25 Tropical Landscaping Florida Ideas To Welcome Summer

Florida is known for its warm climate when summer arrives. Considering this fact, not all plants can survive in Florida heat. It’s no wonder many Floridians choose a tropical landscaping Florida theme for their garden. Typically, such gardens will feature Florida’s tropical plants that can withstand the local climate effortlessly. Hence, the owners won’t be bothered by its maintenance.

To help you determine which tropical landscaping Florida design matches your home theme, we’ve put together some exciting inspirations that are worth checking out.

Most of them bring up a green background with a vibrant shade from flowers and variegated leafy plants. Some also feature woods and rocks to elevate the tropical elements in your Florida yard. Interested? Let’s check out the list!

What Is Tropical Landscaping?

Understanding the term tropical landscaping design would be better before having one in your house. Tropical landscaping is a landscape setting theme that makes tropical plants as the stars. In general, gardens that adopt this theme emphasize the greenery of leafy plants and some vibrant colors of flowers to bring space to life.

Some homeowners will also add water features, such as a pond, pool, fountain, or bird bath, as a natural outdoor oasis in the middle of greenery. Even though not many regions have tropical climates, several states like Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia will have such tropical weather when summer arrives.

What Are The Features Of A Tropical Landscape?

In case you want to make a tropical landscape, you must feature tropical plants as the hallmark of your garden. Combine broadleaf tropical plants and leafy plants to form a lush garden. Besides that, those tropicals will offer a calming atmosphere. You can choose hibiscus, cape jasmine, and bougainvillea, which have striking blooms as tropical plants for central Florida. Then, balance the colors with philodendron, foxtail fern, croton, and palm tree for the green touches.

Apart from tropical plants, tropical landscapes usually include water features and rocks to complete the setting. Water features can create humid conditions identical to tropical climates, while the stone is generally added as borders along garden walkways.

What Tropical Plants Grow Well In Florida?

Florida stands in the U.S. hardiness zones 8-11. Among these zones, zone 11 has south Florida weather with hot and humid conditions in the summer. Summer temperatures are in the 70°F – 90°F range, while winter lows are only 40°F to 45°F. Therefore, many tropical plants and tropical floral shrubs grow in the Southern part of Florida. 

However, many tropical plants can grow well in other zones as long as they are in zones 8-11. Some of them are:

  • Zone 8-11: cape honeysuckle, hibiscus, canna lily, Bolivian sunset, pinwheel jasmine, allamanda bush, cape jasmine, crotons, variegated ginger and plumeria tree.
  • Zone 10-11: egyptian star flower, bougainvillea, flame of the woods, viburnum, bird of paradise and heliconia.

Tropical Front Yard Florida Landscaping

The front garden is one of the main attractions of your home. It can represent an overview of the tropical exterior theme of your home design. For that reason, people are competing to decorate it as best they can with various tropical plants and flowers. Below, we have compiled the most exquisite front yard tropical landscaping you can get inspired from. Let’s take a look!

1. Green Tropical Garden 

tropical landscaping florida
Source: Pinterest (@Roxann Grumm)

This design looks simple and truly emphasizes the tropical vibes by growing three palm trees as the main characters. Meanwhile, the lawns add more greenery to the garden while ensuring a safe space for your kids and pets to stroll around. To make it less plain, you can grow some Ti plants behind the palms that offer their red leaves to the landscape. Crotons will also look awesome for garden borders with the pavements.

2. Sub-Tropical Jungle Paradise

tropical landscaping florida
Source: Pinterest (@craigreynolds.net)

If you have a wide space next to your patio, we recommend transforming it into a mini sub-tropical jungle paradise. Instead of growing flowers, combining several leafy plants and trees that differ in size and leaf type will be best. You can grow banana plants with broad leaves close to palm trees to jazz up the tropical theme. In case you have trouble finding banana plants, replace them with Calathea lutea. Apart from that, add ferns, philodendrons, and caladiums to join the pack. Remember to grow lawns as a flat space to allow you to get access to this mini jungle.

3. Coastal Courtyard

tropical landscaping florida
Source: Pinterest (@reddit.com)

The key feature of a tropical garden is tropical plants. So, if you don’t have stones or water features, though it will be better, that’s OK! Like this coastal courtyard, you can arrange some tropicals to create a stunning garden with a tropical landscaping Florida theme. The blend of Ti Plant and Monstera offers different colors to the area. Meanwhile, you can grow flowers with mixed shades around the corner. Don’t forget to add a palm tree to elevate the tropical setting!

