5 Tips for Creating a Tropical Backyard

Lush plants and natural materials are the foundations for a tropical space.
Lush plants and natural materials are the foundations for a tropical space.

The backyard should be an oasis where the family can go to relax and enjoy the company of loved ones or grab a moment of peace. When choosing a backyard style, it’s important to draw on the style of the places that inspire contentment, and for many that is a tropical paradise. Despite what many people think, living in a tropical climate isn’t required to create a tropical oasis for a backyard. Add these five easy-to-find elements to create a yard that will make every day feel like a vacation.


Bamboo is an easy-to-grow plant that gets tall very quickly and is a great border to create privacy between neighbors. Even though it typically grows in the tropics, it is also viable in colder zones, making it a great way to add an instant touch of tropical style in any part of the country. If growing bamboo is not an option, bamboo fencing is available on rolls at most home improvement stores and can be used on between property lines, to define a seating area, or wrapped around an outdoor bar.

Large Lush Plants

Palm trees and elephant ears are the natural choice for tropical landscapes, but when not planted in warmer climates they aren’t viable options. The important factor in selecting plants for a tropical backyard is to choose plants that have large lush leaves. Ferns and hostas are wonderful options for more temperate yards and come in dozens of variety so that they can be layered to add height and depth to a garden. Tropical spaces teem with foliage so the more the better.

Accents of Bright Colors

Turquoise, fuchsia, yellow, and orange are just a few of the colors that are frequently spotted in tropical locales, and they can be incorporated into a backyard space in many ways. Shrubs such as vibrant fuchsia azaleas thrive in many parts of the country to add a spot of springtime color. Other tropical plants such as hibiscus and orchids can be planted in pots to be brought inside in the winter and moved back outdoors for the summer. For those who don’t have a green thumb, bright colors can be added via fun throw pillows on outdoor furniture or a bold umbrella.

Water Features

The most visited tropical destinations are those that are on the water, and while adding a beach to the backyard isn’t a reality for most, adding a water feature can be. No matter how large an outdoor space, there is always somewhere to fit a water feature whether it is a large waterfall or a small vertical fountain. The sound of the water running is calming and will drown out much of the peripheral noise so that there are no interruptions in the backyard oasis.


Once the other elements of a tropical backyard are installed it’s crucial to have a spot to lounge and enjoy it all. A large hammock is the natural choice for a tropical, relaxing vibe, and if it can be hung in between two trees that’s all the better. Otherwise, place it on a sturdy frame that can withstand many lazy afternoons filled with good books, naps, and sipping lemonade.