Tropical Garden Ideas and Inspiration

For those seeking an oasis close to home, a lush, green garden filled with palm trees provides a lovely place to relax and escape from the day to day grind. Despite the cooler UK climate, British gardeners can still create their own garden paradises by using hardier tropical varieties. Through the winter these plants may just need a little extra protection compared to our native garden favourites, but will create a stunning tropical oasis just behind your front door.

At the Holt Garden Centre we stock a wide selection of plants, pots, equipment and soils to help you refresh and update your garden, no matter the season.

Tips For Designing Your Own Tropical Garden

Tropical gardens are typically identifiable by large and oversized palm trees, layered with a mixture of ground and grass plants. The layered looks combined with winding paths create that holiday feeling and when the garden is complete with seating areas it also creates the perfect environment to relax and unwind.

There are many tips and tricks to creating your own tropical garden regardless of whether you have a large space or small but below are a few that help to create that instant tropical feeling.


The best way to achieve the jungle look is to layer different varieties of plants from the floor to above the fence line, creating your own canopy. By layering your plants you will create a diverse and lush looking area that will create a stunning green backdrop to your outside space. If you choose a selection of large palm plants, remember that these will require frequent management to ensure the plants below receive enough sunlight and always plant within the recommend spacing guidance.

Plants to Add to a Tropical Garden

Choose Large Boundary Plants 

To begin with the layering effect, choose large plants to use on the outskirts of the garden area or as a focal point in the centre. Some of the most popular tropical varieties that can withstand the British climate include banana plants and palms. Some of our favourite species include Dwarf Fan Palms (Chaemaerops humilis), Chusan Palms (Trachycarpus fortune) and the Musa basjoo banana varieties.

Add Architectural Species

To compliment your statement plants next add varieties with bold foliage and shapes. This helps to fill the gaps in between large boundary plants and adds the next height level to the garden. Bamboo and Ornamental Grasses are popular choices, with species such as New Zealand Flax (Phormium tenax) helping to create texture. It is also possible to add flower species here with Fuchsias creating a stunning pop of colour against the greenery.

Finish with Ground Varieties

Remember to think about the ground itself. Use the ground space to fill gaps, and create interesting displays around the other plants. Ferns make a great addition as they grow easily and have unique leaf shapes, the Male Fern (Dryopteris Filix-mas) is one of the most commonly used. Other popular ground species include Wood Spurge (Euphorbia amygdaloides) and Plantain Lilies (Hosta). At Holt Garden Centre we stock many different varieties and our team can help you pick based on the plants you already have established or are layering with.

Other Plants to consider 

To create a full and diverse garden there are plenty of species you can use, including some well-known and loved species. Figs (Ficus Brown Turkey) are a great plant to add to the garden, to not only add to the tropical feel of the area but also provide you with delicious fruit. Citrus species also are great additions, adding colour, scent and helping to achieve that holiday feeling. If you are thinking of adding citrus plants to your tropical garden we would highly recommend planting them in pots so that they can be bought indoors during the winter as they can struggle with the UK winters.

Garden Accessories to Add to Your Tropical Oasis

When you have finished planting, there are also other elements that can help you finish your tropical oasis:

  • Water features can help add calming sounds to compliment the rustling of leaves in the wind. Typically, tropical gardens usually have water features as a central focal point accessed by natural winding paths and usually accompanied by a seating area for you to relax.
  • Add rocks and gravelled areas between your ground plants and around water features to add texture and colours, creating the feeling of a hot day before the rain.
  • Solar lighting can be added to make a feature of your garden in the evening, highlighting the details of the plants creating a dramatic effect. They can also be used along the edges of the paths for safety and to illuminate hidden walkways.

Creating a tropical garden can help soothe the sense and provide escapism. If you would like any help, advice or inspiration to create your own tropical garden, please don’t hesitate to pop in store and talk to one of our friendly team members who will happily help you find the best plants for your garden. Find our contact information and where to find us here, we look forward to helping you create your own oasis.


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