Fifthroom Living


Create a Tropical Retreat in Your Own Backyard

Imagine an outdoor living space in your own backyard that likens itself to the Brazilian or Caribbean Tropics.  Drinking out of the ordinary cocktails and snacking on pineapple and guava, you’re sure to feel complete and total escape from the daily grind of temperate climates.  But, you might be thinking that you just live too far north to feel such equatorial repose.  You’re in luck!  I can show you how to recreate a tropical paradise no matter where you live.


Recreate Tropical Vegetation:  Even if you don’t live in a tropical climate, you can recreate a tropical feel by planting foliage in layers to mirror natural growth patterns.  Mix and match broad-leaf greens of different hues, shapes, and sizes with vines and ferns to create a holistically wild feel.  Then, add tropical-style flowers in vibrant colors.  The kind of flowers will depend on your gardening zone, location, and maintenance time… but many varieties of orchids can be grown outdoors across North America.  If you’re still feeling lost, scout out flowers in hot pinks, rich purples, fiery reds, and striking yellows will give the warm and close look of the rain forest.  Have fun, and don’t worry too much about everything going together perfectly.  You’re not paying homage to the manicured gardens of English royalty; you’re mirroring the untouched wilds of the rain forest!


Use Wicker Furniture with Teak and Eucalyptus Accents: Allow your outdoor furniture to mirror your tropical garden with inspired furnishings.  The deep and natural coloring of wicker patio furniture is a perfect choice, and the softness creates the rustic ideal of a hidden retreat.  Teak, a material harvested in the rain forest, is also a wonderful pick; whether you accent with a Teak side table, Teak garden bench, or even teak chaise lounges, the durable hardwood will bring out a tropical feel.  Lastly, for an even more exotic look, try FSC Certified Eucalyptus from Brazil.  It has an organically, completely authentic, tropical sense with hints of deep red in the tight-grained wood.  Again, don’t let yourself have a moment of anxiety over some kind of exact ratio of materials.  Use whichever material you like the best, and mix and match it to your liking!  An exotic approach means a relaxed approach, so let your more experimental design instincts run wild!


Having outdoor furniture that reflects the rest of the vegetation will bring your entire outdoor living space together.  Whatever material you use, it’s also very important that your patio furniture reflects your personality and desired use. Chaise lounges and garden benches are perfect for families looking to lounge and socialize all afternoon; while picnic tables and outdoor dining sets are best for people hoping to eat most of their meals outside.  If you plan to do a lot of entertaining, a bar set or refreshment stand will offer both style and function. Of course, if you have enough space to allow it, you can have both a living area and a dining area for complete versatility!


Use Bright Colored Fabrics: While your furniture highlights dark, natural colors… you’ll want to bring out the vibrant shades of your tropical flowers with fabric accents.  Outdoor furniture cushions, patio umbrellas, table cloths, or outdoor pillows are all great ways to add lively hues to your decorating scheme.  Choosing solid colors in the same or similar shades to your most used tropical flowers will bring the whole space together.  Use stripes and patterns carefully, or even sparingly, to keep the more simple and rustic theme in tact.  The best place for busy patterns is on dishware or urns to reflect the rich and brightly decorated pottery often found in tropical climates.

Couple a Fire Element with a Water Feature: Even if you live in the most temperate climate, you can give the steamy feeling of the rain forest by mixing fire and water. Of course, you can choose to install a swimming pool for the height of luxury and function, or have a small water garden or koi pond put in.  But more than having a pond or pool, moving water, like a water fall, is really ideal for a tropical garden.  Whether you have a fountain, or water gently flowing over rocks, the sounds of water through out the garden will be the absolute best for exotic gardens.

Adding a fire pit or fire ring will create wonderful contrast.  Like striking camps set up in the rain forest, a place for a true burning fire will make the entire area seem authentic while creating an inviting appeal.  Plus, having both fire and water work together will lend the steamy appeal without all the humidity!


Create a Hidden Retreat:  For the ultimate in tropical outdoor spaces, create a hidden retreat.  Accessible by a winding garden path away from the rest of the house, the sky and your imagination are the only limits to creating a unique area.  For people interested in large-scale entertainment, a tiki bar gazebo can be a wonderfully conversational garden structure that will have guests flocking.  But, if private repose is your prerogative, a spa shelter for a hot tub will certainly serve you like a fresh hot water spring!  A Red Cedar Cabana or Gazebo also make perfect hide-aways.  Decorated with the same wicker, teak, and eucalyptus outdoor furniture, you can also install an exotic outdoor ceiling fan with palm or tropical leaf blades.  Try setting it up with a small desk with typewriter and leather bound notebooks to give the appearance of an explorer’s outpost.  Or, use chaise lounges and a well placed hammock to make a tropical retreat fit for royalty.  After all, you will be the King or Queen of your retreat!

Traveling and vacationing are wonderful pastimes, but creating brilliant outdoor living spaces with the design and luxury of far away retreats allows both your family and your friends to escape at any time, all year long.  A tropical outdoor living space will allow you to feel like you’ve flown to a resort in the Bahamas at a moment’s notice.  Integrating large-leaf foliage with bright colored flowers along side natural wicker, teak, and eucalyptus furnishings accented with bright, solid fabrics will set a calming and interesting color scheme.  Mixing fire and water features will give the appearance of steamy climates without the humidity, while creating a hidden retreat can be both a hub for entertaining and an escape for true repose!  Experience the versatility of a tropical outdoor living space!




Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *