When seeking the five best architectural trees, it is essential to consider the definition of “architectural tree.” All trees have architecture. This includes the structure of their roots, their limbs, the height to which they will grow and even the type of soil they prefer and the amount of water or additional fertilizer they will require.
A “best” architectural tree is one that fits with your climate, soil type, available land expanse, the organization of buildings and road in the general local and the affect the architect and landscaper wish to achieve. As a result, the perfect architectural tree is one that fulfills the designers objectives.
Planning a landscape involves a number of decisions, both small and large. A well-balance landscape will include tall shade trees, areas for sun loving plants, mid-sized plants, and even low-growing shrubs. It will take best advantage of the local climate, easing the amount of work that might be required to maintain the appearance of the grounds. Ideally, it should be able to be maintained with a minimum of active maintenance, in some cases even limiting such minimal activities such as lawn mowing.
In short, good landscape architecture, which certainly involves architectural trees, should minimize both labor and expense in maintaining the grounds.
It goes beyond that, however. An architectural tree is one that has a striking shape that will enhance the appearance of its surroundings. Or it might present a splash of color, attract bees, butterflies, or birds, or even provide habitat for particular kinds of creatures.
Selecting the best architectural tree for your local and landscape plan involves many different decisions, and possibly the cooperative efforts of several experts.
Here at Designer Trees, we specialize in maintaining, moving, planting, and nurturing mature trees. This means that you do not have to wait decades to see the results of your efforts. We are licensed to harvest, maintain and nurture the tree varieties we sell, especially glauca grass trees, which are prized for their appearance, their ability to add inviting habitat, and for their durability and low maintenance. Our staff is always ready to answer questions about our trees and to assist you with decisions about selecting the best architectural trees for your situation.
To get you started, here is a list of our five best architectural trees:
- Bottle Tree (Brachychiton rupestris) is a beautiful tree that grows to majestic heights. Its graceful, wine-bottle shaped trunk is a statement all by itself, but when the wide spreading branches that off shade are added, it is a striking piece of arboreal majesty. That alone would win it top billing as an architectural tree. But, in season, it puts on delicate, fragrant blossoms that are loved by pollinators. The trunk is a means of storing moisture during rainy seasons to enable it to easily weather draught. It requires little or no pruning. Its one caveat is that Brachychiton rupestris can grow to an immense size, meaning that it should be allowed plenty of room. For large expanses, however, it is the perfect shade tree.
- Grass Tree (Xanthorrhoea glauca) is often likened to a native warrior, lifting his spear to do battle. Its trunk, sometimes blackened by fire, topped with the shaggy, grass like blades that grow at its top, and ornamented with a long, sturdy bloom stalk, create the illusion of some archetypal giant protecting the land. On the more practical end of things, it does well in sandy, well-drained soil as long as its companion mycorrhiza is incorporated into it so that the roots can extract the proper nutrients. It can handle both temperature extremes as well as drought while producing valuable sap, fibrous leaves, and blossoms that nurture a variety of wildlife.
- Dragon Tree (Dracaena Draco) Unlike the mythical beasts for which it is named, the dragon tree is real. It is a mid-sized tree that grows into a distinctive umbrella shape that provides a strike contrast against flat walls. Care should be taken not to plant it too close, however, as it does continue growing. Like the bottle tree and grass tree, it can withstand drought and, once established in a compatible climate, requires little care. It can, and often is, grown as a houseplant. As such, it has a variety of names including corn plant and false bamboo.
- Pandanus (Pandanus Tectorius) is often called screw pine or screw palm for the way the foliage twists around the trunk. The name derives from the Malaysian word for tree. Tectorius is native to north-western Australia, where it can cling tenaciously to the land even during storms that blow in off the ocean. It can withstand a moderate amount of salt, and its wide splayed, deep reaching roots allow it to grow in less than hospitable locations. These characteristics make it a good choice as a substitute for actual palm trees, even though it is not a palm or a pine.
- Australian Finger Lime (Citrus australasica) is a medium sized shrub, often found in thickets. It is a good choice for backyards or other areas where a large tree would crowd other plants or buildings. It is a prickly plant, so care should be taken not to plant it next to walkways. With that said, it comes with an additional perk: in season, it produces delectable citrus fruits that are about the size of the smallest finger on a man’s hand. These delicacies do not ship well, so the householder with a finger lime in the backyard can dine like a millionaire, and least while the shrub is fruiting.
There are many architectural trees, and these five by no means exhaust our inventory of interesting, attractive, or even useful trees. It is our hope that this short list will pique your curiosity. We invite you to visit our website, view our videos and pictures of our many selections.
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Our staff is always prepared to answer questions about our beautiful trees. Every care is taken to maintain our stock in good health and most of our plants are grown onsite. This enables assuring our customers that our plants are free of disease or parasites, unlike imported nursery stock. We also take care that you have the knowledge you need to get your architectural trees started right. We are so sure of the health of our stock that we back our trees with a one-year warranty.