Best Designer Trees for Small Gardens

A unique designer tree never fails to make an impressive statement in a garden, but finding a tree that’s suitable for a smaller space can often be a challenge. Whether you’re able to plant in the ground or need to grow your tree in a container, these are the best designer trees for small gardens.


The Queensland Bottle Tree

Since the Queensland Bottle Tree is a slow-grower, a small specimen will retain its compact size for several years. Of course, over time, a tree planted in the ground will soon outgrow a small garden, but the Queensland Bottle Tree is a great one for growing in containers too.

The main standout feature of this tree is its trunk – it boasts smooth, elegant curves that resemble a bottle, giving the tree its name. If you live in a region with particularly cold winters, you could even opt to grow this tree indoors, as it does very well when cultivated as a bonsai.


The Golden Barrel Cactus

Although not technically a tree, the rare and endangered golden barrel cactus is a great addition to small gardens. It’s pretty much maintenance-free and will do well in a container, even tolerating periods of drought if you forget to water it.

With its green, spherical body and contrasting golden spines, this is a plant that will instantly add texture and colour to your garden throughout the year. Bringing it indoors won’t be a problem for this plant either – many choose to grow this one as a houseplant.


The Glauca Grass Tree

Although the Glauca grass tree can grow to up to six metres tall, this takes hundreds of years – the tree only grows at a rate of a couple of centimetres a year. This makes a younger specimen perfect for smaller gardens, both in the ground or in a container.

The tree is loved for its thick, blackened trunk, which is topped with dense rosettes of blue/grey foliage. For an even bigger impact, go for a multi-stemmed specimen – they never fail to provide a dramatic architectural quality.


The Olive Tree

With the olive being one of the oldest known fruits to have been cultivated by humans, adding an olive tree to your garden will give your space a beautiful piece of history. This is another slow-grower, and while it can reach up to six metres in height at maturity, growing it in a pot will allow you to contain it.

Even pot-grown olive trees will produce fruit after about five years, and while this is often the main appeal of the tree for many, there’s no denying its ornamental effect too. The olive tree has a gorgeous gnarled trunk that grows more twisted and contorted with age, with shimmery foliage that adds to its ancient appearance.

Those with smaller gardens often shy away from feature trees, not realising that there are actually quite a few that will still thrive when contained. Whether you’re looking for a tree that will also provide fruit, or simply need something low-maintenance to add a focal point to your garden, these four feature trees will definitely not disappoint.


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