Landscaping Around a Palm Tree

Here at Mission: Palm Trees

Palm lovers can get the info needed to ease their searching tasks. While enjoying our articles & having fun, without unneeded shoptalk lingo & tiring research.

Have you thought of landscaping around a palm tree in your yard? Maybe you planted it and it's growing well. That's wonderful!

But you'd like to design the area around it to compliment it well. Make a nice tropical atmosphere added around it. Where do you start?

We have some tips here. Plus advice from some experts. Continue on down the page to see them all. Or pick the tips you need by Clicking The Button:

Palm Tree Landscape Design Prep

Let's think First of The Initial Planning. For diagramming a basic outline. What's some essential tools for that?

  • Graph paper
  • Pencil & a good eraser
  • Measuring tape


Practical to think about. For helping your landscaping around palm trees to be successful. By getting the right plant in the right place!

  • What type of climate do you live in? And so Know Your Planting Zone?
  • How much shadowing comes in each day? From other tall trees, your house or garage.
  • So, how much sun does the area around the palm tree get each day?


Then make your list for evaluation.

  • Are there particular plants you'd like for landscaping around your palm?
  • How well do the plants you'd like match the watering needs of your nearby palm tree?
  • Would you prefer those that need very little care?

Think about where to buy plants you'd like to use.

Are there decorative items you want to incorporate into your palm tree landscape? 

  • For instance: rocks, pavers, a bench, or other yard or tropical design items?
  • But more add-ins means more purchases. Which raises your costs.

You'll have to juggle your decision: your ideal plan vs. your budget. Maybe you can compromise on some items. 

  • Or try used stores, like Habitat for Humanity's ReStores.
  • For doing this, instead of manually graphing, you could try an Online Planner.

Summing Up: How complicated or simple do you want your design? Particularly related to how much is in your design budget?


Tools are essential for the work.

  • Gardening gloves
  • Rake, shovel & spade
  • Wheel barrow
  • Eye Protection

Landscaping With Palm Trees Safely

Palms with Landscaped surroundingsThe Landscaping Around the Palm Trees Here Suit the Tropical Feel of the Area


Remember safety! Think of the safe way to do your landscaping around your palm tree. Some may seem like they're common sense. But others you might not have thought of.


Contact your local area's system for figuring out where underground utilities are located. That's essential when landscaping around a palm tree. 

  • You may think you know where they are. Yet, sometimes regulations exist about the distance some greenery may be planted. You'd want to know that. 
  • Call one of your local utilities to ask about it. 
  • Or you can google, as I've done for our yard: "find underground utilities in Tucson." I found out I can call a number for free service. Some try to get you to hire them, so be aware.
underground cablesDon't Be Surprised by Finding These!


Be cautious about prior homeowner underground sprinkler, electrical or drain installations. A previous homeowner may not have shown you.

If there's a reason to suspect them in an area, then dig slowly and carefully.


  • Know the right way to use your tools. We recommend reading instructions. Already familiar with them? Remember your experiences that helped with safety.
  • With power tools, be sure cords aren't frayed. That plugs can be grounded. 
  • Don't let power cords drag into wet areas.
Using a Power SecateurMake Sure Your Tools Won't Be Shocking!


Wear eye protection when digging, raking, or placing plant/ground applications. Will you be stirring up dry soil, causing rising dust? Or using anything with toxic warning labels? Yuk! NO inhalation please...

  • Be sure to wear a disposable filtering mask. 
  • Inhaling that stuff can cause lung problems. If not immediately, it's possible further down the road. (Believe me, We Know!) A typical work N-95 mask is best.
Man wearing an N95 Work Mask, gloves and a hard hat.Who's That Masked Man?
Someone Who's Being Smart, Doing Safe Work!

Avoid your gardening work when too tired. While you're working take intermittent rest breaks. Don't garden when drinking alcohol or influenced by sedating drugs.

