getting tropical style
1. Use plants with big, glossy leaves
2. Create foliage texture contrasts
3. Use plants with colourful leaves
4. Use flowers with saturated colours
5. Plant densely
6. Create layered plantings
You don't have to live in the tropics to have a tropical style garden.
Characteristic materials like hardwood timber furniture with bright or floral print cushions; stone carvings; glazed pots; wicker planters; rattan mats; bamboo, rushes and thatch are all widely available.
When it comes to the plants, those from the tropics are the obvious choice for a tropical garden design. But if you live in cooler areas, you can still achieve a tropical effect by using plants that don't necessarily come from the tropics but have similar features.
Many plants from the tropical have big, dark green leaves that make the most of sunlight in dark rainforests. Leaves are often glossy or segmented to withstand regular heavy downpours. These divided leaves also help create the variety of foliage textures typical of tropical designs.
Bold foliage colours other than green - or variegated with stripes or splashes of yellow, orange, pink, red, purple and lime - also give a flamboyant tropical feel.
Fruit and bright flowers evoke the colour and richness of the tropics too. Look for flowers in hot, saturated colours or white and scented ones that have evolved to attract nocturnal pollinators.
Tropical planting design can imitate rainforest jungles; with a dense and seemingly random tangle of vegetation that creates cool and shady spaces.
Another approach is the resort style with mass-plantings in more formal blocks of colour and texture. Both approaches draw on the canopy, understorey and groundcover levels of rainforests to create a lush, layered effect; particularly building height towards the background.
Climbing vines can add yet layer. Palms, ferns, cycads, bromeliads, orchids, epiphytes and bamboos are other plant types with a tropical feel to look at in our Plant Selector. Or simply search on "tropical" under design style to find tropical style plants for your area.
Tell our Plant Selector what you want & like and we'll search thousands of plant profiles for compatible matches
Plant of the Day
Plant type: evergreen shrub
H: 3m W: 2m
Sunlight: hot overhead sun
Annabel, Orange NSW
Before you plant your garden, make sure you know the path of the sun in the different seasons and plant accordingly.
Recently added tropical articles
Most viewed tropical articles
Get the Plant Selector's full features plus news, forums & competitions. Sign up, it's free.
Click here for more