25+ Best Tropical Landscape Ideas and Designs For Small Yards

Last Updated on March 4, 2024 by Kimberly Crawford

If you want to create your piece of paradise in your backyard, try the tropical design. With the best tropical backyard design, your family will have the best relaxing spot.

But how do you come up with that beautiful, attractive tropical backyard?

What should you add to make your backyard have the real tropical touch? This article answers all your questions.

Transform your outdoor space with these inspiring backyard ideas. Whether you’re looking to create a cozy retreat or a vibrant entertainment area, there are endless possibilities to enhance your backyard. From installing a fire pit for cozy gatherings to adding lush greenery and comfortable seating, these ideas will turn your outdoor space into a haven for relaxation and enjoyment.

In this article

Related: 13+ Hawaiian Landscaping Ideas and Designs

best tropical backyard ideas

1. Do Have Different Types of Tropical Plants

Do Have Different Types of Tropical Plants

To give your backyard a tropical touch, you can plant different plants on it. Consider planting tropical plants of different colors, sizes, and shapes. These plants range from shrubs to tall trees.

All these kinds of plants will make your backyard have an edge of woods look. Giving your backyard a tropical look through different plant species is something you’ll love. 

Remember, some plants are beneficial to your health. You will also get natural shade from them. 

Are you worried about how you can plant tropical plants in a cooler environment? You can always do the potted tropical plants so that you take them indoors when it gets frigid. And within no time, your backyard will be good for a tropical retreat. 

Some of the plants you can have in the backyard are Bougainville or elephant ears. Gunnera, philodendrons, and monstera are also a good choice.

2. Add Some Light for the Night Gatherings

Add Some Light for the Night Gatherings

You can have your outdoor gatherings late in the night if your backyard has enough light. To make this possible, add some soft light on the tree branches or using draping strands. It has a more tropical feel to bring in tiki torches on the pathways or put them on the patio corners. 

Ensure you space the torches equally with a gap measurement of 6 to 8 feet. Alternatively, you can use solar power to brighten the backyard. Look for solar-powered bulbs and space them well on the pathways to light the space.  

3. Build Some Water Source

Build Some Water Source

Now that you want to bring paradise to your backyard, add some life using water. A water source will blend well with the green background you’ve set for your backyard. It will also be a good way of boosting the tropical feel making your outdoor experience peaceful. 

If your backyard has minimal space, consider building a fountain or a birdbath. But with enough space, create a lagoon consisting of a waterfall to make it aesthetic. If you love the Asian culture, a koi pond will also give you the best results. Ensure the water source has a natural look to bring the jungle feel to your backyard.

4. Consider Creating a Seating Space with a Shade

4 farmfoodfamily.com tropical backyard ideas

You’ll need good and comfortable seating space in your backyard to relax in the tropical environment. To achieve this, create something unique but relaxing, like a hammock. You can also make a swing in between strong trees and enjoy your time there. 

Building a pergola or a treehouse can also act as a great shade when there’s rain or sunshine. If the trees in your backyard are mature enough, use them to build a treehouse. The building will give you a great bird’s eye view. 

To make it extraordinary, incorporate some colorful cushions and pillows that blend well with the plants. You can also introduce tables for enjoying your meals or drinks on a beautiful evening.

5. Plant Wildflowers to Attract Wildlife

Plant Wildflowers to Attract Wildlife

You can make your backyard a good touring site by attracting wild animals. Planting wildflowers will help draw butterflies and hummingbirds.

The wildflowers will also make your backyard beautiful. Remember, butterflies love bright tropical flowers like orange, pink and yellow. Plus, the flowers will also add life to your backyard.

6. Add Foliage with Great Colors

Add Foliage with Great Colors

Another way to make your backyard have a tropical feel is by planting foliage with attractive colors. Mix different colors to have a bright, relaxing outdoor feeling.

Remember, most of this colorful foliage is found deep in the forest. So, if you have them in your backyard, you’ll be making it a small paradise.

