water

As a final word of advice, nothing is more critical to a tropical garden's success than water! Inspired by the rain forest, moisture plays a huge role in the overall aesthetic, and we can't recommend incorporating an animated water feature highly enough! The way the water sparkles in sunlight is truly magical, as are the visits from winged wonders. Not to mention just how soothing the sound of falling water is in an outdoor setting. While the theories behind this phenomena are endless, there's no arguing that adding a water feature to your garden is an excellent way to make the tropical feel come alive! If you're feeling super crafty, try making your own with tips from this article

Alright, now it's time to go forth and get to work on the tropical garden of your wildest dreams! 

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  • Rachel Bortles