Create a tropical garden

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Relaxing and enticing. Whether you want to entertain or spend a lazy afternoon with a good book and cold drink, a tropical themed garden can offer you a little slice of paradise. You may be wondering how this is possible when we are wearing scarves and woolly hats for five months of the year but with clever plant selection, the right materials and planning it is possible to bring the holiday home.

Design and Landscape

Path ways should have a natural appearance– slightly raised paths made from timber decking boards work well in this kind of lush setting
Materials – choose natural materials such as cane, timber, stone and concrete. This applies to your garden furniture as well; team cane Asian-style furniture with lots of brightly coloured cushions
Plant in layers – Tropical gardens are densely planted, which gives them their lush look. Usually designed on three levels; upper canopy, middle layer and low growers.
Instant screening – hide walls and fences that don’t fit with your tropical theme with instant bamboo screening
Lighting – consider up-lighting under feature plants such as ferns and palms

Which plants to use

To create a tropical hideaway, you need a rich mix of foliage textures and colours for a peaceful exotic garden mood. Think large vibrant foliage, flamboyant flowers and eye-catching architectural statement plants and group plants with different leaf shapes together. If you are clever with your plant selection you can easily recreate a garden that would be more at home in the Tropics.

These are our top picks:

  • Musa basjoo (hardy banana plant)
  • Multi-stemmed Photinia
  • Indian Bean tree – Catalpa bignonioides
  • Evergreen Magnolia grandiflora
  • Fargesia rufa (type of Bamboo)
  • Phormium tenax ‘Variegatum’
  • Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’ (great as a feature in a large pot, needs winter protection)
  • Eriobotrya japonica
  • Hostas
  • Gunnera manicata
  • Chamaerops humilis (Fan palm)
  • Splashes of exotic looking perennial such as Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, Salvia ‘Amistad’ and Kniphofia ‘Royal Standard’ to accentuate the bold foliage planting.
  • Soft grasses, such as Miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus’ and Stipa tenuissima to add movement, texture and contrast to the larger leaved plants
  • Red Daylilies
  • Fatsia japonica
  • Purple-leaf Heuchera

For orange and peachy hues

  • Achillea terracotta
  • Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora ‘Columbus’
  • Canna lily
  • Chaenomeles speciosa (Flowering Quince)
  • Coreopsis ‘Golden Sphere’
  • Gerberas Eschscholzia californica (Californian poppy)
  • Geum ‘Mai Tai’
  • Strelitzia reginae (Bird of Paradise)
Chaenomeles speciosa

Architectural Plants

Architectural plants in a garden add height, structure, and drama and are particularly effective in smaller gardens for creating atmosphere, reminiscent of holidays abroad.

For shady spots:

Fatsia japonica
• Clump forming Fargesia bamboo
Acer palmatum (Japanese maple)
Dicksonia antarctica (tree fern)

For sunnier aspects:

• Phormiums
• Eriobotyra japonica
Trachycarpus fortunei
Phyllostachys and other Bamboo
Cordyline australis

<shop hardy exotic plants>

How do we do it?

Creative Landscape Company’s Garden Design and Build team were invited to transform the back garden of a beautiful town house in Berkshire. With roots in Malaysia and a love of Malaysian style gardens, our clients wanted to swap their boring lawn for a fully planted garden that would evoke a tropical atmosphere and provide seclusion from neighbouring buildings.

This is how we created an award winning Tropical garden in Berkshire <click here>


British winters – plant selection is key. To create a tropical garden in the UK you need to mimic plants that won’t survive in our climate with hardy alternatives whilst maintaining a tropical planting scheme
Protect your exotics during our British winters.