4. Colorful Tropical Symphony

tropical landscaping florida
Source: Pinterest (@TruVine Design)

Instead of leaving the area under your window sill empty, how about doing a makeover by planting various tropical plants? You can start with the Ti Plant closest to the window. Then, grow green leafy plants in front of it and some other flowering ones as the finishing touch. The red color of the Ti Plant will look bright among the green leaves and lawns, while the flowers are a lovely decoration in between.

5. Enclosed Tropical Bed

tropical landscaping florida
Source: Pinterest (@Balcony Garden Web)

If you like a tropical forest’s shady and relaxing atmosphere, you can have it in your front yard with tropical plants. It doesn’t have to be fancy. You only need to prepare some tropical plants that have different characteristics to mimic the forest landscape. We suggest combining broad-leaf plants and palms for features in the garden. Use pots if you don’t have vast space, then place them on the patio. And for the flowers, you can try Angel’s trumpet to offer colorful shades, but don’t overwhelm the theme.

6. Front Tropical Bordering

tropical landscaping florida
Source: Pinterest (@Sunset)

Some people like colorful tropical landscapes because they feel livelier and livelier. If you are one of them, then this front tropical bordering is the right garden design. The palms stand tall among the flames of the wood, giving a bold tropical statement. Meanwhile, the agave looks dashing between the thickets of leaves. You can add bluish succulents as ground covers to add to the beauty of this setting.

7. Palm Curb Garden

tropical landscaping florida
Source: Pinterest (@Better Homes and Gardens)

In case you don’t like your garden too dense with leaves and flowers, you can just grow palms, philodendrons, and heliconia to adorn the outdoor space. But to make it less dull, you must arrange the palms on the front patio. Choose the tall varieties to offer shade and a bold statement of tropical setting. At the palm base, you can plant philodendrons, while heliconia will be great on the opposite side to avoid being crowded. Also, growing lawns is a great idea to offer a flat landscape.

8. Patio Florida Landscape

tropical landscaping florida
Source: Pinterest (@trendey.com)

Unless you have a dessert garden, leaving your patio garden with no plants may not be the best idea as it will look too arid. Besides, a garden without plants also makes the temperature feel hotter. Therefore, it will be better to grow tropical plants like foxtail ferns and snake plants that will not make your outdoor area look crowded. You can grow them in layers with low-growing flowering plants with clusters of tiny blooms to balance the setting. Add a palm tree to emphasize the tropical landscaping Florida theme.

9. Tropical’s House Curb

tropical landscaping florida
Source: Pinterest (@Houzz)

A tropical garden may only be suitable for some since it is characterized by a dense foliage setting. But thankfully, you can make it simpler and neater with this tropical house curb design. Only by planting palm trees, agave, ti plant, and some flowering tropicals, your front yard will display a vivid tropical atmosphere. Not to mention the lawns that offer a wide space to hang around or have fun playing with your doggies. Interested in designing one?

10. Florida Green Landscape

tropical landscaping florida
Source: Pinterest (@Zillow)

Unlike the previous one, which brings up a simple way of designing tropical gardens, this one is more modern but doesn’t leave the dense foliage behind. The palms are still there to offer a dashing statement of the tropical idea, surrounded by viburnums as the borders to the garden path. You can also grow Ti Plant or crotons next to the palms to provide vibrant shades. If you wish to have another thick tropical spot, grow philodendrons or variegated ginger on the other side of the walkways.

11. Tropical Side Garden Design

tropical landscaping florida
Source: Pinterest (@pamela-crawford.com)

One of the main tropical elements other than plants is rocks. And here, you can be more playful with them to create a low-maintenance tropical landscape. Instead of choosing an area near the fence, take advantage of the empty space near your side wall. Then, make a slightly ellipse-shaped layout around the wall. Then, border the frame with stones or gravel. Next, you can start growing tropical plants, like Alexander palm, Ti plant, and vase plant. The plant varieties will offer a variety of textures to your minimalist yard.

12. Mediterranean Garden Layout

tropical landscaping florida
Source: Pinterest (@houzz.com.au)

Even though the house doesn’t feature bright peach paint, the overall setting highlights a Mediterranean setting. But that’s fine! You can still make a tropical garden that harmoniously blends with the theme. Instead of dwarf palmetto or alexander palm, grow a pygmy date palm that is commonly grown on the Mediterranean areas. Then, grow some flowers beneath the tree to spice up your garden. Choose those with bright flowers, like red, yellow, or orange, so you can still feel the Mediterranean atmosphere.

Tropical Backyard Florida Landscaping

For those with a small front yard but a large backyard, you can try one of the tropical backyard Florida landscaping below. From zen gardens to minimalist ones, we have got them all covered below!

