When it comes to creating a tropical haven in your backyard, there are so many things to take into consideration.

How do you create a garden plant? What plants do you need and where do you plant them? Then how do you maintain it all?

Thankfully, we have been lucky enough to ask the garden experts at Porters Mitre 10 these questions to provide you with everything you need to know about creating a tropical garden in your backyard on a budget.

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1. How to create a garden plan

When it comes to the first step of planning your tropical backyard garden, the experts at Porters Mitre 10 suggest starting with measuring the layout you like.

“Keeping in mind smaller gardens require less maintenance. This will leave a decent yard size for children and pets to play. Larger gardens though mean less grass area to mow, however they tend to result in more overall maintenance.”

Next, pick a type of garden edge.

“Timber or rock or retaining wall from pavers. Do you desire a straight edge or more of a natural curve?”

Then, it’s time to take a look at your soil.

“A soil pH test may help determine what soil you are starting with and take into account the specific type of soil that will help plants grow successfully. Add gypsum to clay/heavy soil and more compost to sandy soil.”

Now comes the fun part, deciding on the height of plants and density you’d like in your garden.

“Leave some extra space for garden ornaments or water features if you desired.”

When creating your initial plan also take into consideration how much maintenance will be required from watering, trimming, fertilizing and weeding.

“Consider installing an irrigation system prior to planting. Tap timers are great for people with busy schedules.”

Next, plan the location of your garden beds and how best to plant your plants.

“Taking into account the direction of the sun and shade areas of the yard throughout the day and understand how seasonal change can impact your garden.

“Planting the tallest plants first helps create shelter for understory shade for plants later. Planting in stages makes maintenance more manageable.”

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tropical garden

2. How to plan planting of plants

Once you’ve got your garden plan, next comes the decisions on what to plant and where.

The experts at Porters Mitre 10 recommend you start by walking your property and viewing it from the street.

“Look at what plants your neighbours may have and plan accordingly. Go for a drive and see what grows successfully in your neighbourhood and local climate. This will give you an idea of what the garden may look like when fully established.”

Then, sit down and draw out a plan “keeping in mind how much shade you want to generate.”

“You’ll need to take into consideration height and width of plants when established and of course, if any tree removal is required of old, unsafe trees that may cause damage in storms or cyclone.”

Finally, budget accordingly.

“Buy materials like soil in bulk and enquire about discounts for large quantities of plant buys. You can also consider asking a family member or friend for cuttings.”

If you are struggling with your finalising your garden plan, pop in and see the friendly team at your local Porters Mitre 10 Garden Centre for advice tailored to you and your garden.

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3. What plants are recommended

If after all this, you’re still not sure what plants you need to transform your backyard into the tropical sanctuary you desperately seek, the experts at Porters Mitre 10 have these recommendations on what plants to plant:

  • Banana trees are a great plant to have as they look tropical plus they bear fruit which you and your family can enjoy.
    Frangipani, for their fragrance and are available in many colours.
  • Hibiscus are very hardy and put on an eye-catching display of bright colour choices.
  • Bromeliads are a low maintenance plant as they are good at retaining their own water reducing the need for frequent watering.
  • Ferns such as Birds Nest fern or Elephant Ears can help achieve a tropical look so long as you have some shade to spare, as they thrive in a micro climate, while adding additional texture.
  • Lilies provide lush green leaves with beautiful flowers and Cordylines can provide coloured foliage for interest.
  • Palms such Fox Tails look tropical, provide height and privacy but do require pruning and grow beyond reachable heights (6m or more). A smaller but similar option are Parlour palms, but note they will need some space to grow and will also require upkeep.

When selecting the ideal plants it is important to keep in mind maintenance, budget and how soon you would like your garden to look established. The team at Porters Mitre 10, are happy to recommend plants suited to your ideal garden that work for you. Just visit the team at your nearest Porters Mitre 10 Garden Centre for more information.

4. Final tips and pieces of advice

And then last but not least, comes five final tips and advice from the garden experts at Porters Mitre 10:

  • From the back of the garden you may want to put taller plants and taper down towards the front part of the garden edge to create interest.
  • Weed mat is a great product to lay underneath your soil as it helps prevent weed growth and reduces time spent on maintenance.
  • Do your research or ask our friendly team. Some plants can be toxic to your pets such as some forms of lilies, this is something o also take into consideration.
  • Wetting agents such as water crystals or mulch such as sugar cane or pea straw will help lock in moisture and deter weed growth respectively.
  • Choosing the correct fertiliser is important. Talk to the team at your local Porters Mitre 10 Garden Centre for recommendations. Organic additives such as Seasol are a great allrounder as it feeds plants and conditions the soil. Fertilizers can be liquid which is ideal for new plants while granulated provides a slow release option. Blood and Bone are a favourite among gardeners.

If you have any questions, or are seeking additional advice visit the friendly gardening team at your nearest Porters Mitre 10 Garden Centre.