olive tree

Under the Olive Tree

For quiet reflection or entertaining, it’s easy to grow fond of this courtyard.

Lisa Marie Hart Current Digital, Home & Design, Real Estate

olive tree
Transforming a lot from desert dirt to custom-designed home means thinking outside the build. Designer Lori Tiedeman and her husband, Gene, planned for this landscape well before they broke ground.

“The olive tree is our centerpiece, our first impression and our invitation inside,” says Tiedeman of the 80-year-old specimen, transported from a ranch in the East Valley. The tree provides cover from the sun and natural beauty in the home’s multi-use front courtyard. As a sacred symbol of peace and friendship, “that’s exactly what it was meant to signify for the entrance to our home.”

Guests like to congregate around a nearby fire pit below or in one of the courtyard sitting areas. “It brings so much natural beauty and life, between the sparrows, finches, and all the hummingbirds, who add to the music the breeze creates as it blows through the windchimes,” she says. “One neighbor called our courtyard ‘the best Zen’ he’d ever felt. We agree with him.”