13. Zen Tropical Walkways

tropical landscaping florida
Source: Pinterest (@trendey.com)

Calling for zen people who want to transform their tropical backyard! We have one beautiful design for you to consider. It features palm trees that grow along the garden pavements, with a Buddhist statue sitting on the side. Meanwhile, other tropical leafy plants with green, purple, and lime shades liven up the small area effortlessly. You can also hang the warm-light bulbs on the wooden fence that illuminate their light stunningly at night.

14. Outdoor Tropical Backyard

tropical landscaping florida
Source: Pinterest (@HGTV)

Have you ever been to Hawaii? This outdoor tropical backyard seems to be inspired by the charming tropical setting of the island of Hawaii. Uniquely, even though there are no colorful decorations from flowers, the palm trees that grow around the area are enough to give a thick atmosphere of tropical islands. Other tropical plants that grow on lawns elevate the landscape even more. You can adopt these ideas to decorate your outdoor lounge or dining area.

15. Bamboo Garden Path

tropical landscaping florida
Source: Pinterest (@bamboosouthcoast.com.au)

Despite being so fascinating and unique as landscaping plants, bamboo can be too dense for home gardens. Especially for those with narrow backyard areas. But thankfully, we can still feature bamboo as garden paths that connect your backyard to the front site to highlight the tropical atmosphere even more. Then, decorate both sides of the walkways with various tropical plants, like dwarf palmetto, Ti plant, ferns, and heliconia. Remember to install garden lights along the path to keep it bright when you walk on it at night.

16. Natural Palm Fence

Natural Palm Fence
Source: Pinterest (@Dr. Sue, DVM)

Do you have any land left by your picket fence? Take advantage of the area to build a retaining wall with some plants growing within. It doesn’t need to be dense; you can grow several palms in a row to make natural palm fencing. Leave a distance between one tree and another so that it can become a planting area for some other tropical plants. We recommend hanging orchids on the fence to give this area a more lively atmosphere.

17. Vibrant Tropical Landscape Design

Vibrant Tropical Landscape Design
Source: Pinterest (@Naomi Findlay)

Though it is possible not to plant palm trees in a tropical garden, that would be incomplete without those iconic trees. Instead of removing them, you can incorporate these trees with other tropical plants, like this vibrant tropical landscape design. The palms give vivid tropical vibes with agave and sago palms. Meanwhile, the purple, low-growing oyster plant offers purple shades that appear to light up among the greenery. So, no flowers, no problems! If you want broad-leaf plants, choose banana plants or Calathea lutea, whose leaves will offer a variety of textures to the area.

18. Rock Tropical Design

Rock Tropical Design
Source: Pinterest (@cbusk.com)

If you are someone who doesn’t want to be bothered by standing water in your backyard when it rains, consider adding rocks to your tropical setting. You can even make a dry creek bed design with white gravel while preventing the garden soil from getting muddy. Then, grow oysters and other leafy plants along the dry riverbed to make the design look real. In case your backyard area is small, you can create a dry river layout connecting to the front yard area or main house. It is simple and, most importantly, low maintenance!

19. Bali-Inspired Tropical Garden

Bali-Inspired Tropical Garden
Source: Pinterest (@Ted Hoek)

Who doesn’t know and love Bali? It is a popular tourist destination for its magnificent beaches. Not only that, many tourists are fascinated by the design of resorts and hotels with a tropical atmosphere. Thankfully, you can make the design home if you are a fan of such a layout. Because Bali tropical gardens are synonymous with banana plants, you must include them in your backyard. Then, adjust other plants like agave, Ti plant, caladiums, and Calathea to spice up the area. Grow all the plants lined up to offer diverse textures, colors, and layers. Also, don’t miss the lawn!

20. Small Backyard Setting

Small Backyard Setting
Source: Pinterest (@ArchDaily Brasil)

Designing a patio in your backyard can be an amazing idea to make the most of a large area. Besides, you can chat while enjoying a cup of tea with your colleagues or family. To make the area more comfortable, why don’t you incorporate tropical settings with tropical plants around? You can try Calathea lutea to grow covering parapets with your neighbors. Then, add philodendrons at the base to wrap around the tiny stems of Calathea. Set a pair of chairs and a table with their backs to the tropical plants to make them a natural background.

21. Minimalist Tropical Backyard Design

Minimalist Tropical Backyard Design
Source: Pinterest (@yvonne)

The minimalist theme never goes wrong in matching with other settings, including a tropical backyard. The idea of creating a dry river bed with gray stones that end up on a palm tree is brilliant! Not to mention the browny circle-shaped stones along the flow that gives this layout a unique accent. Meanwhile, the tropical banana plants that grow crowded in the riverside with some low-growing plants bring the setting to life! Even though it’s simple, you can still absorb the tropical atmosphere when you hang around the area.

