If you're looking for ideas to bring the tropics to your backyard, get out the notepad and start putting your ideas on paper. Make your backyard into the paradise you desire using exotic plants and water accents such as ponds or waterfalls along with containers or pottery that lend a tropical influence. Use your imagination and create a great place to entertain your family and friends.
There are several types of palm trees that come in varying heights which can be used to transform your backyard area into a lush tropical playground. Keep in mind that palms need to be fertilized several times throughout the year, and be sure that your plans include enough growing room for the tree. Choose from a variety of palm trees, including Bismark palm and Caryota Gigas, which are good trees to create a canopy to provide some shade in the yard. Another good addition is a smaller pygmy date palm, a shorter tree that will give good contrast to the taller trees.
Depending on the plans for your backyard, you may want to create pathways to break up the plant groupings. Fill in spaces with a variety of plants such as ferns, banana or citrus trees, mosses and tropical plants that reach a variety of sizes to attract visual interest.
After choosing your plants and keeping in mind how much space each needs, create groups of plants that complement each other. Pair small plants with large ones, and short plants with taller ones. A plant that can add interest to your backyard is the castor bean--it's a fast grower so you can get an established-looking plant very quickly. Incorporate elephant ear plants, mosses and a few tropical grasses. If you have opted to include a pond or waterfall, create interest by including tropical plants around it. Large rocks do well as an accent in this area, also.
Bamboo, Tiki and More
You may want to include a small bamboo garden, using a couple of different types of bamboo. Be sure to use those that are labeled as clumping bamboos so that they don't overtake your yard. A good choice that offers some contrast is black bamboo. A few strategically placed tiki torches can complete the tropical feel of a backyard.