Tired Gardening people resting with their head on a table.Wanted to Do Landscaping - But Took a Nap Instead!

Landscaping With Palm Trees
Ideas to Think About

Ideas for your designing will include a variety of pleasing compositional elements. Consider your whole yard's current plant placement. Along with the area's "geometry" or layout. Think of the natural flow of rain water.

Evaluate plant colors. Are you going for a formal or jungly type theme. Think of including the best tropical landscaping plants.

That's great if you live in tropical or subtropical zones. But if not, there are "tropical-looking" plants that are hardy to colder weather zones. 

You have Some Other Solutions, too!

Backyard Palm Landscaping poster

Palm Tree Landscape Design Tips


Let's get started. First remember to look at the current landscaping around your palm tree.

  • Is there grass growing right up to the trunk? 
  • Or other plants?


When you use lawn-care equipment like mowers, etc., the trunk can get small nicks. Tiny harmful bugs, or germs that cause disease can get inside the palm.


Or even nearby ground cover, tropical landscaping plants or flower beds. If they're just about hugging the palm's trunk. The nutritional needs aren't often the same.

Your lawn, cover plants & flower needs will probably be different. If you only think of those needs, the palm will suffer. It could even die!

But, if you attend to the palm's needs, surrounding plants may suffer a little. Or not at all.

Palm Grove in Nightcliff Beach ParkThe Palms in This Park Near Darwin Australia Could Be in Danger! Why oh Why?!


Remove an area of these plants surrounding your palm tree. About 3 feet outward. Then refill the area with mulch for an attractive look.

Palm Design For Tropical Landscaping Plants

Lush Tropical Landscaping Habitats


Remove an area of these plants surrounding your palm tree. About 3 feet outward. Then refill the area with mulch for an attractive look.


  • Choose palms for contrasting coloring, trunk patterns & the look of The Fruits.
  • Aim for variation in leaf forms & colors
  • Sizing matters! Choose plants with heights from very low to the ground, to a bit taller than a person.

Small Palms for More Rainy Areas

Our Suggestions 

If you live in areas averaging 30+ inches of rain/year. Think of landscaping around a palm tree with these:

Pygmy Date Palm

Phoenix roebelenii is an ideal closely triple-planted accompaniment.

  • A thirsty sort. Likes warmth, US Planting Zones 9, 10 & 11. Prefers sunnier spots. Known to tolerate a momentary freeze.
  • Dark green fronds. New growth looks smoky green. Pale flowers along a 2-foot inflorescence. Fruits are 1/2 inch black.
  • Solitary trunk starts. Expands width as it goes upward. About 6 to 8 feet tall.

Cataract Palm

Chamaedorea cataractarum is from Oaxaca, Chiapas & Tabasco Mexico. Growing in rain forests by rivers & streams. Also called Cat Palm. Needs regular watering, loves humidity & full sun. Best in Zones 9b, 10 & 11.

  • Clustering palm whose stem forks just above ground. Growing about 6 feet tall, expanding to 10 feet wide.
  • Feathery, delicate looking pinnate fronds are dark green, about 12" long.
  • Yellow flowers along 1-1/2 foot branching inflorescence. Small 1/2" red or black fruits.

Miniature Palm Trees for Dryer Climates

Does your climate get about 25 inches of rain/year or less? These diminutive, miniature palm trees are the ones to consider.

Lady Palm

Rhapis excelsa probably originated in southern China. Never been seen in the wild. Now most dwarf types are cultivated in Japan.

  • Bushy palm tree clumper with narrow stems, grows to about 10'. 
  • Attractive palmate glossy green fronds. Look for variegated leafed variety, if you run on the exotic side of life! 

Chinese Needle Palm

Guihaia argyrata is indigenous to southernmost China & northern Vietnam.  It doesn't like full sun. Best in zones 8b to 11.

Grows slowly to about 3 foot tall. Hardy and tolerant. Not common in most nurseries. But can be found. You'll need to be accurate with its care.

