Here is our guide to creating a lush, tropical inspired garden. With clever plant selection and the right materials it is possible to create a tropical inspired garden that wouldn’t look out of place in Brazil or Bali. With the right design and planning, the space available to you isn’t a barrier. Small doesn’t have to mean simple.
The success of a town or city garden often depends on establishing a sense of privacy without losing too much sunlight and maximising space in what can be a limited area. If views outside of the garden can be restricted, they will have less influence on the style of the garden within enabling you to create a private tropical hideaway
THE DESIGN & MATERIALS
• In a smaller area, flow from the house through to the garden is essential.
• Choose natural materials such as cane, timber, stone and concrete.
• Built in seating areas to save space, even raised beds can double up as seating.
• Use straight lines but keep things off centre so the garden doesn’t become to boxy.
• Add a water feature – The sound of water can add an additional dimension, encouraging wildlife and offering a relaxing distraction from noise outside; each enhances the intimacy of the space and it’s theme.
• A few big out of scale plants will break up the area and create drama rather than having lines of narrow bedding.
• Use architectural plants for structure and interest.
• Paint fences in dark colours for a contemporary look and to make green foliage pop. Dark and neutrals make a space seem bigger and let the plants and features take centre stage.
• Hide walls and fences that don’t fit with your tropical theme with instant bamboo screening
• Lighting is key; it can make the space appear bigger, draw your eye to certain elements and keep you outside for longer in the evenings. Consider up-lighting under feature plants such as ferns and palms.
Use a small selection of hard-working plants that will give you the maximum all round colour and interest. 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.
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.
Our top plant picks are:
• Musa basjoo (requires winter protection)
• Evergreen Magnolia grandiflora
• Fargesia rufa
• Phormium Variegatum
• Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’ (requires winter protection)
• Eriobotyra japonica
• Purple-leaf Heuchera
• Large leaf Fatsia japonica
• Dicksonia Antarctica (tree fern)
• Eriobotyra japonica
• Trachycarpus fortunei
• Cordyline australis
THINGS TO AVOID
• Low wide borders/beds
• Grass lawns