Tropical Outdoor Design Ideas
Transform your outdoor areas into paradise for much less than a trip to a romantic island resort. Don’t feel stressed to tackle all of these projects at one time. Introduce them as your budget allows. Before you know it, you will be kicking back with an umbrella drink enjoying your own personal tropical oasis.
Think about the pictures you’ve seen or the tropical locales you have visited. Lush plantings are the main attraction. In the case of tropical outdoor spaces, more is better. In fact, you can’t have too much in the way of lush landscaping materials. Tropical greenery creates a cooling effect and offsets the heat created by hardscape.
Inject various shades of green, different sizes of leaves and plant heights to create visual interest. Layer low-growing ferns and hostas, philodendrons and cycads with taller palms and trees to give your tropical garden interesting sections of texture and greenery. Bring in subtle and vibrant color with plants like native woodviolet, bird of paradise, hibiscus and bromeliads.
If you live in a temperate zone, recreating a lush tropical landscape is fairly easy. If you reside in a four-season zone, check with your local nursery or garden center for planting suggestions that will give you a similar look that withstands colder temperatures.
One way to bring the tropics to northern growing zones is to choose native plants with large, rounded leaf shapes that evoke a similar feeling. Also consider using patio containers to house tropical plant species – you can move them indoors when the weather gets cold.
Water features can be as simple as a homemade fountain fashioned out of a decorative urn to ponds with waterfalls and pools with spouting water features. Moving water can be used to drown out surrounding environmental noise and provides a soothing backdrop for your tropical outdoor space.
If you opt for a large water feature, try to incorporate nature into the design. A lagoon with flowering water lilies and stocked with colorful carp will be a focal point – it's a tranquil place to while away the afternoon. You may also want to incorporate natural rocks and boulders into a more elaborate water feature such as a waterfall.
Don't worry if your budget isn't big enough for a large water feature. Even a simple solar powered fountain or birdbath can add an exotic air to a small tropical courtyard, patio or balcony.
You’re in luck! There are many choices for exotic outdoor furniture available today. You won’t have to search very far to find just the right style for your tropical outdoor design. Rattan, teak and woven wicker furniture looks right at home in a tropical outdoor setting.
Add the element of fire by placing oil torches or lanterns around the patio to light up the night with a soft glow. If you really want to take the tropical theme literally, find a contractor that constructs palapas to give your patio or pool area that authentic island feel. Use a festive, thatched palapa to cover a dining or lounge area.
Use an outdoor sisal area rug to define a seating area just as you would for indoor spaces. Large seashells make lovely accents for tables. Install a tropical outdoor ceiling fan to recreate gentle the trade winds!
Fabric Shades and Curtains
If you don’t have a fully covered patio, but have a pergola, try this creative tropical idea. Attach panels of natural outdoor fabric to the pergola frame, creating a relaxed, shaded living space. Simply take the lengths of fabric down during stormy summer and harsh winter weather.
Covered patios get a dose of the tropics with the addition of grommeted curtains. Remember to purchase (or sew them) in a weather resistant fabric like Sunbrella. The grommets and curtain hardware should also be made from weather resistant materials. In a matter of a few hours, you can transform your plain patio into a tropical resort cabana with ready made curtain panels!
No patio cover at all? You can create a similar tropical look by purchasing two or three wooden patio umbrellas in a natural fabric. Several 7- to 9-ft. diameter umbrellas will easily shade an average size patio.
Inject Tropical Color
Use vibrant hues, like coral, aqua, bright yellow and lime green to create a Caribbean-inspired tropical outdoor space. If you are not fond of vivid colors, stick to muted blues, greens and tans to pick up the colors of the sea and sand.
Choose neutral cushions and bring in pops of the tropics with colorful patterned throw pillows that echo the colors of your landscape plants. By using smaller colorful accessories, you can easily change your color scheme just by switching out a few pillows and decorative accents.
Try these ideas to create a tropical outdoor oasis, you'll never have to leave your backyard!
Tropical Outdoor Tablescape
© 2012 lindacee