  • Are you in the desert? Plant this where there's partial shade. Can tolerate momentary freezes. Needs well drained soil.
  • Gorgeously unique palmate frond comes off the node in a full 3' wide circle, like a starburst.
  • Range of dark green fronds on top, with contrasting light green vein. Underside's tan with a silvery glow. Upright florescence has tiny white flowers producing tiny round black fruit.

Small Cold Hardy Palms

Are you in a temperate zone, that gets some hard freezes? Think of these ideas. Get cold tolerant small palms.

Consider structuring a wide berth circular space around your large cold tolerant palm. Which we hope has surrounding mulch. See these ideas.

Dwarf Palmetto

Sabal minor is endemic in the US southern states. Plus south coastal Atlantic. 

  • Most northerly naturally growing U.S. palm. Survives northern climes to Zone 6.
  • As seen below, it likes water. Doesn't have to be in a swamp, but prefers moist soil. Even tolerates drying out for a bit. 

Seashore Palm

Allagoptera arenaria originated in sand dunes of coastal Brazil. Where it gets full sun - which it loves. Hardy in Zones 8a to 11.

  • Maxes out at 8 feet tall. Have sandy soil? It's a great choice. Very salt immune. Has quite the shrubby look.
  • Delicate pinnate fronds easily flutter. Dark dusty green tops, with bottom's waxy surface giving a silvery shine.
  • Can be tested in areas where Palms Can Grow - if you're willing to give it watchful care.

Hardy Bamboo Palm

Chamaedorea microspadix originated in Mexico's Sierra Madre Oriental. It's a nice clumper! Very cold hardy. Maybe the best outside of tropical areas.

  • Gets 12 feet tall, spreading 8 feet wide. Very thin trunk struggles holding up long pinnate fronds. As they slump you view the dark green stem with intermittent white rings. Reminiscent of bamboo.
  • Another with dark green leaf top & silvery bottom. Tiny very light yellow flowers produce small orange-red fruit.
  • With severe cold it may die to the ground. But can regenerate!

European Fan Palm

Chamaerops humilis, naturally grows in more northern areas. So it's used to colder temps. Needs well-drained soil.

  • Clumping variety, which spreads out via suckers to 30' wide. Growing slowly, they're usually about 10' tall.
  • Tolerates lows to 15oF (-9.4oC), especially with low humidity. Lower temps may seem to kill them, but over time roots bring it back.
  • Fronds have varied green shades. Watch out for frond petioles' ending: nasty spines!

Mazari Palm

Nannorrhops ritchiana is native to desert hillsides in the Middle East.

Good for Zones 8 to 11 & with watchfulness in 7. Quite low-temp tolerable in dry humidity areas

Also drought-hardy.

  • Slow growing, most get about 8' tall. It clumps, spreading about 8' wide.
  • Palmate fronds have thin wedge shapes tapering to points. Dusky blue-green color.
  • Not fussy about soils, but needs the sun.
Mazari Palm at Botanischer Garden in Heidelberg GermanyStanding Pretty at the Botanischer Garten
In Heidelberg Germany

Needle Palm

Rhapidophyllum hystrix endemic in specific areas of U.S. southeast. Naturally thrives in swampy lowlands, coastal plains & deciduous groves.

  • Slow grower. Needs moisture to survive. 
  • It's having a difficult time. Collectors have retrieved wild plants. Wild reproduction isn't easily accomplished. With these other factors, it's now almost gone throughout original habitats.
  • If you come upon one, please keep these things in mind. It needs careful nurturing. Maxes out at 12 feet.

Saw Palmetto

Serenoa repens is also original to parts of the southeastern U.S.

