I walk through MainStrasse Village in Covington, Kentucky, at least once daily. While I don’t live in MainStrasse myself, I’m close enough that I could be considered a Villager. It’s a great place to walk our dog, Esteban: There’s plenty for him to sniff and explore (he is especially obsessed with the goats in Goebel Park lately), and it’s a good way for me to keep tabs on the progress of neighborhood rehabs and coming-soon restaurant construction. (And let’s be real, the people watching is excellent.)
Something I’ve recently noticed on my walks are the surprisingly tropical patio environments some of my neighbors have created. They’ve taken their tiny urban patios and turned them into scenes that could fit right into Key West, Charleston or even Maui. Needless to say, this is a breath of fresh air in what can otherwise feel like a concrete jungle, especially in the July heat. On one of my walks this week, I couldn’t help but stop and snap pictures. (For privacy’s sake, I blurred out house numbers.)
Specifically, there’s a row of houses on Philadelphia Street that are among the best examples of this. The gardening is not extensive, but the effect is glorious. Below are some design tips I observed on how to create this tropical garden look for yourself, even if you live in a tiny urban home with seemingly no tropical inclination. If they can do it, so can you! (Disclaimer: I do not have a green thumb so my tips here are more inspirational than factual…)
1. Color Is Everything — The House With Blue Railing
The blue railing here adds a very Floridian vibe. The rattan chair and single potted plant seals the deal on this lush setting.
2. Go for Potted Plans — The Fern House
Giant potted ferns and a curation of potted green plants around the entrance make this small but stately home feel downright South Beach.
3. Try Your Hand at Tropical Trees — The Banana Tree Bungalow
Why plant pear trees or maples when you can successfully grow banana trees in your front yard, even in Kentucky? Add some shade and privacy like this MainStrasse dweller did. (Note: My husband is 98% sure these are banana trees, but they could be a palm tree of some sort. If any plant-expert readers out there want to weigh in, please let me know in the comments.)
4. Frame Your Rehab with Flowers — The Yellow House
This house, which proudly displays its beautification award status, is a perfect example of some of the insane rehabbing that happens around Covington every year. With a tiny space in front for plants, the homeowner has added some beautiful pink flowering bushes (anyone know what those are?) that add a nice contrast of color.