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Design Book

Design Book

Jan 29 2015

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Tropical Paradise

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When thinking of a Tropical Paradise, Hawaii or the Caribbean, seem always to come to mind. We tend to think of the beautiful blue and inviting water with the soft warm sand pushing gently through our toes. The air is warm, and beach wear is the required attire while sitting under the sun’s glow.

A tropical paradise provides something alluring and relaxing. Creating this setting in your backyard can create an oasis and escape from the everyday challenges of life. Have you considered turning your outdoor living space into a tropical paradise? With the right colors and vegetation, you can create your own luxurious retreat.

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Inspirational Element: Tropical Beach

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While the winter months are cold, making it feels like flip flop weather will never arrive again we can think back to our favorite vacation and find inspiration.

Inspiration is everywhere, from vacation photos to botanical gardens to the architecture around you that you see on a daily basis you can find inspiration just about anywhere. The highlight and inspiration from the photo above includes the greenish blue color of the water the blue sky the soft white clouds white caps along the shoreline and green palm trees along with the sand color of the rocks and beach. All of these elements can provide some inspiration when you are looking for design ideas.

Color Palette

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The colors pulled from the photo above have warm and cool tones. The sandy beach and rocks are similar in color creating a warmth sun like quality. The blue water and various colors of green are calming cool colors that provide comforting and nurturing feelings. There is a calmness to this space and it is very inviting.

Existing Canvas

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We began working on this outdoor living space for the homeowner and it was just a blank slate. They were looking for a design that could maximize the space and provide an area to entertain but also relax and appreciate the calmness of the colors and sounds around them, creating a backyard oasis.

Design Influencers

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Textures and Patterns

The pavers used in this design had the warmth of the sandy beach above with soft neutral tones using a square and rectangular pattern on the patio. The varying of size pavers in the overall pattern gives visual interest, and the texture adds dimension to the area. The pavers were also included in the border area of the garden bed drawing your eye up to the foliage.


Plants and Foliage

Consider the following plants for a tropical themed oasis such as the traditional palm or banana tree, providing a deep green color that is warm and inviting for your space. Make sure that when planting trees that you leave enough space for them to grow, don’t crowd the area with too many palms. Next are the pops of color, consider using reds, yellows and white to continue with the tropical theme. Plants that do well in a tropical or warmer environment would be bougainvillea, orchids, and cannas.

The bougainvillea is a vine and comes in many different colors. From deep burgundies to bright yellows, this plant will provide pops of color for your outdoor living space. Orchids have over 25,000 species to select from and tend to mimic the human face. They are another flowering plant with blooms that are very colorful, along with a lovely fragrance. Probably the most flamboyant of the tropical plants is the canna. They have a very deep red flower and can be seen from across the yard. They have great reedy canes and palmy foliage, perfect for more of the dark green color you are looking for from our inspiration photo.

look to plant lift for design inspiration
families enjoying their backyard

Lifestyle Considerations

The outdoor living space provides the tropical lush of beautiful palm trees, colorful blooming flowers, and a peaceful water feature. It includes the perfect outdoor kitchen and seating area. The overhead umbrellas create a great cover when the sun is too bright allowing your guests to sit and enjoy the area while enjoying your company. Some tips to consider –

  • When designing your space consider who will use it.
  • Is it an adult only area? Is there a space for kids?
  • Do you prefer a more traditional style or do you like a more contemporary design?
  • With the kitchen available to prepare meals, will you have an area to enjoy eating those meals together?
  • Do you have a small area? Do you need to consider fencing or landscaping limitations such as extreme drop-offs or slopes to the backyard?

These are just a few things you will want to think about when you are planning your outdoor living space.

Bringing the Design to Life

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bringing the design to life
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This is the final space which is both warm and inviting. The colors from our inspirational photo are used throughout the design. The space has the sand and rattan colors in the pavers and furniture. Along with pops of color in the plants and seat cushions. It is a warm and welcoming space that also includes overhead fans along with a simple but elegant water feature. It is a tranquil and tropical space that is ready for guests to arrive. The height of the chairs at the bar is perfect for anyone to enjoy. The swivel-style makes it easy to get in an out of the chair and includes an armrest to relax your arm on while you linger with friends. It is a very inviting tropical space.

Finishing Touches

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Seating and Entertaining

When looking for seating for your outdoor living space, consider pieces that match your design. Sit on the chairs and make sure they are comfortable, don’t buy something just for the look. Take into consideration the lifespan of the item. If you live in an area that has wind and rain, consider the wear and tear on your outdoor furniture. You want an area that is comfortable and shows your style.

And when it comes to entertaining make sure your guests will be comfortable. Include the number of chairs that you would comfortably seat a dinner party. Think through all of those evenings and weekends spending time with friends and family and make sure that the furniture is exactly what you need.

Cushions & Fabrics

Remember textures and fabrics are an important part of your design they are the icing on the cake. Look for pieces with visual interest. This dark bamboo chair would be a comfortable addition, with a palm pattern on the fabric it could create a new seating area while still staying with the tropical paradise theme. Consider patterns that add to your design.

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Evening Lighting

Many people look at their designs during the daylight hours, not thinking of what it might look like in the evening. Make sure you take the time to look at your outdoor living space as if a party was taking place. Is there enough lighting on the walkway? How about around the cooking area? Do you need more lighting in certain areas? Make sure to think of where your guests will spend the most time and plan accordingly. The last thing you would want would be to have a lovely outdoor living space, a beautifully planned party and everyone sitting in the dark. When it comes to a tropical design you could use the traditional tiki torches or look at something a little more elegant like hammered metal lanterns to add to warmth and provide a warm glow. This will add to the comfort of the space and allow guests to linger a little longer in the evening hours.

Potted Plants

With your landscaping complete you will want to consider adding a few accent pieces like potted plants or hanging lanterns to create some ambiance to the space. Use terracotta or bronze color planters to ground the space and complement the color scheme you already have in place.

Take the time to find your inspiration. This is going to be a space that you will want to spend time with friends and family for many years. You want it to reflect who you are and a space that is relaxing - a private oasis. Make a list of colors that you love, textures that speak to you, furniture that is comfortable and inviting, along with plants to add touches of color to the design. With those ideas, you will create the outdoor living space you have always dreamed of having for your home.

Visit us on Houzz and Pinterest to see more Tropical Inspiration.

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Photo Credits
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