  • Naturally likes coastal sandy plains & dunes or nearby piney woods. Variable for sunlight, full to partial. Moisture adaptive too. Can grow out of control. Many Florida HOAs ban it!
  • Clustering trunk, below ground, it seems trunkless. It creeps outward to about 20', almost like ground cover. Slowly grows to 6' high.
  • Palmate fronds are waxy, silvery bluish-green color. White flowers on many branched 2-3' long inflorescence. Bees love them, making delish honey!
Saw Palmetto Pear Park Palatlakaha FLWhat Do You Think About Banning a Palm Tree?
Our HOA Bans Certain Species! Many More Than Just One!!

Palms in Temperate Zones

Palm Designing for Yards in Non-tropical Areas


This idea is to format a wide base around your palm tree, to add flexibility for the cold weather. Here are some steps:

First - Add a circumference of mulch around your tall palm tree's base. Extend it out about 2-3 feet.

Second - Place a row of curving pavers, circling beyond the mulch layer. They sell these in kits. You'll need to get measurements to figure out your needs. The outward depth could be about 2 feet.

  • You don't want them too close to the palm's trunk. That can cause them to buckle from palm trunk and/or root growth.

Third - Now add in further landscaping around your palm tree with small potted palms. Giving you seasonal flexibility. Remember the esthetic rule of 3 or 5 as best.

  • Bring them outside to sit on the paver base in the summer, for accenting purposes. 
  • Bring them indoors near an appropriate window, when winter weather turns too cold.

Fourth - Maybe this seems a bit tacky or cheesy. But look into Fake Palm Trees?!

Another Landscaping Around A Palm Tree Trick

You can use other plant families that are palm look-alikes. Tropical looking Yuccas or Cyads.

Types of Indoor Palm Plants

Here are some palm plants you can try. If they'd be suitable for moving back & forth from your backyard to inside your home. When you bring them indoors look at placement. Remember to check lighting they'll get from nearby windows.

Sentry Palms

Cultivated Howea forsteriana can average 12+ feet. But potting can contain its growth.

  • Well loved for the arching stems. From which the tapered fronds flop downward. 
  • When established, can endure short temp durations of 28oF (-2.2oC). But be cautious about that!

Ruffled Fan Palm

Lucuala grandis has gorgeous palmate circular fronds. Does well going from outside to inside. Don't let it dry out!

  • The crown contains most of the leaves. From 12+ gleaming green fronds.
  • Amidst which grow short flower stalks. 
  • Tiny fruits are very red.
Ruffled Fan Palm potted up, ready for transplanting.Find a Fabulous Pot for This Exquisite Type of Indoor Palm

Wedding Palm

Lytocaryum weddellianum is also called Miniature Coconut Palm. (But it's not in the Cocos genus!) Very stylish appearance.

  • Growing slowly, it only gets 6' tall. One reason it's good potted.
  • Pinnate fronds are dark green, with grayish hue below. 
Wedding PalmLytocaryum weddellianum
Can You Guess Why It's Nicknamed the Wedding Palm? Probably!
Lives at the Naples Botanical Garden in Florida

Ivory Can Palm

Pinanga coronata needs good watering, with fast drainage.

  • New growth fronds appear pinkish, then turn green to dark green with age. 
  • Likes partial sun.
Pinanga coronata growing at McKee Botanical GardenAn Ivory Cane Palm Grows at the McKee Botanical Garden
In Vero Beach Forida

Lady Palm

Rhapis excelsa, mentioned above under: "Small Palms for Dryer Climates." That's where you'll find added Lady Palm Info.

  • Seems to do well under dubious circumstances.
  • It just pleads for bright light without strong sun & regular water.

Landscaping Around a Palm Tree Takeaways

There's a lot to think about for planning more landscaping around a palm tree. The key word is Planning! Along with imagination to visualize your end result.

Plant other palms? Plant palmy look-alikes? Plant small palms near the large one in a pleasing pattern. Plant other tropical plants?

Hope we gave you some helpful ideas for landscaping around a palm tree! To keep your focus plant from being lonely!

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