Architectural trees add a beautifully elegant, sculptural quality to any outdoor space, and can quickly become the focal point of a garden. Whether you’re looking for an evergreen tree to provide year-round interest, or an ornamental tree that also happens to produce an edible food, these are the best architectural trees to look into.
The Dragon Tree boasts a thick trunk that’s topped with rosettes of sword-shaped, blue/green leaves. Being an evergreen, it retains its prehistoric look throughout the year, even in colder climates. Many often pick the Dragon Tree as an alternative to the palm, since it provides a similar tropical appeal.
This tree is surprisingly tolerant of lower light levels, making it great for the shadier parts of a garden. It can even be grown in a pot indoors – this is a houseplant that would never fail to get a conversation started!
The Glauca Grass Tree is pretty unusual-looking – its thick, black stem is topped with rounded heads of blue/grey, sword-shaped leaves. In fact, this is the only grass tree that boasts such impressive foliage, making it instantly recognisable in a landscape.
This is quite a slow-growing tree, with a final height of around six metres. If you’re looking for an instant transformation in your garden, then pick an older specimen with an already-thick trunk, or look for a multi-headed tree for an even bigger dramatic impact. Although native to New South Wales, this is a tree that can survive all climates, so you can rest assured that it will be happy in your garden.
A stunning, ancient-looking architectural tree that can also provide around 18kg of fruit a year may seem too good to be true, but these are the qualities that the Olive Tree is loved for. Its gnarled and twisted trunk grows more contorted with age, and its silvery-green foliage contains tiny hairs that give the tree a shimmering, mystical quality.
For those who love olives, this tree is a must. It’s easy to look after and can tolerate all Australian climates, even regions that experience bitter winters. This is a tree that also does very well in a pot, meaning that even those with smaller gardens will be able to benefit from this tree’s unique appeal.
It’s easy to see where the Queensland Bottle Tree got its name from – its smooth trunk swells out at the base but then tapers in at the top, making it look just like a bottle. Its finger-like foliage adds to its architectural quality too, but even when the leaves fall off in the spring, the curved trunk still ensures that this tree is a stand-out feature in any landscape.
Although this tree is pretty hardy, it doesn’t like temperatures below -5 degrees. However, if you live in a colder region, the Queensland Bottle Tree takes well to being grown in a container, making it easy to move under cover when the temperatures drop. In fact, you could even grow a bonsai version as a houseplant!
No matter the size of your garden, you’ll always be able to find an architectural tree that’s suited to your environment. Whether you go for something large and dramatic, or small, elegant, and pot-grown, an architectural tree will instantly give your garden a whole new look.