Create A Tropical Landscape Getaway In Your Own Yard

Tropical landscape isn’t just a term you’d hear near the beach. This design style affects your landscape and is usually defined by where the components in your yard are native to. And I don’t mean Lowe’s! 

Tropical Landscape

What I mean is where the plants originated. Perhaps you have a Southern United States vibe or maybe a New Zealand. No matter what you choose, it most likely is connected to a specific climate. Is yours a tropical landscape? 

What Is A Tropical Landscape?

Tropical landscapes are defined by the area they are native to, which is tropical areas. They are usually recognized by the bright green of the greenery, the slight wetness in the area, and the vibrant color of the flowers. 

A mock tropical landscape is possible in most climates although it is very difficult to achieve in a desert climate. However, you can create a gorgeous desert landscape that is just as appealing as a tropical one. 

History Of The Tropical Landscape

History Of The Tropical Landscape

The tropical landscape has less of a history and more of an origin. Australia, Canada, and Norway have created indoor tropical gardens despite the harsher outdoor weather, but natural tropical landscapes are found in tropical climates.

The first use of man-made tropical landscapes began in Europe when the romanticizing of exotic plants came to be. Europeans wanted to create those visions in their own towns and their own courtyards. 

Because traveling during this time was so difficult, explorers would bring seeds and plants from these tropical areas and sell them to botanists. These people would expand them by creating tropical gardens.

Then, they would sell the excess to the rich who would crate immaculate tropical landscapes on their own properties. Eventually, there became so many tropical plants in Europe, that there were enough to sell to the middle class. 

Tropical Landscape Plants And Trees

Tropical Plants And Trees

Tropical plants are trees are the most important part of a tropical landscape. Here are some tropical plants and tropical trees that you can add to your yard to give you a wonderful base as well as complete your yard. 

Bird Of Paradise 

I always mention birds of paradise when mentioning indoor plants, but the truth is, they can grow outdoors too. It is easy to grow and it has bright flowers that automatically look tropical, fitting into a tropical landscape. 


People tend to underestimate ferns because they can grow almost anywhere, they are easy to keep alive, and they have been popular for decades. But there are many different types of ferns, so finding a unique one isn’t difficult. 

Banana Tree

Is there anything more tropical than a banana tree? Banana trees are surprisingly easy to take care of and they produce fruit. So not only do they look great they offer you summertime snacks that are extra tasty. 

Elephant Ears

Elephant ears are plants with huge leaves that look like elephant ears. Not only are they the same shape, but they are similar in size when at full maturity. Now, this is a tropical plant that will make a big impact.

Toad Lily

The toad lily is an adorable flower with a spotted toad-like pattern on its petals. It is white with purple stencils though there are varieties with blue and orange designs. So finding one like that is a real treat.


Bamboo may not be fully tropical, but it merges well with a tropical landscape. It looks great and grows super fast. You never have to worry about your bamboo dying because it is so fast-growing and plentiful. 

Passion Flower

It’s not just the same that beams love and joy, because this flower looks like it has a personality to boot. It is a periwinkle color with both full white petals and wiry purple petals that grow from the center of this lively flower.

Dragon Tree

Dragon trees are a favorite for everyone that has ever had one. They can grow to be extremely tall but generally only get a few feet higher than a human. Note that there are multiple types of dragon trees. 


This one is one of my favorites. Bromeliads are gorgeous flowers that look like dragon fruit as a flower. Is there a fruit more tropical or fantasy-like than a dragon fruit? Maybe add a dragon fruit plant too! 

Palm Trees

Yep, we had to do it! Palm trees are perfect tropical landscape trees that can grow anywhere. You can find palm trees near the beach, in the desert, and even up north. Find the right type of palm tree for your climate. 


The cordyline plant isn’t a particularly popular plant, but it can be beautiful. It is red and green, giving it a Christmas-like vibe. They can grow in large packs as well, letting you line any garden with them. 

Tropical Landscape With Rocks

Tropical Landscaping With Rocks

There are many ways that you can create gorgeous tropical landscapes with rocks. The type of rock you use isn’t all that important because in most cases, rocks are rocks. It’s really the way that you use the rocks that matters.

