This stone wall (which I'm pretty sure is actually cement carved to look like a fieldstone wall) separates the living/dining room from the kitchen in this urban, open-concept house. Leafy and vining tropical plants grow from a trough along the top of the wall and well as in pots along the floor. There is an irrigation pipe that drips water into the trough--this water also runs down the wall into a small, walled pool along the floor, where the potted plants can also catch a drink. There is a corrugated plexiglass skylight above for sunlight, and through which some rain also falls when there are heavy squalls. Here is a view from the kitchen side:
We have also discovered that (at least) two little house geckos live up on that wall. They are small, brown, and way too fast (so far, anyway) for me to catch in a photo. They chirp at night and scamper along the wall. They are considered lucky, probably because they eat insects.
The kids' bedroom has a window that looks out into a mini-courtyard, which would be an air shaft if this were a taller building. Our house here is only one story, but to stay cool it is important that every room has a window. These are potted plants that get rain and light from the outside in this small area. They must not need much attention, because I think you'd have to remove a window to get out there to deal with them.
Through the back door in the kitchen there is a traditional patio:
Because we are in the city center, this patio is completely tiled, but you can see at the far end that there are more plants along the back wall. Part of the patio is covered so you can sit outside whenever you want, though any line between the indoors and the outdoors is pretty blurry here.
Part of the patio area in uncovered as well:
The outdoor sink could be for laundry, though we have a small washing machine on the patio as well. The outdoor plants need no extra watering, as it rains here at least a little bit every day now that we are heading into the rainy season.
This last photo shows my bedroom window and small bathroom window, as well as more plants around the walls of the house. A little gueco (our friends the house geckos) must live out here as well, because I saw him running along my window sill yesterday afternoon. There are no screens here, so I suppose he is free to come and go as he pleases, but he chose to leap into the tall plant by my window when I tried to take his picture.
We also have a pair of Tropical Kingbirds that like the high tree branches just over the back garden wall or over the patio roof. They aren't too loud, though we hear them when the sun comes up. I haven't yet been able to get a picture of them, but will keep trying.
I'm not sure of the names of any of these plants, but they all seem to be pretty low maintenance. Everyone has them growing in their front porch yards or back courtyards, and they are also all around town in the parks and open spaces. It is very green and lush here, even in the middle of town, which we like a lot.