Patio Decorating Ideas | Tropical Paradise Patio

by mandeesears

Isn't it about time to redo your patio, porch or deck? Patio decorating ideas are everywhere -- but let's concentrate of the look of the islands -- tropical style.

Who wouldn't love to walk out their back door and be transported to the tropics. Whether it's the British Colonial - Hemingway style or more towards the Polynesian look of Hawaii, you can do it in your own back yard.

Carefully choosing the accents for your patio will help with the illusion. Here, we'll take a look at some accents you can add to make your patio in the style of tropical islands. Color, vegetation and water all come together in a tropical theme. Come join the fun!

Tropical Patio Decorating Ideas

Where to Start

Start with the bones, if you will -- your patio furniture (or deck or porch furniture.)

If you like your furniture, there's no need to replace it. But, one way to make things look different right away is to try arranging the furniture in a new way. If possible, start with a clean slate -- remove all the furniture and then begin adding it back piece by piece. You may find a whole new idea you hadn't thought of before.

If you are drawing a blank and are not sure where to start, try making areas for different activities. Choose a few of the following suggestions to use and create them with your furniture arrangement.

  • Sitting area for conversation
  • Chaise or lounge chair relaxing area
  • Dining & cooking area
  • Bar area
  • Small sitting area with a bench seat or glider for a cozy nook.  

If your patio is large enough for all of these area, you'll have the most popular hang out in the neighborhood. Otherwise, choose and make the areas you think you and your family will utilize most. 

Patio Art

Green Patio
Ad AllPosters
Garden Furniture - used with permission
Garden Furniture - used with permission

Tropical Theme Color Ideas

Vibrant and Electric or Sophisticated and Calm

Tropical Color Schemes

When you think of the tropics blue is one color that always comes to mind. The ocean and the cloudless sky go hand in hand with the islands. But what other colors are reflective of the topics? 

  • Oranges - the sun, tropical florals such as a bird of paradise flower
  • Greens - the lush vegetation, almost jungle like -- the palm trees, ground cover, grass and more have a lot of different hues of green
  • Pinks & Purples - Again the tropical flowers that spring up from the ground, trees and shrubs
  • Tans or Beiges - Bring to mind the sandy and miles of beach
  • Whites - Like the fluffy clouds, seashells and flowers, shades of white always fit with a tropical theme

Each color has different ranges from vibrant or electric to softer, understated hues. Neither are wrong, neither are right -- it's all in your choice of style. 

A more modern color scheme would use the more vibrant colors, whereas a Hemingway-esque tropical retreat may lean more towards the softer hues. 

Water -- You Don't Need an Ocean

but, you do need water for a Tropical Patio Theme

You don't need to have a home situated with a view of the ocean or a swimming pool to have a tropical patio theme, but water of some sort is helpful. Running water is soothing, calming. this can be accomplished through water fountains or small yard ponds with a pump that continuously cycles the water. 

If neither of these options are viable for your tropical patio, a birdbath or table top water fountain are other options. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes that will allow you to add a water feature at an affordable price. 

Water Features

for a Tropical Paradise Patio
Five Level Rock Pond Fountain - Red C...
$649.99  $449.75
Alpine Waterfall Tabletop Fountain w/...
$39.52  $37.94
18in. Classic Water Spout
Only $49.99

A Centerpiece for Your Tropical Patio

Decorate around a Focal Point

A tropical patio needs a centerpiece. If you have a swimming pool or yard pond, you already have a centerpiece but if you don't consider one of these options:

Fire - Yes, I know fire brings to mind heat and most tropical locations don't need help in this arena. However, think about a bonfire on the beach at night, or cooking over an open flame. Fire really does have its' place in a tropical theme. 

If you don't have or can't build an outdoor fire place, consider a fire pit. They are a wonderful way to still have a focal point or centerpiece. Their portability makes them even more attractive an option. Move it around until you find just the right location for guests to enjoy their ambiance on a cool spring, summer or fall  evening. 

Another centerpiece idea for a tropical patio is plants. Build a small potted garden that can be situated in a way that all seating areas get to enjoy the view of lush vegetation. And, a potted garden means you can bring it indoors for the winter. 

Try arranging different sizes and shapes of pots together. Add a low bench or table as a riser for some pots. This will add height and dimension to your vignette. Use pots in the color scheme you have chosen to add a pop that is sure not to be missed. 