After all, even each type of rock varies in its own family. There isn’t a type of rock that looks the same no matter what so focusing on proper usage is more important than getting caught up on the right type of rock. Here are a few ideas. 


Gravel is one of the easiest and most versatile rocks to use. It can also be quite cheap. One medium-priced gravel is called pea gravel. It can be used to create pathways, patios, and more natural-looking designs. 


Pavers can be used to create a walkway that is solid and safe. While other walkways may look more natural, pavers offer a safe place without edges that won’t slip away. This is perfect for kids and the elderly. 

Stepping Stones

Stepping stones look more natural and are more unique than pavers. They can be round, square, or oddly-shaped. Add them as a pathway or a border along your tropical landscape. It’s fun to get creative!

Creek Beds

A dry creek bed that is. It can be fun to create a dry creek bed in your yard, especially if you have a natural ditch. Then, you can add a little footbridge along the way to create a more lived-in tropical vibe.

Zen Garden

Though zen gardens aren’t necessarily tropical landscapes, you can make one look that way by surrounding it with tropical plants. Use colorful sand and add some rocks and tools that look tropical instead of traditional. 

Raised Garden Beds

You can use rocks to create raised garden beds. This separates them from the rest of the yard and keeps them safe from traffic. It also keeps them safe from small critters that like to feast on your favorite plants. 

Retaining Walls

Retaining walls are a great way to use rocks to create a tropical landscape. It will also look more village-like than completely natural, but this can add to the character. You can also use wood to create retaining walls. 

Adding Water To A Tropical Landscape 

Adding Water To A Tropical Landscape 

A good idea for a tropical landscape is to add a water source. This can be a small river, a pond, or a fountain. If you have the money and space, a natural-looking spring that works as a pool is ideal for a tropical landscape.

 But if you are short on space and cash, then a simple fountain of any size will work. Ones that look like waterfalls are the best for this type of design, but anything that favors a natural look will work just fine. 

If you want something really special, you can hire a landscape contractor to help out. They can plant the design with you and give you a natural water source that is useful, eco-friendly and looks amazing. 

Tropical Landscape Barriers 

You can’t just add any type of fence to a tropical landscape. You need something that looks legit. The trick is not to find a high-end fence, but rather one that looks natural or one that was made hundreds of fo years ago.

Because in a tropical landscape, natural barriers look amazing. But if you want to build a fence to cover more ground and give you more privacy, using salved wood is perfect. A railroad tie retaining wall is a good example. 

As for natural barriers, planting trees or bamboo along the edge of your yard can work great. But if you add retaining walls, you can plant on top of them to create a barrier that is twice as tall as it would be otherwise. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Can You Plant Roses In A Tropical Landscape?

Yes, you can. Roses work well in dry climates but they can work in rainforests too as long as you ensure that they don’t get too wet. So keep them dry or elevate them so you can control how much water they get.

How Do I Create A Tropical Landscape Pool?

Pools look great in tropical landscapes. While a standard pool can work, it is better to use the landscape to your advantage and let them inspire you. Use stones and trees as the border, creating waterfalls where you can.

Can A Tropical Landscape Be In A Desert?

While you can’t use all the tropical plants in a desert landscape, you can fake it out. Use bright succulents and palm trees which work well in both climates. Then either use fake plants or use other plants that work well in both.

What Plants Go In A Tropical Landscape?

Many plants grow in a tropical landscape. Palm trees and bromeliads are great choices. Anything that can handle getting fairly wet without dying or yellowing works well. So start there and expand.

Are There Set Rules For A Tropical Landscape? 

No. That’s the beauty of landscaping. You can create a tropical landscape any way that you like. You can easily piece the landscape together over years, it’s the end result that matters, that and your mindset. 

Making The Tropical Landscape Your Own

Following a guide is a great place to start, but in the end, it’s important to make the tropical landscape your own. Pick out plants that make you happy and consider adding tropical landscape man-made decor.

This can include totems, statues, and bridges. If you feel like adding a tropical garden gnome, then do it. There are no rules when it comes to landscaping. This is your escape and it should make you happy.