Create a Tropical Garden

Relaxing and enticing. Whether you want to entertain or spend a lazy afternoon with a good book and rum based cocktail, 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.

These are our top picks:

  • Multi-stemmed Photinia
  • Indian Bean tree - Catalpa bignonioides
  • Evergreen Magnolia grandiflora
  • Fargesia rufa
  • Phormium Variegatum
  • Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’ (great as a feature in a large pot, needs winter protection)
  • Eriobotyra japonica
  • Chamaerops humilis
  • 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 zebrinus and Stipa tenuissima to add movement, texture and contrast to the larger leaved plants
  • Red day lilies
  • Purple-leaf Heuchera

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:

  • Large leaf Fatsia japonica
  • Clump forming Fargesia bamboo
  • Acer palmatum Bloodgood (Japanese maple)
  • Dicksonia Antarctica (tree fern)
  • Pieris

For sunnier aspects:

  • Phormiums in many colours
  • Eriobotyra japonica
  • Trachycarpus fortune
  • Phyllostachys and other bamboo (black and yellow stemmed - great for privacy screening
  • Cordyline australis both green and red varieties (Cordyline 'Red Star' shown above).  

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>

Challenges

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 <click here for more information on hardy exotics>

Protect your exotics during our British winters <find out more>