7. Do Freshly Decorative for the Backyard

Do Freshly Decorative for the Backyard

Now that you have a seating shade with tables and other elements, it’s wise to bring more life through décor. Make the backyard freshly decorative using some beautiful plants. Use tall bananas, Red Ti, compact Xanadu, and palm trees. Plant the tree far in the fence to add more privacy

Remember, this freshly decorative doesn’t limit you to incorporating other décor elements. You can add visual effects also using furniture and cushions.

8. An Orchid Will Also Do

An Orchid Will Also Do


You can also add the tropical look in your backyard by growing orchids. The orchids will bring an aesthetic look to your backyard, making the outdoor experience lovely. The best way to incorporate the orchid in your garden is to plant them in between other plants. 

Or, you can hang them in pots on tree branches. They’ll give you a good reason to step outdoors with their attractive scents to enjoy their fresh aura.

9. Include Natural Stone Accents as Decoration

Include Natural Stone Accents as Decoration

You can decorate your tropical backyard using natural stones and have a beautiful scene. Look for rocks that are locally available in your area and make good use of them.

Put the stones either on pathways and pavements. Or on the pond, you have in the backyard. Do arrange them in different spots to achieve a tropical look.

10. Put Some Funny Signage on the Backyard

Put Some Funny Signage on the Backyard

A little humor in your backyard isn’t a bad idea either. Do incorporate funny signage that set the mood outdoors. Use the signs that are always at the tropical tourist attraction. Let the signage have captivating writings that will leave your guests in stitches and awe.

11. Spare Some Space for Fire Pit

Spare Some Space for Fire Pit

A fire pit can be a center stage for your tropical backyard, so don’t shy of setting it up. The pit will be a good space for you and your guests to catch up during the night. During the cold season, you can always make good use of the fire pit to keep warm. 

To save time, buy a ready-made fire pit. But ensure you choose the one built with the right materials to last longer.

12. What of an Outdoor Shower?

What of an Outdoor Shower?

You will never go wrong by building an outdoor shower, even if you have a pool. With a tropical backyard during summer, an outside shower will act as your relaxation joint. Imagine tending to your garden, then with all that dirt and sweat, you jump into the pool? 

But with the shower, you’ll regain your energy under cool water. Then relax in the nearby shade. Make it as comfortable as you want but ensure it’s in line with local building codes.

13. Grow Bamboo in Your Backyard

Grow Bamboo in Your Backyard


Another way you can make your backyard have a tropical feel is by adding bamboo. If you’re in a tropical region, bamboo will grow naturally. You can also make lots of accessories using bamboo, so you’ll benefit double. Bamboo will make your backyard a sight to behold, and it’ll be ideal for relaxation.

14. Why Not Bring in A Tiki Bar?

Why Not Bring in A Tiki Bar?

You can also have a bar in your backyard and enjoy the moments you’ll spend there. With a tiki bar at home, your friends will always have no reason for calling you out for a drink. Instead, they’ll come over to your place and catch up through conversations as you all enjoy the homely feeling. 

Build the tiki bar using your design, and don’t forget to add a playlist. With such a serene environment, what will make you go out of your little paradise?

15. Consider Installing a Bamboo Fence

Consider Installing a Bamboo Fence


Do you want some privacy in your backyard? Why not build a bamboo fence to get personal space. The wall will make your tropical backyard intimate giving you enough space with your friends. Installing the bamboo fence will also make your backyard a natural beauty.

But you can also use wooden frames to build a private space in your backyard. The fence can also serve as a backdrop for greenery, adding more beauty to your backyard. You can choose to fence the whole backyard or the seating area alone for privacy purposes. 

To make it unique fencing, use burnt bamboo fencing. And if you want to add more color to the bamboo, apply the right sealant or stain.

16. Include Some Tropical Decorations

Include Some Tropical Decorations

You can also make your backyard unique using tropical decors. Look for a shell wreath or use seashell-edged placemats to bring the island feel. Include tropical cushions and pillows on your seats. Some Asian statues can also be part of the tropical decoration. 