22. Simple Florida Backyard

Simple Florida Backyard
Source: Pinterest (@Kelly Mindell)

We have another simple Florida backyard that requires minimal lawn care and more banana plants! The banana plants stand out, growing against the wooden dark brown fence. Their greenery sparks in the area despite being the only ones that dominate the space, thanks to their crowded, broad-leaves. You can add some plants, like foxtail ferns, to plant at the base. To brighten up your backyard, we highly recommend growing a bird of paradise whose flowers look like birds flying. Also, install long lighting bulbs to light up your garden at night.

23. Dense Tropical Mini Garden

Dense Tropical Mini Garden
Source: Pinterest (@Matthijs Bergevoet)

Despite giving a cheerful vibe to the garden, some people prefer to skip flowering plants from their backyard. If you also like such a setting, we have a dense tropical mini garden that will satisfy your taste. It doesn’t have flowers, yet the diversity of leafy plants is breathtaking! The combination of palms, banana plants, lawns, and broad-leaf plants provides shade to the area. And amazingly, makes you feel calm to hang around this mini backyard. To avoid waterlogging, it will be better to cover the soil with gravel. Choose white ones to add shades other than green.

24. Harmonious Tropical Setting

Harmonious Tropical Setting
Source: Pinterest (@Stello)

Tropical settings don’t only focus on tropical plants. Other elements, such as water features, are also essential to resemble a humid tropical climate. You can add a mini water container made of clay in your backyard to achieve that. Then, place the container near palm trees, crotons, and some other tropical plants that grow around it. Also, you can install a flowing water fountain to have a relaxing, bubbling sound. Remember to add stones around the water feature to make it look more natural.

25. Tropical Oasis

2Tropical Oasis
Source: Pinterest (@HGTV)

Suppose you have a swimming pool in your backyard. In that case, you will need this tropical oasis setting to adorn your outdoor area. Instead of leaving the surrounding pool bland, you can grow several palm trees on several sides, along with some tropical plants. Plant those with diverse colors and leaf types. They will make the atmosphere of your pond like an oasis in the middle of a tropical rainforest. Install pool lamps to enjoy the serene atmosphere at night while listening to the humming crickets.

Final Thoughts

Floridians are lucky citizens because Florida has a tropical-like climate in the summer to make a tropical garden. This garden theme is relatively easy to maintain as long as you grow native plants or those that can quickly adapt to Florida sandy soil and hot weather. Hence, you must always check on the hardiness zones before deciding to plant your favorites!

Apart from tropical plants as the hallmark, we recommend including stones and water features to complete the theme. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just use what you have, such as gravel. For the water features, using a bird bath is okay! In fact, it can help your avian friends to have a quick dip in the high temperatures.


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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

How do you layout a tropical garden?

People love to have a tropical garden landscape because of the greenery it offers. Apart from that, the tropical style also offers a relaxed and shady atmosphere to your outdoor space, thanks to the varieties of large and dense foliage. If you want to bring a tropical vibe to your home, we have some tips to make your wish come true!

  • Use native tropical landscape plants. They are usually hardier and well-adapted to local climates. Hence, you can easily provide maintenance with minimal care.
  • Grow colorful flowers amid the greenery. Those blooms will provide cheerful vibes around the corner with a green background of leaves from your plants and trees.
  • Add a water feature. It shouldn’t always be a fountain. You can provide a bird bath instead! Besides offering a refreshing touch, you will invite wild birds to visit and revive your garden.
  • Introducing rock elements. Stones or gravel will be a great addition to making a garden path. Besides, rocks can help prevent waterlogging in your soil gard

Do you need special soil for tropical plants?

Before designing a tropical backyard, ensure the required soil for tropical plants is recommended. Even though the conditions and soil types depend on the plant varieties, most need a mix of soil, peat moss, and perlite with a ratio of 1-2-2. It is crucial to ensure good drainage, preventing the water from being trapped in the ground for too long. Besides, such potting mix also maintains moisture. Thus, the roots won’t be dehydrated.

Are tropical gardens high maintenance?

If you compare tropical gardens with desert settings, of course, they need some additional maintenance. But generally, they don’t need complicated treatments. You only need to water it once a week, fertilize it in the growing season (usually in spring and summer), and prune it whenever they get too dense.

However, the watering frequency will be highly dependent on the plant species. Some, like tropical palm trees, need watering whenever the topsoil dries.

What flowers do they recommend for a tropical look?

While many flowers will look gorgeous in your tropical garden, some have striking blooms that can enliven the space even more. We recommend Canna ‘Striata’, whose petals look on fire, blending red and orange colors.

Besides that, Bird Of Paradise will make your yard aesthetically pleasing, thanks to the bird-like flowers that feature a captivating mix of shades. You can also combine them with African Violet and Hibiscus to provide other colors and textures.

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