Tropical Patio - used with permission
Tropical Patio - used with permission

Tropical Style Accents

Tropical Lighting, Foliage, Umbrellas and More

The small accents available for a tropical patio theme are endless. You can go all out -- in your face -- with your tropical theme or more subtle with suggestions of the tropics. 

To go all out, you could -

  • Use an umbrella with a thatched top
  • Add tiki torches around the perimeter of the patio
  • Buy lighted, outdoor palm trees to scatter around
  • Hang a hammock in the patio area
  • Hang themed string lights -- margarita glasses, flamingos, palm trees and more are available
  • Use bamboo poles in planters or around the perimeter in groupings of two or more with fish net hung between
  • Build a set of pilings like you would see on a dock using round poles and heavy hemp roping

Kevin Tietz - Outdoor PatioTo be a bit more subtle in your tropical theme, you could:

  • Use fabric to soften the look. Hang gauzy fabric (mosquito netting, outdoor sheers, etc..) in a soft white from pergola, deck or arbor support beams. Tie them in a knot towards the bottom or tie them to the beams using jute or hemp cording.
  • Add toss pillows in lighter shades of blues, greens, yellows and oranges to tie in the tropical colors.
  • Use a natural rug like jute or sisal to define sitting areas or dining areas. They provide a homey, welcoming feel. 
  • Add shutters to the outside of the house in prominent areas (e.g. center of a seating or dining area). They don't have to be over actual windows, think of them as wall art -- creating the feel of plantation shutters you would find in old English Caribbean style bungalows. 
  • Choose shades of white, beige or real wood for your furniture frames. They will act as the base. Accent with cushions in deeper shades of of those same colors or chose large prints or patterns in the softer, tropical shades as the cushion fabric.
  • Create your own overhead shade by using fabric attached to the house at two corners and supports in the other two corners. The front supports could be bamboo or spear headed metal poles cemented in a pretty planter or container for stability. 

image used with permission - source:  © Kevin Tietz |

Tropical Umbrellas, Shade and Throw Pillows

for a Tropical Paradise
9' Thatched Tiki UmbrellaCoolaroo Square Shade Sail 11 Feet 10...
Only $159.95
Sunbrella Toss Pillow / Only Toss Pil...
Only $29.00

Garden - Patio Planner

Excellent Resource for Planning Your Tropical Patio

Online, I have found a really neat garden/patio planner. You can download a trial version for free, use an online trial version or purchase it outright. They have pre-designed patio/garden areas or you can draw yours from scratch. With a library full of options like patio furniture, pergolas, BBQ's, plants, flowers, concrete patios and so much more, you can design to your hearts content. 

This is just something I ran across online and thought I would share - I am not an affiliate with the company. Here it is:

Garden Planner Version 3.0


More Resources for Patio Decorating Ideas

Picking a theme for your outdoor living space helps you decorate easier, with ways to make those all-important choices.
Top pick outdoor wicker furniture sets for the patio or backyard. Live outdoors in the summer and enjoy the weather.
What brand fabric is best for performance, longevity and beauty of your patio furniture? Sunbrella fabrics. Find out why.
Make your patio, porch or deck a Tuscan garden escape with some of these patio decorating ideas -- Tuscan style.

What's Your Definition of a Tropical Patio Design?

Tropical Paradise Patio and You!

Luxury Tropical ResortDifferent people have different ideas about a tropical paradise. Some go tiki/luau all the way with the fun, fruity umbrella clad drinks, island music and leis. Others prefer a more calming, British colony type Caribbean feel. 

If you have had the opportunity to visit a tropical destination or themed hotel/resort, what was the decor like? What elements really made you feel like it was paradise? Add these things to your list of decor options.

Whatever style reminds you of the tropics can be easily replicated on your own patio, porch or deck. Be picky with your accessories. They are often the pieces guests remember the most -- think conversation pieces. 

Put as much thought and planning into designing and decorating your patio area as you do the rooms of your home. You'll be much more likely to enjoy the patio if you like the decor! 

Image source used with permission: © Mirafilm |

Updated: 02/19/2013, mandeesears
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Tolovaj on 05/23/2012

Who said we can not have paradise right here and right now? Beautiful pics. I wish I see some of the scenes 'live'!

katiem2 on 04/01/2012

Oh yes I love this tropical paradise patio design... Great and so relaxing, why can't I have the feel of a tropical vacation at home? Great plans designs and colors. Thanks :)

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