Urban tropicalTropical Patio, London
What Houzz contributors are saying:
Bamboo Georgia cautiously recommends this fast-growing tropical plant. “There’s a lot of controversy around bamboo, but it can provide a wonderfully tall evergreen screen,” she says. The issue is that bamboo’s roots are incredibly invasive and travel horizontally, even from ‘clump forming’ varieties. “They will pop up in neighbours’ gardens and destroy sheds and so on,” she explains. “I still specify bamboo, but only planted in a strong metal trough above ground level. Many of the membranes you can use just aren’t strong enough to contain the roots. If you plant into a trough, make sure you fertilise regularly with a seaweed fertiliser.”
Go big and boldHaving large-leaved plants in a small area may seem counterintuitive, as you might assume bigger foliage would make an area feel smaller. However, the opposite can be true. Bold plants can add valuable height and form, while bringing a sense of seclusion to your courtyard.Combine different jungle-style plants and team them with dark walls to add drama to the space.
Make a big statement in a small spaceDon’t let a compact outdoor area cramp your style. Go large with your planting to create a small tropical garden with species such as the banana palm, seen on the right of this courtyard. The giant leaves are a generous feature that add depth and interest to the small space. Tropical-style planting works particularly well in a seating area like this, as the dense greenery gives the area a cosy feel.
A mixture of flooring adds visual interest underfoot. “They wanted to keep a tiny strip of herringbone brick from the previous garden,” says Schofield. “Then I used an Indian sandstone in a grey/brown tone because of its weathered, vintage look.”
Welcome to the jungleBy choosing plants with large leaves and bold textures you can achieve a lush, exuberant, tropical look. Bamboos, coarse grasses, even banana plants if you have a mild climate, can give the effect. Other plants that would contribute well to the look would be rhododendrons, schefflera and, of course, all kinds of ferns.