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.
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.
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.
Here’s a great tip. Go to your favorite garden center’s houseplant section. Of course, there is really no such thing as a houseplant. All plants want to be outside and will perform their best outside. Many of the so-called houseplants are really understory tropicals that will perform beautifully on a covered patio or deck where they have protection from direct sun. Experiment with some of these plants and you are sure to be amazed at the results.
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.