- A basic tiki hut suitable for backyard cocktail parties consists of natural materials, such as palm fronds, bamboo, cypress wood or ceramic tile. These huts are more authentic, but require maintenance, including patching the roof or walls, if the hut has walls. These types of tiki huts have life spans of less than a decade, even with regular maintenance. Those who want a tiki hut that looks less natural but can withstand the test of time can use modern polymers for the thatch material and aluminum instead of bamboo or wood to frame the hut. Some synthetic materials come with a UV-protective coating to resist spotting or fading.
- Whether you use synthetic or natural products to frame the hut, bamboo is a worthy addition to the structure, both for decorative and structural purposes. Bamboo is amazingly strong and flexible, and it adds authenticity to the tiki hut. In addition, bamboo is environmentally friendly. Although it has many properties of wood, bamboo is actually a type of grass, so it grows quickly and is not at risk of being endangered.
- A beautifully built tiki provides cool shade in a hot back yard, or a cool place to hang out in an otherwise boring basement. After building the tiki hut, it is important to consider additional building materials such as garden plantings and thatched accents, which are native to the Caribbean, Polynesian, Filipino and Florida Seminole cultures. You can integrate hanging vines and blossoming plants into the actual structure of the hut.
- The key features of most styles of a tiki hut are a relatively open design, favoring flow over privacy. Sturdy wooden or polymer posts or columns can be key for hanging plants or a hammock. Bamboo furniture, tropical accents, rattan, tile mosaics, wooden totems, carved masks, paper lanterns, tiki torches and tropical flowers are ideal accents for the tiki hut. A tiki bar should come equipped with a surface that can be wiped clean, such as treated wood, and cabinets, shelves and holes for storing glasses and cocktail supplies.
- Kevin C. Dunn builds custom tiki bars for a living. He also wrote the DIY guide "How to Build Your Own Tiki Bar." He reminds people to keep a tiki frame of mind as they plan their huts. "It's a state of mind--a way to create an instant congregation and party...The conversations flow, everyone gathers around the tiki bar and unwinds in a relaxing state of mind." Above all else, create a place conducive to your relaxation and enjoyment, be it meditative minimalism or kitschy wonderland.