Now that the summer is knocking at my door, I feel particularly inspired to create a functional, cosy and dreamy outside space to have fresh lunches and barbecue dinners outside of my house. Tropical feelings all around!
If you’re one of the lucky people who own a garden, please join me in this week’s exploration of outdoor space potential. If you haven’t got your own garden yet, you can utilise a balcony space as successfully, or arrange a “tropical garden” corner in your living room. The best advice I’ve been given – and the one I give whenever asked – is to use the space that you have, rather than stress about the space you are missing. So let’s step into the tropical garden together.
Depending on how much space you have – a balcony, terrace, back garden or a football field around your house – you can spread out more or squeeze your garden elements together. This does not in any way mean that you have to compromise on the aesthetics or that you lose something just by having less space. As long as you have a few of the key elements in place, you can play around with the size and the shape of your own private tropical garden!
Roof or umbrella - depending on the climate you’re in and how likely (or how much) it is to rain, make sure you get a roof over your seating and lounging areas. It can be made of leaves or hay if it’s not very likely to rain. If rain is to be expected, better to have a waterproof umbrella or a stronger, more permanent roof.
Table - depending on the space you have, it can be big or small. Best purely made of wood or combined with metal for durability. You can even use an upside down wooden crate (or scatter a few around your yard if you’re expecting guests).
Seating and lounging area – you can combine wooden chairs with wooden tables for more dinner-oriented seating. Or you can have separate eating and lounging areas, if your space allows.
For lounging area, think low sofa or a corner with decorative pillows. You can also just scatter a bunch of pillows on a slightly raised surface covered in wooden tiles. Hang a hammock if you have space for one - for the ultimate tropical spirit!
Grass, stone or wooden tiles – for your feet to rest on the ground comfortably consider flooring of the area. Real tropical vibes of course are best created by sand and stone mix, as well as grass and wood. If you have more of a permanent structure for your seating area, you also can lay some tiles on the ground.
Plants – as many as you can possibly handle and look after. Also always a good idea to have big pot plants that can stay outside during summer. The more tropical, the better – make sure you add at least a palm tree or two (even if they’re tiny).
Blossoming flowers also are an essential element of tropical garden – to add the colour as well as lush aroma of blossoms.
Hanging decorations and fairy lights. Nothing makes the atmosphere more tropical than lush plants with hanging decorations organically weaving a beautiful backdrop for your dreamy summer evenings.
Fairy lights are always a welcome addition to a tropical garden of any shape or size – attach them onto the trees, umbrellas, or let them lie on the ground or low bushes lighting the footpath back to your house.
Barbecue or fire place - depending on how much you are planning to cook outside, you can create a mini kitchenette or simply have a barbecue or fire place for the occasional dinner in the garden.
There are essentially the same elements for the tropical garden indoors, maybe minus the barbeque - but oven baked vegetables and potatoes can do as well, and for tropical breeze just open your window and burn some floral incense sticks.
Sofa with throw or light blanket - for when the evening gets chilly. You can always get a natural fabric throw on your sofa (best in linen, bamboo or hemp fabric) to give it a rustic tropical resort feel.
Nice rug to rest your feet on – best woven from natural cotton threads or bamboo. If you get a rough textured one, it will be even better as it will massage your feet not unlike sand and stones at the beach.
Decorative pillows – choose floral motives, tropical prints to create a contrasting refreshing look when paired with sand-coloured throw or earthy plain pillows amongst the colourful ones.
Pot flowers – the more the better! – populate the remaining space with plants. Create your own little green house! Make sure you have some blossoming flowers as well as a pot palm tree or two.
Hanging decorations – attach to ceiling or windows. Light paper or fabric thread decorations move and mesmerise you with the tiniest hint of a breeze. It will make your inside space feel more alive and moving, like a tropical jungle.
Add some relaxing music to this mix, complemented by natural sounds of summer (unique to your location) and slowly burning incense sticks - sandalwood or original Nag Champa aroma, also paired with some richer more floral aromas. Grab a coconut or fresh mango and enjoy your summer evening!