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.
Now, let’s go even beyond that and get into an area where you can get really creative and let your personality shine through…. garden art. There are no rules whatsoever here. Simple things like adding tiki torches along a path can make a real statement. Want to get more out there, create a faux Mayan ruin surrounded by tropical-looking foliage. If you don’t have a pool, build a small pond complete with cascading waterfall. Or, suspend a comfortable hammock between trees, complete with a fake (or real!) parrot watching over you while you relax. Remember, no rules here. This is all about you. Have fun.
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.
Now that you know the choices that are out there for backyard fireplaces, as well as the pros and cons, its time to start choosing what you would like and imagine how it will fit in your outdoor living space. Make sure that it fits well into the space available as well as into the scheme of the landscaping. One last thing you might want to think about is if you want to cook on it or just enjoy the fire. Once you have decided all of this, as well as what you want it to look like, you are ready to go shopping and start enjoying your evenings in your backyard even more.
Finally backyard fireplaces can be just that, fireplaces. This style looks like your regular indoor fireplace but freestanding rather than a part of a wall. The use of spark screens will keep the embers from escaping, protecting the surroundings. These fireplaces may also come with louvers that will help control the heat. These types of fireplaces are the most controlled, although they are definitely not portable. They are also the most expensive types to purchase. You need to hire someone to construct the hearth and surrounds or be able to do it yourself as well as purchasing the fire unit. The good news is this allows you to choose the type of material that you want. You can also find fireplace kits, although they will still need to be built and put together in some way depending on the fireplace kit purchased.