Create the Tropical Landscape Effect, Now that you have a foundation, or backdrop, it is time to add the tropical effect plants to turn that normal backyard or swimming pool landscape into your own tropical paradise. Here, you’ll use true tropical plants that have to be treated as annuals in your area, unless you are willing to go to great lengths to protect them from winter chill. There are many plants that are tropical or sub-tropical that, with a little protection, will come back from roots each spring (i.e. bananas, elephant ears). Then, there are the interesting, tropical looking plants that may have no problems at all with winter weather.
Backyard landscapes have evolved from lawn and a sprinkler to new modern designs involving pools, spas, barbeque pits, tables, couches, and dishwashers. The modern idea for a back yard has become an outside room that you can use many months out of the year. Backyards are the screened porches of the twenty-first century but before you start digging the hole for the pool do some research online to view pictures of what other people have done with their backyards. Spend some time thinking about what aspects of their designs you like and what you dislike. Research the appliances you want to use and see if others have recommended the appliance for use in your area. After all what works in a backyard in California probably won’t work out as well in Maine.
No matter what your backyard looks like right now, you can take the steps for creating backyard bliss. The first thing you need to do is take a look at your backyard. It’s time to really evaluate it with an open eye. Maybe you’re ashamed of how bad you’ve let it get or perhaps you just haven’t had the time to think about it in a long time. Go look at your backyard now. It might be a good idea to take a pad and pen with you. Write down everything you think of that you’d like to see changed about your backyard. Then go down this list and consider what can be done and how much it will cost.
Also, sketch out your landscaping ideas before you begin buying anything. It is important to know what you plan on putting in your backyard before you actually spend any money. You need to know that all of your ideas are going to fit in the space that you have. This will also help you determine the approximate cost of your backyard landscaping and aid in planning your budget.
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.