So, How do You do It? If you were lucky enough to live in an area that never has to suffer extended cold weather, you probably wouldn’t be reading this to begin with. You would have a year-round growing season with no fear of freezing temperatures, and you could grow whatever you wanted. For most of us, that is not reality so we’re going to have to get creative if we want to create that exotic, tropical backyard landscape, our very own little tropical escape.
Pricing varies with the many types of backyard fireplaces to choose from. Chimineas can cost anywhere from $150 to $600. Smaller, plainer outdoor fire pits can be found for around $100. Larger and fancier ones, such as fire tables, sell for $1000 to $2000. Fire rings, being the least expensive, can be found for $100 or less. The fire units for the true outdoor fireplaces are anywhere from $500 to $2500 but you also need to purchase the materials as well as maybe having to hire someone.
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.
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.
If something has such a positive effect on your attitude and outlook, why should you settle for experiencing it only once a year during vacation? What if it were possible to create a little piece of that Island allure in your everyday life? While you may not have an ocean handy, you absolutely can create a beautiful, tropical resort style setting right in your own backyard. It’s not only possible, it’s a lot of fun. And, guess what? It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. With a little creativity, education and guidance, you can turn your boring backyard landscape into your own exotic, tropical Backyard Resort.