If not, bring in woven hammocks or metal and glass lanterns. Don’t forget that even stone urns and bamboo furniture can bring out the tropical feel well. Consider playing the right music in your backyard to put you in the vacation mood.

17. Make a Tropical Corner

Make a Tropical Corner

If you don’t love a busy backyard full of trees and decoration, this is a great idea. All you need to do is identify a corner where you’ll be relaxing. At the corner, bring out the tropical feel using different plants in one spot. 

Don’t shy away from mixing both big and small plants and even the potted ones. Do this if you hate how big trees grow to form an odd-looking sight. Don’t forget to have a seat at your corner where you can relax on reading your favorite book.

18. Include Thatched Roofs to Your Tiki Backyard

Include Thatched Roofs to Your Tiki Backyard


To make your backyard unique, build structures with thatched roofs to have a tiki feel. With a thatched roof, you’ll not have to look for shelter when it’s raining, and you’re outdoors. Also, it’s durable, so you’ll not worry about replacing it soon. 

The roofing is also all weathered and strong, so you’ll be safe all seasons. You can make this roofing for your tiki bar. Your pergola can also have a thatched roof or even a sitting area.  

19. Incorporate Bright Colors in Your Backyard

Incorporate Bright Colors in Your Backyard


Colors such as turquoise, yellow, orange, and fuchsia are common in a tropical setting. So, if you include them in your backyard, you’ll be achieving a tropical feel. You can do this by planting shrubs with bright colors like azaleas. 

Or the décor elements like furniture, cushions, and pillows to have the bright colors. A unique designed umbrella with bright colors can also make your backyard attractive. The color of the floor will also make your backyard look different so consider it too.  

20. Include Wooden Elements in Your Backyard

Include Wooden Elements in Your Backyard


You can add some wooden features in your backyard to have a tropical look. Have wooden planters for your flowers and plants. You can also have some wood on the pathways to make the place beautiful. 

A wooden seat is not a bad idea either, so you can bring it in. With a bamboo screen, your backyard will be a good relaxing scene. The wood elements also make it have a natural touch ideal for you if you’re into Asian culture.

21. Bring in Comfortable Seats

Bring in Comfortable Seats


You don’t expect to enjoy relaxing in your backyard with no comfortable seats. To bring in the tropical feel, consider using stone benches, hammocks, or wooden furniture. Combine different styles like a casual and eclectic look. Don’t forget to incorporate color through cushions, pillows, umbrellas, and décor. 

Also, lighting can bring in color if you pick on the right ones. The size of your backyard will determine the number of seats you can have here. Don’t forget to go for a chair that you’re comfortable with if you’ll spend most of your time in this space.

22. Check on the Backyard Flooring

Check on the Backyard Flooring

You can make your backyard different through the tropical look using different types of flooring. Consider stone flooring in your backyard. With stone flooring, you can make other arrangements according to the stone sizes. Also, you can have tiles on the pathways of the backyard. 

With the right choice of backyard flooring, you’ll have easy time cleaning. Wooden flooring is also a great way of incorporating the tropical feel in your backyard. Let your designer come up with the right design for beauty and durability. 

Since the flooring is mostly on the pathways, you’ll also have smooth maneuver in your backyard. The flooring will also make your backyard attractive and unique. But remember to keep the lawn around the flooring well maintained. If not, the plants can grow on the sides of your flooring, making it look unkept.

23. Have an Entertainment Space

Have an Entertainment Space

You can’t think of a tropical vacation without a source of entertainment, food, and eating. To have all these, include them in your backyard space. Have a space for entertainment by bringing in a TV or radio. 

Don’t forget to include a cooking area where you’ll not have to go back indoors searching for food. You can build a kitchen or bar for food and drinks to keep your guests going. Don’t forget to bring in lights as you can find the outdoor experience enjoyable at night. Solar lighting along the pathways can help you save on costs.

