Architectural trees are loved for their strong structures and distinctive shapes, with the ability to instantly give a garden a dramatic new focal point. Whether grown in the ground or in a pot, these five architectural trees can truly transform and redefine an outdoor space.
The Dragon Tree
The smooth, thick trunk of the dragon tree branches out with age, with each branch producing a magnificent cluster of blue-green, sword-shaped leaves. While the tree’s unique structure is primarily what gives it an architectural appeal, a mature dragon tree will also reward with beautifully-fragrant, lily-like flowers each summer.
So long as you’re in a region that doesn’t experience a winter frost, the dragon tree will thrive; it can tolerate wind, poor soil, low light, and even salt spray. Since it’s an evergreen, it provides year-round interest, but keep in mind that it’s also a slow-grower, making older specimens a better choice for the home garden.
The Beaked Yucca
With a stout trunk topped with a perfectly-symmetrical pom-pom of blue-green leaves, the beaked yucca is covered in soft, grey fibres that give the tree an iridescent shimmer. It grows taller than many of the others in its genus, but doesn’t have the same rigidity and sharpness to its leaves, making it perfect for a home environment.
Treat your beaked yucca well and it will reward you with spikes of white, bell-shaped flowers in the warmer months. This is an easy, hardy tree to care for, and while it does grow faster in the ground, it’s well-suited to containers too.
The Gauca Glass Tree
A blackened, textured trunk topped with sword-shaped, blue-green leaves gives the gauca glass tree a dramatic architectural edge. Every few years, tall flower spikes protrude from the foliage in the spring, soon bursting into a display of creamy white blossoms.
For a truly attention-grabbing garden focal point, look for a multi-headed specimen. Keep in mind, when choosing a size for your garden, that this is quite a slow-growing tree.
The Queensland Bottle Tree
Elegant and sculptural, the smooth curves of the Queensland Bottle Tree gives it a softer architectural appeal. Its thick, rounded canopy adds visual interest too, with the foliage giving way to an explosion of bell-shaped flowers each spring.
The tree’s bottle-shaped trunk becomes more pronounced with age, making it worth picking a more mature specimen for your garden. For those short on space, the slow-growing nature of the tree makes it suitable for container planting, and it can even be grown indoors as a bonsai.
The Olive Tree
The olive tree is one that gets even more impressive with age – its twisted trunk becomes increasingly gnarled and textured, contorting into intricate shapes that give the tree an ancient look. Its silvery-green foliage gives off an ethereal shimmer, thanks to the fine hairs on the leaf surfaces, and the fruit that the tree produces is a huge bonus too!
This is one of the more versatile architectural trees out there – plant it in the ground, as a hedge, in a container, or espaliered up a wall. Whichever you choose, this low-maintenance tree is perfect for those who are seeking both edible and architectural qualities.
If you’re looking to add a defining focal point to your garden, an architectural tree is the way to go. Choose one that’s suitable for your local environment and you’ll be rewarded with a tree that grows even more exquisite with age.