For this 9- by 5½-foot planting, landscape designer Karen Donnelly combined coral, fiery orange, red, and yellow flowers with lime green and deep green tropical foliage.
A pot filled with elephant's ear and potato vine adds height and structure to the planting. In cold-winter areas, build the border for just a season, then start over next year. Or move the most valuable plants indoors for winter. You can also substitute hardy look-alikes, such as Japanese banana and honey bush, for true tropicals.
Design: Karen Donnelly, Redwood City, CA (650/224-3476)