Things to REMOVE for tropical effect
The vast majority of tropicalesque discussions seem to center around things to add to a landscape to make it appear tropical. (plants, hardscaping, ponds,etc)
I was just looking through some tropical landscaping photos and it occurred to me that sometimes there are certain things that contradict the tropical look or make it obviously "fake"
Here are some things I can think of:
Lawns. When I think of "tropical" I never think of a grass lawn. The only times I've seen grass lawns in real tropical settings is at hotels or other public places to make it look LESS tropical and more Western or European.
A bed of tropical plants surrounded by lawn looks like an attempt to fake the tropical look- rock paths and over hanging vines and trees are much more "tropical".
Water features that seem to defy physics: A rushing stream shooting out of a rock mounted to the side of a garage or a fence looks absurd. No matter how pretty the water feature itself, if you are continuously reminded that there is a pump, you loose some of the atmosphere or suspension of reality.
Also bad, the water feature all by itself in the middle of the yard. Rushing waterfalls over boulders in an otherwise rock-free and water-free landscape is a dead give away of fakeness. (IE make it look like you had to build your house next to the pond, not like you dug a hole and put in a pond liner and had rocks trucked in)
In general, tropical landscapes are wild looking- things curve and are in odd numbers and places, they are not square or matched sets- they don't look like "landscaping" or like the form was imposed by humanity- it looks like it was there doing its own thing before humans came in and hacked some trails through the jungle.
The tropicalesque look is not just about the plants and ornamental hardscaping, it is abut suspending reality, transporting one to a different, more exotic place.
The backdrop that the tropical features are seen against are just as important as the things being added.
If something in the yard screams "Midwest America" or "London" or "snow plow" then it doesn't matter if you drape a bougainvillea over it, it still is going to distract from the desired effect.
Any other ideas? pet peeves?