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Landscaping with Specimen Olive Trees

Landscaping with Specimen Olive Trees


In the American West, landscape architects often turn to plants and trees that can withstand arid climates and potentially long periods of drought. In California right now, residents are experiencing some of the hottest and driest years on record. It only makes sense that the olive tree (Olea Europea) are an integral part of any landscape plan.

The olive tree thrives in dry, infertile soil and are quite tolerant of intense heat. The western states of the U.S. – California, Arizona, and Oregon – are all suitable regions for planting fully mature specimen olive trees. They tend to perform best in zones 8, 9 and 11-24 and while they require full irrigation for the first year after transplantation, they can survive extended dry periods.

The beauty of the olive tree have an oak-like form and can add dramatic highlights to an entry or drive, or even used to create a small grove to shade an outdoor kitchen or entertainment space. When paired with native grasses, rock structures, succulents and other complimentary landscape elements, you can create a truly remarkable and elegant space.

For an example of this, take a look at The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach. Pelican Hill was created in the image of Italy’s most renowned architect, Andrea Palladio, who championed classic building principles in perfect harmony with the natural landscape. Creating the resort meant transforming a verdant hillside by the Pacific Ocean in Southern California into a Mediterranean village by the sea.

A central unifying theme of the landscape: olive trees

More than 750 mature olive trees, including 30 century-old trees, all chosen for their unique trunk and limb character and planted on the 504 acres of the Resort. The resulting landscape recalls the manicured maturity of the countryside in Tuscany or Umbria.