How to create a Balinese garden in your backyard

How to create a balinese garden in your backyard by Jo Castro

Tips to show you how to create a Balinese garden in your backyard. The top picture is part of a large painting we bought in Ubud, Bali.

To the world at large, Western Australia is considered a remote place consisting mostly of dry, flat, arid, red-earthed outback. While it may often be dry and covered by vast areas of desert, there are pockets of this vast state which surprise even the most hardened cynic.

To the north west you’ll find tropical oases where it’s hard not to describe the scenery without mentioning Bali. Drive around a suburb in Broome, for instance, and the similarities between this pearling town and the verdant frangipani filled isle, are pretty obvious at every corner.

In the south west, our climate is more Mediterranean, and although it’s more suited to vines and grevillea and peppy trees, it is possible to create a Balinese garden in your backyard.

How to create a Balinese garden in your backyard and why I wanted one

Asian inspired gardens are popular in Western Australia because we are so close to Bali  which has become a favourite holiday destination for ‘sandgropers’, and I for one, wanted to re-capture the memories of my travels in Bali and wake up every day to be reminded of them at home.

But our back yard wasn’t very inspiring at first. It was actually a bit bleak for my liking, and I managed to kill that lawn after just one season 🙁 So we made plans, and dug it up, laid a square section of paving, and got creative.

How to create a balinese garden in your backyard by Jo Castro

Our back yard wasn’t immediately Balinese inspired. One of the first things we did was to put up the wooden trellis which makes a subtle difference to the otherwise bald color bond fencing, and we were lucky to have some frangipanis trees already planted around the pool.

The first thing we did was to buy some inexpensive bamboo fencing from Bunnings. If I remember correctly it was about $20 a roll. He himself and I are not natural D.I.Y’ers but we managed to roll it around the colour bond fence without too much swearing.

How to create a balinese garden in your backyard by Jo Castro

Bright colours were something that I wanted to incorporate into our Balinese garden.

The next thing we did was buy colourful plants that reminded us of the vivid colours of Bali. We were already lucky enough to have frangipani trees in the garden by the pool (which I’ve nurtured like babies because I love the scent of their flowers), but we added hibiscus, bright petunias, palms and marigold trees.

I was intent on creating a lush tropical haven that took the focus off having close neighbours, lovely as they are.

I wanted somewhere that we could retreat with a cup of coffee in the morning or a glass of wine at night, so it was an obvious move to add a gazebo. We bought one from Bunnings for about $299, which blew down in a storm, but which we managed to adapt, utilising the top canopy and the overhead structure on top of gum poles that we cemented into the ground.

How to create a balinese garden in your backyard by Jo Castro

Top pictures: The original gazebo going up, and bottom right is the completed structure. Sadly it blew down in a winter storm so we amended the design and sunk gum poles into the ground as a more permanent support (see bottom left). I love the vintage chandelier we’ve hung from the roof – it was a junk shop find from South Africa. Our seating arrangement cost $999 and is from The Outdoor Furniture Specialists.

There are other aspects of a Balinese garden that can be adapted to a suburban back yard to give it a Balinese feel such as the use of incense. We like to burn sandalwood oil and citronella to remind us of the exotic smells in Bali – where incense is burnt to appease and to honour the Gods.

How to create a balinese garden in your backyard by Jo Castro

At night we light tea candles in little lanterns along walls around the pool (top left picture). Other small statues can be discovered around the garden, and there’s a wooden frieze to add a bit of appeal to the pool shed.

We’ve enjoyed hunting down Balinese statues which we’ve dotted around to add visual impact. Due to the size of our garden we’ve kept them quite small.

Figures of Balinese gods or goddesses could be discreetly placed under a large plant or in a corner of the garden, in alcoves or or along walls. Look for different textures – you’ll find statues carved in timber, bronze or stone that you could either use as focal points or as backdrops secretly peeping out from behind palms or flowers to give a feeling of surprise.

How to create a balinese garden in your backyard by Jo Castro

Bright colours, a relaxing hammock and temple flags all add to the Balinese feel.

We love our bright blue temple flags (above), which in WA you can buy in all  colours of the rainbow to suit your own colour scheme.  How about adding umbrellas and water features? Below are some ideas from Bali but if you look around you can easily discover similar for sale in Perth or a regional town in WA.

How to create a balinese garden in your backyard by Jo Castro

Tips to create a Balinese feel inside and outside your own home.

Having a dinner party? Then why not scatter fresh petals and flowers around. Frangipanis are beautifully fragrant for the dinner table, and rose petals look lovely scattered on the ground. How about an exotic orchid as the table centrepiece?

A glass bowl filled with water and floating flowers also makes a lovely focal point on a side table perhaps?

Bright coloured cushions and bamboo chairs are also in keeping with the Balinese theme. The cushions (about $45 each) are from The Outdoor Furniture Specialists in Bunbury.

