Imagine a relaxing vacation on a tropical island… every day of the year. If that sounds appealing, why not create your own tropical paradise in your backyard? Tropical style gardens have long been popular, for both their beauty and calming atmosphere though there are some challenges associated with this kind of landscape.

Typically, tropical gardens feature plants with large, lush leaves. Look for plants with big, bold leaves in a variety of colors, and be sure to include varying heights for visual interest. Most of the color in tropical landscapes comes from the plants’ leaves rather than the flowers but lush green is the most prominent color. Elephant ears are commonly used in tropical gardens, and can be hardy enough to do well in some of our local microclimates. Climbing vines on trees, fences, or a trellis can add even more richness to the garden (though they undeniably create more maintenance). Canna Lilies are commonly used in tropical gardens, for their large attractive leaves and beautiful flowers they produce.

Many tropical plants, such as philodendron, many ferns, and some bird of paradise, require a shady environment. To protect them from direct light, plan your landscaping around larger trees and bushes, which provide shade, and allow them to overlap one another. This also helps to create a dense, rainforest effect in your garden. Work with the slopes in your yard to create this effect, or use a layered landscape style if your yard is flat.

Obviously, most of the plants used in this style of gardening originate from tropical climates. In most cases, that means warm and wet. In our Temecula Valley climate, the summers get really hot and dry and the winters have been getting colder each year. If you want a tropical garden, one thing you must consider is the water needs of your plants as well as the impact of the winter cold on the plants. Tropical plants can get leaf damage in particularly cold seasons. For the most part, these plants will survive the cold but may take a few months to recover their formal beauty. In addition to plantings, certain hardscape features can help create the feeling of a tropical paradise. A fountain or shallow pool will add tranquility to your garden, while a large patio or tiki bar can provide a great space for entertaining.

Tropical landscapes can be a challenge to develop but with the proper planning from an experienced professional, they can bring beautiful tranquility to your home. Call us for a consultation, and we can help you plan a tropical backyard oasis that works for your budget and lifestyle.

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