24. Why Not Include Plants with Big Leaves?

Why Not Include Plants with Big Leaves?

Apart from having various plants of different colors and sizes, big leaves can also do the trick. Most people love having tropical woods for their backyard, be different in this by using big leaves plants. The idea is not only a vibe, but it will make your outdoor experience different. 

You can even combine both wood and big leaves to have a breath-taking sight. Look for plants with big leaves like elephant ears. Also, ensure you take good care of them after planting.

25. Don’t Forget Keeping the Place Cool

Don't Forget Keeping the Place Cool

You’ll be going outdoors to enjoy the cool breeze after a horrifying day. But then this can fail to happen if your backyard lacks the necessary cooling agents. You might have built a shade, but still, the place isn’t cool enough. 

To achieve the perfect cooling effect, plant foliage plants such as fern, bird of paradise, and Japanese maples. With these plants that also add the tropical feel, your backyard will be cool all seasons.

How Do I Make My Backyard Look Tropical?

There are various ways you can use to make your backyard look tropical. First, ensure you plant the right plants like bananas or palm trees. Colored flowers will also help you achieve a tropical look. Don’t forget to incorporate the right décor and make the seating area attractive.

Look for ways to attract wildlife to your backyard, plus build some water features. Your backyard will never have a complete tropical look without a source of entertainment. Bring some music and don’t forget the food. A kitchen or bar will do you and your visitors good. 

Lastly, bring life into your backyard through light and color. Go for bright colors and save on money through the use of solar-powered lighting.


There are different ways you can transform your backyard into a lovely scene. One of the best ways is to infuse the tropical look. With a tropical look, your outdoor experience will be pure magnificent. 

You will also not have to go for a tropical tour since it’s right behind your house. With the 25 tropical ideas, you can’t miss having a great experience in your backyard. Try any and enjoy relaxing outdoors. 

FAQs about Tropical Backyard Ideas

What plants should I put in my tropical backyard?

Pick plants that love warmth and humidity. Go for palms, hibiscus, and ferns. They do not just survive but thrive in tropical conditions, giving your backyard that lush, green look.

How can I make my backyard feel more like a tropical oasis?

Add water features like a small pond or a fountain. The sound of water adds a calming effect, making your backyard feel like a real tropical retreat.

What kind of furniture fits best in a tropical backyard?

Choose outdoor furniture made from natural materials like rattan or bamboo. These materials blend well with the tropical theme and can handle the weather.

Can I have a tropical backyard even if it’s not sunny all the time?

Yes, you can. Choose plants that can tolerate some shade, like ferns. Also, consider a greenhouse or a covered patio to protect your tropical paradise from too much rain or wind.

What lighting should I use to enhance the tropical vibe?

Soft, warm lights work best. Think about hanging string lights or installing solar-powered lanterns. They’ll make your backyard feel cozy and inviting at night.

How do I maintain a tropical backyard?

Regular watering is key because tropical plants love moisture. Also, trim the plants to keep them looking neat and tidy. Fertilize them occasionally to ensure they get all the nutrients they need.

What colors should I use to decorate my tropical backyard?

Bright and bold colors like red, orange, and yellow capture the essence of a tropical paradise. You can incorporate these colors through flowers, cushions, or decorative accents.

How can I add privacy to my tropical backyard?

Plant tall bushes or bamboo along the edges of your backyard. They grow quickly and provide a natural screen, giving you a private tropical haven.

What’s the best way to protect my tropical plants during cooler months?

If you live in a cooler climate, consider potting some of your tropical plants so you can bring them indoors when it gets too cold. For plants in the ground, mulching can help protect their roots from freezing.

Can I add a fire feature to my tropical backyard?

Absolutely. A fire pit or a chiminea can add a warm and inviting element to your tropical backyard, making it the perfect spot to relax in the evenings. Just make sure it’s safely positioned and complements your tropical theme.