How to create a balinese garden in your backyard by Jo Castro

The chair was a junk shop find, one of four that we bought with a table for just $180. The gorgeous outdoor cushions are from Outdoor Furniture Specialists, and the elephant statue by the pool was bought in Bunnings. Don’t forget to add an umbrella for shade and some comfy recliners for the ultimate Balinese retreat!

Bali is verdant and green. So consider using palms of all descriptions in your garden. Ferns and cordylines give a feeling of lushness.  If you have space to create more of a rainforest feel, then consider staggering their heights, and also use bamboo as well as cycads and aloes.

We use quite a lot of spot  lighting at night to add ambiance and also to highlight certain areas of our patch. You might want to highlight a statue or a water feature.
Inside our house we’ve continued the theme with big, bold paintings in bright colours, that we’ve purchased on holiday, relatively inexpensively in Bali. The very very first picture in this post shows part of a large Frangipani painting that we purchased for about $60 in Ubud.

How to create a balinese garden in your backyard by Jo Castro

We added a water feature by the sitting area to add to the tranquility. Frangipanis, bright colours, a gazebo and palms were all important to me.

Water features for a Balinese Garden

Balinese gardens are tranquil places and water features add to the feeling of peace. If you have space you might add a pond with a waterspout, or incorporate one to flow into a pool. If space is limited then add a rustic water feature and surround is with greenery to make it look as if it’s been there forever.

Read the second part in this series and see how our Bali themed garden is changing here: How to create a Balinese garden without going to Bali

Want to read more about Bali? Here are 29 Awesome things to see and do in Bali.

For more information you might enjoy this article about creating a  Balinese Garden.

Disclaimer and in accordance with my editorial policy.  I was gifted two cushions by Outdoor Furniture Specialists.

What have I missed? Do you have any more tips for creating a tropical or Balinese garden in your backyard?

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  1. Janet says:

    Wow, your garden looks beautiful Jo! What a change from last time I saw it. Very reminiscent of Bali. Well done.

  2. Hey Janet! Thank you – yes I think you saw it pre-Genesis stage! Oh gosh was it really so long ago that you were in WA?

  3. wow! what a transformation – you need to be on that show where they transform people’s gardens! nice work Jo!
    Life Images by Jill recently posted..Exploring the Western Australian wheatbeltMy Profile

  4. He he! Thanks Jill! Not sure about that though. It’s all been a bit hit and miss and i’m notoriously bad at remembering plant names and how to look after their needs!

  5. Looks great Jo – your own little piece of Bali! The incense would add the extra sensory appeal.
    budget jan recently posted..West Point Sunset Magnetic IslandMy Profile

  6. Thanks Jan! Yes, it’s relaxing to be in and not too much work – so more time to spend sipping a cool Sauvignon Blanc!

  7. Hi Jo, I love your Balinese garden. Such a little piece of paradise. You did a wonderful job. I wish I have a bigger backyard where I can make my own.
    Marisol@TravelingSolemates recently posted..Banteay Srei: The Crown Jewel of Angkor CraftmanshipMy Profile

  8. I hope you too will be able to make your own Balinese or tropical garden one day, Marisol. Thanks for your kind words 🙂

  9. The little touches make all the difference. The statues, the flags and of course, the plants. I have a purple thumb so if I decide to do this I might have to budget in a gardener.
    Carol McDowall recently posted..Miley was absolutely brilliant. Would I take my kids to see her? HELL NO!My Profile

  10. Ha Ha, Carol. I’d like to see a picture of that purple thumb of yours! I’ve often thought I need to resort to hiring a gardener because to be honest I have a lot of gardening disasters which maybe someone in the know might just have prevented. Right now I’m thinking of a Hibiscus bush which looks in need of a trip to Bali and some vitamin pills.

  11. Beautiful! You have given me lots of inspiration for our new patio and garden area 🙂
    Janet @ Redland City Living recently posted..Whatever Happened to: Autograph AlbumsMy Profile

  12. Excellent, I’m so glad Janet – can’t wait to see a few pics!

  13. gabrielle says:

    I hope this could be your next job on ours yours is looking fantastic

  14. Thank you! Will have to give it a go with yours!

  15. Absolutely stunning and exoctic. Even the pictures make you want to be daringly carefree.
    Mary Martin recently posted..Unearthing Lost Treasure!My Profile

  16. Thank you Mary. Daring and exotic – I like that 🙂

  17. Wow looks really cool. Any update on how it’s held up? Love the colours. Now all you need is an outdoor heater so you can use it now 🙂 brrrr.
    Cosh Living
    Alex recently posted..Tribu 2015 Catalogue – Behind the ScenesMy Profile

  18. Would be good, Alex!

  19. Your Balinese garden looks beautiful! I think that the wooden trellis adds a lot to the color bond fencing. The plants complement it nicely as well, and the wooden fencing behind your pool adds to the style too. While I probably won’t be making a full Balinese garden in my backyard, I may have to steal some inspiration from your gazebo and the variety of fences you have. Thanks for the article!

  20. Thanks Hazel 🙂

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