Summer is coming to an end for those of us in West Chester and the rest of the Northeast. This may make you long for the Caribbean. It is possible to get that tropical resort feel in your own backyard!
We recently reviewed a variety of backyard themes to enhance your landscape—all designed around a privacy fence. In this post, we’ll go over how to achieve our first idea, the Tropical Oasis, so you can skip the passport and escape without leaving your home.
Elements of Your Tropical Oasis
The Lusher, the Better
Your northeastern yard may not be lush with palm trees, but you can compensate with a variety of other plants that give off that tropical vibe. What exactly does that mean? Tropical plants are known for their large leaves and brightly colored flowers. You can pick out plants with those traits that thrive in our temperate climate. Ferns are one of the most common plants that can survive a variety of climates but reminds us of the tropics. Other plants to consider include:
Northern Catalpa is an ornamental tree that can grow anywhere in North America. It is medium-sized with large, heart-shaped leaves.
Pawpaw is a member of the Annonaceae family, which includes a variety of tropical trees and shrubs. It is the only member of its family that is not confined to the tropics, and it’s known for its large leaves as well as the edible fruit it bears.
Rhododendron is a genus of woody, usually flowering trees and shrubs that includes the azalea. These colorful flowers are a great touch to your Tropical Oasis.
Amaranth refers to a variety of flowering plants that grow in summer or autumn. Colors of the flowers range from purple to red to green to gold.
Tiger Eyes Sumac
Tiger Eyes Sumac is a shrub native to North America that feels strangely tropical—maybe it’s the bright lime leaves that can turn yellow, red, and orange in fall, or maybe it’s the fact that this plant can grow six feet high for extra privacy.
You can layer these plants so they create a canopy for the best effect. These thick layers of foliage serve as a complement to your fence by creating extra privacy.
A privacy fence is a necessity to keep your Tropical Oasis peaceful!
A Natural Privacy Fence
While your plants will create a beautiful barrier, it doesn’t hurt to add an extra layer of protection. Sometimes, there’s nothing like a natural wood fence. However, you can achieve the look of a wood fence with PVC or composite. Many of the synthetic options are available in wood-replicating textures. Of course, if we had to pick one of our fences for a Tropical Oasis, it would definitely be a lattice tongue and groove cedar fence. This is a great way to incorporate a native Northeastern plant into your Tropical Oasis.
Another type of wood that would be great for a Tropical Oasis—and perhaps a bit more authentic—is Ipe, a tropical hardwood. Ipe and cedar are also great materials if you decide to add a deck to your Tropical Oasis, which gives you and your guests a space to relax.
Tiki Torches and Tiki Bars
Perhaps you can’t imagine a Tropical Oasis without tiki torches, which provide light and can also repel mosquitos when filled with citronella oil. However, why not take it one step further and add a whole tiki bar to your backyard—just like a tropical resort would have? A tiki bar is a focal point for guests and a place where you can make margaritas! Don’t forget to style yours with a thatched roof.
Wicker Patio Furniture for Maxium Relaxation
Where are guests going to sit down and enjoy their margaritas? On some wicker patio furniture, of course. Without this touch, there’s nowhere to relax—and relaxation is the goal in your Tropical Oasis. Make sure you choose a weather-resistant set. Decorate chairs and loveseats with tropical-themed pillows to tie the look together.
It’s Party Time….Now for the (Tasty) Finishing Touches
When you debut your Tropical Oasis to your friends and family, you’re going to need to decorate! Serve a menu that makes guests feel like they’re on the beach, and pour drinks into coconut cups with little umbrellas. Some ideal snacks and refreshments include:
- Fruit kabobs with fruits like pineapple and kiwi
- Grilled shrimp on a skewer
- Tortilla chips and fresh salsa—served in coconut shells
- A bowl of tropical punch infused with lemons and limes
There you have it—the beginnings of your very own Tropical Oasis. Soon, when you need to get away, you’ll be able to just step out your back door and be transported to your favorite resort. The fun doesn’t stop here, of course—you can continue adding to your Tropical Oasis over time as you find the inspiration.
Do you have any clever DIY decorating ideas for a Tropical Oasis? Tips for bringing the tropics to West Chester and the east coast? Share in the comments!