With their twisted, gnarled trunks and silvery green foliage, olive trees not only look magnificently rustic, but they’re also incredibly versatile. Whether you plant one as a feature tree or grow them in a row to form a hedge, here are six creative ways to use olive trees when landscaping your garden.
Olive Trees as Feature Trees
Let’s start with one of the most popular ways in which olive trees are utilised – as feature trees. Considering their majestic appearance, along with the fact that they can live for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, it’s not surprising that olive trees are commonly used to make a statement. Plant one in the centre of your garden to give it an anchoring focal point, or grow them on either side of a path entrance to frame the landscape beyond.
An Olive Tree Alleé
Alleés are paths that have been lined with pleached trees. This means that those trees have been pruned to grow with a very straight top edge, similar to a hedge. Whether you pleach your olive trees or not, they’re still a fantastic species for creating a lush and mystical alleé. Plant them in the ground along a path or dot a path with potted olive trees – either way, they’ll give your garden a gorgeous Mediterranean feel.
Olive Tree Canopies for Shade
Basking in the sun is fun, but shade is always needed. When it comes to shade trees, many don’t often consider the olive tree. However, when pruned correctly, the olive tree works very well. Its canopy can be trained to grow in a dense and leafy way, providing just the right amount of shade, with slithers of sunlight still filtering through.
A Neutral Colour Palette
Olive trees have quite earthy and neutral colours. Use these to your advantage when landscaping the rest of your garden, making the most of those grey and green shades. Other plants that offer similar hues include Rose Campion, Cardoon, Silver Bush, and Cotton Lavender.
Olive Trees as Topiary Plants
While olive trees look beautifully rustic when left to grow naturally, they are equally stunning when trimmed into topiary shapes. You could go with a simple pom-pom shape – this is an easy one to create. Alternatively, push your artistic talents a little further and try clipping your olive trees into spirals, bird shapes, or anything else that you can imagine.
Olive Trees as a Hedge
Although not commonly used as a hedging plant, olive trees that are planted close together will offer a dense evergreen privacy screen. They can be used on their own to create a hedge, or lined up in pots along an existing fence to soften things up. Keeping them in pots helps to restrict their size too, although they will need some extra care to really thrive.
Olive trees really do have so much to offer when it comes to how they can visually transform a space. Even better, once they’re established they’re so easy to care for – give them the basics and they don’t need much maintenance, yet will stick around for several generations.