Whether you're buying a home in the Florida Keys or you just want to feel like you live there, you can create a backyard haven in any size yard or environment. Here are 5 tips for designing your own Key West bungalow garden at home.
Keep it Small. Most traditional Key West homes aren't very large -- and neither are their yards. This can be a good thing for those who want to emulate the island style, because it doesn't require as much time, space, or care to design. If you have a larger space, you can make it feel cozier by adding a natural boundary like a fence or a solid line of bushes and trees.
Keep it Lush. Plant a variety of deep (and lighter) green bushes and small trees -- like any variety of palms, banana plants, or bamboos -- to give your garden a lush privacy that blocks out the world around you. Add in colorful flowering shrubs and plants that can thrive in your climate. If you live outside the tropical zone, you may want to consider hardier plants that mimic a tropical look -- such as sugar cane, soft ferns, angel's trumpet, and canna.
Keep it Comfy. Island life is all about enjoying yourself, relaxing, and forgetting your worries. So, when you design your outdoor space, keep this theme in mind. Make a cozy seating area with big, oversize chairs, tables to hold your margarita, a hammock or even a bar. An outdoor entertainment area should be close to the home's exterior doors and easy to reach at any time of day. Be sure to include proper lighting so that you can invite others outside even at night.
Use Fire and Water. The islands live in harmony with the water that surrounds them, so bring some of that into your backyard haven. If you have a small space, add a bubbling fountain or a small cascade in some faux rocks. If you have a larger area to work with, consider adding a small koi pond or a backyard stream. And since water is best complemented by flame, don't forget the tiki torches or a fun fire pit.
Throw in Some Kitsch. Denizens of Key West aren't afraid to embrace the strange, cheesy, or comical parts of their island heritage. So, don't be afraid either. Accessorize with some pirate paraphernalia, tiki bar decorations, bamboo, or surfboards. Build a margarita bar and don Parrothead gear. Hide a treasure chest in your greenery. Use conch seashell art as decoration. In short, whatever type of fun, tropical memorabilia makes you happy can be used to create your own little oasis.
If you're not sure how to choose the right plants, lighting, or hardscaping for your own Key West getaway, you may want to consult with a qualified landscaper, such as L & L Excavation & Landscaping, who can point you in the right direction. And certainly, that "right direction" will be due south to the islands!