1. Plan your tropical garden near your home, part of your seating area. Since the majority of the plants require heavily filtered light, you can make the garden be part of your outdoor living area as you appreciate similar conditions.
2. Plan the flooring to be as cool as possible. Non-reflective colors in earthtone or blue hues work well. You might add an outdoor carpet to the seating area.
3. Think in levels or layers of plantings as you would see in a tropical garden. Low plantings around the seating areas in low pots will do well. Also bordering walkways. Then mid-height plants in taller pots or pots up on pedestals or pots with trellises for some vines.
4. Further back towards walls or further from the patio, you can think about larger plants and trees, still trying to keep the layered effect of the three heights of plants in the landscape. Perhaps a couple citrus or palm trees or an evergreen Pistache tree with a mixture of hibiscus and a blue leafed agave such as the Agave colorata. And definitely keep in mind your Bougainvillea and Birds of Paradise- both tropical (shade) and Mexican (sun)!!
5. Be sure to add a water feature to your garden. It will add much to your tropical paradise in the desert.
[Photo:.water feature picture; Caption: Add a Water Feature to your Oasis]
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