A Butterfly Garden: Sure, most of us want to keep insects out of our backyards, but butterflies don’t deserve exile: they don’t bite, they don’t spend their lives trying to get inside your house, and, plainly put, they are pretty. For those of you who love butterflies, or simply want to add some beauty to your backyard, consider planting a garden full of nectar-filled flowers, flowers such as Columbines, Begonias, Geraniums, Petunias, and Lilies. Butterflies will flock to these flowers and, if you’re really lucky, you might find that your butterfly garden also attracts a hummingbird or two.
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.
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Backyard Resorts – There you have it. I sincerely hope you find this fun, useful, and at least marginally instructional. This little hobby has been an absolute joy for me over the years. Remember, my intent was never to give you a Backyard Resort in a Box, with step-by-step instructions on exactly what, when, and how to do everything. That just wouldn’t be possible in a single article and, even if it were, it would take all the fun out of this little adventure. The idea is to give you a taste of what’s possible and hopefully to whet your appetite with a few ideas and tools to get you started. Beyond that, you have all kinds of creative license in creating your own personal Backyard Resort. Now, get started and, most of all, have fun.
Although I have yet to build most of my backyard landscape design plans, I am starting to. I have already laid the flagstones for my garden path, and next week I will start planting the plants. At one point, I considered hiring nursery contractors to some of the more difficult backyard landscape design work, but eventually I thought better of it. Backyard landscape design is a hobby. Of course I could make it easier by getting professionals to do the work, but that is hardly the point. If I give in, I will never learn how to be a backyard landscaper. If you have ever thought about getting into backyard landscape design, I encourage you to do it. Do not be put off by how difficult it is to build things when you have never had any experience. Once you get the hang of it, it can really be quite easy. You will have fun, get some exercise, and have a gorgeous backyard as a reward for your efforts.
Put up Night Lights: It’s amazing how much night lights can enhance the essence of a backyard. Simply stringing your deck with party lights or putting gold Christmas lights on your trees is one of the simplest and cheapest ways to make your backyard sparkle. For effect, you may also put up tiki torches, making your deck look like something from a tropical island. If you are worried that your lights will attract too many insects, make sure one of the lights you put up is a bug light that’ll teach ’em to trespass.