How to create a tropical lush garden

Turn your backyard into a tropical-inspired space so you can enjoy a holiday at home, every day.

Bring island life home

If an island getaway isn’t likely in the near future, you can still enjoy the lush beauty and tranquillity of a tropical setting at home. Characterised by layers of foliage, cooling shade and, above all, a feeling of relaxation, a tropical garden can help to take you away from the “real world” of work and deadlines – and stepping out of your back door can be almost as good as an overseas holiday.

Introduce greenery

There’s no such thing as too much greenery in a tropical garden. Layer verdant, large-leaved plants that rustle in the breeze – such as cordylines, bromeliads and the like – at ground level, with bamboo and palm trees for height (bring in pots if your space is on the small side). The effect will be cooling and shady, as the larger plants offer a reprieve from the heat and allow dappled light to filter through. 

Keep any manmade materials minimal or discreet: use greenery or bamboo screening to cover hard surfaces like masonry walls or paling fences.

lush garden

Add pops of colour

While the dominant palette of a tropical garden is all shades of green, any colour you add will sizzle against the verdant backdrop. 

Tropical plants with foliage in shades of red and purple, or flowers like frangipani, hibiscus or ornamental ginger (your local climate permitting) will add bright pops of colour reminiscent of a south sea island destination. 

Follow Mother Nature’s lead in your styling, with cushions and accessories in similar zesty shades.

lush garden

Create a laidback lounge area

Whether you’re entertaining friends or lazing away the afternoon solo, a tropical garden is ideally suited to furniture you can sink into. 

Choose a sofa setting that’s low, deep and comfortable, in island-inspired natural materials like heavy timber or rattan, with soft cushions that encourage lounging. And nothing says tropical paradise like a hammock – bonus points if you can sling it between two palm trees! 

If space allows, add an oversized umbrella for cooling shade.

lush garden

Bring on alfresco dining

Capture the friendly feeling of a tropical tourist destination at home with an outdoor cooking and entertaining area. If there’s a particular style of barbecue to suit this look, it’s the smoker. Just imagine the smell of barbecue and, after long hours of cooking, enjoying a leisurely casual feast with your favourite people. You’ll really feel you’re on island time. 

lush garden

Get that typically tropical feel with plants

Grow some palms in your garden for a lush foundation.

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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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