Top Tips for Creating a
Tropical Garden in a
UK Climate

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We often return from our holidays with memories of palm trees and exotic gardens that unfortunately we don’t have the climate for in the UK. But that’s not to say we can’t mimic the feel of those gardens with something a little more exotic than our traditional planting and furnishings.

Here are some great ideas from top for creating a different garden feeling, sometimes tropical, sometimes dry, but always exotic.

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Water feature or pond

There are different kinds of water features that one can install in a garden. Commonly used feature is a pond, waterfall or bird bath. Installing these not only enhances your gardens appearance, but also has other benefits to offer, like offering a haven to wildlife.  Sound produced by flowing water off a fountain spreads its own soothing sound, which has a calming effect on the mind. 

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Contrast soft and hard


Designing plants in a tropical garden ties in well with large rocks, gravel or logs .

This is a way of using those big rocks and logs to avoid the hassle and expense of removing them, and instead turn them into a great feature.

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Give small spaces depth with big foliage


This garden takes advantage of big foliage plants, such as the bananas, Canna lily's and strelitzias, to make a strong statement for its diminutive size.

The large leaves draw the eye whilst adding depth to the garden. 

 

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Create drama with lighting

Garden lighting can transform big foliage plants into something magical at night. In this garden, just a few lights are used to guide us down the path. The lights mainly highlight the foliage rather than the surfaces, which makes for a much more interesting journey and plant composition.

If you’re on a budget, there are some great solar-powered lights available these days that will frame a pathway. However, for foliage impact, you’ll need to install mains-connected garden LED lights.

 

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Colour your garden

We think of the tropics as being full of large foliage plants, but don’t forget to add some colour, too. Many colourful tropical plants grow well in a UK climate like dahlias, crocosmia, Chasmanthe, Calla Lilies, daylilies, Voodoo Lily, rudbeckia, marigolds, canna lily's, arums, coleus, Colocasia, Hedychium, Starfish Lily, Gloriosa and agapanthus.

You can choose plants like these for your tropical garden, or even plant in pots.

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Add some tropical luxury

Outdoor showers are the epitome of outdoor luxury and are surprisingly inexpensive to install. Pick a private corner of your garden that’s not overlooked and make a simple installation to an outdoor tap. For year-round hot water or bring in a professional to install a solar heating system.

 

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Big up your garden

Agave plants need a sunny location to become this big, but once grown, they will stop passers-by in their tracks.

They’re a little sharp at the ends of their leaves, so don’t plant them where there’s frequent passing traffic.

 

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Partner with familiar plants

Just a few tropical-style plants can reinvent an existing border. In this garden, familiar varieties mix with tree ferns to transform the planting into another world.

Perennials with great foliage provide interesting flowers throughout the spring and summer, while the tree ferns will carry on giving architectural interest during the winter months, even if they’re covered up for protection from the frost.