The Eye

A New Zealand Landscaper Created a Storybook Chapel Out of Living Trees

The Tree Church from landscaper Barry Cox in New Zealand is made of living trees.

Courtesy of Barry Cox/Tree Church

You don’t have to be religious to appreciate the Tree Church in Ohaupo, New Zealand. A heavenly 100-seat chapel set among a 3-acre landscaped garden, the church boasts walls made of living trees planted around an iron frame.

In 2011, Barry Cox, who runs a tree relocating business, decided that his backyard was missing an old stone church like the ones he had studied and admired on travels to Europe. So he decided to unite his passion for ecclesiastical architecture with his skills as a landscaper who specializes in replanting mature trees using a tree spade.


The Tree Church is set among 3 acres of landscaped gardens.  


Courtesy of Barry Cox/Tree Church

Cox writes on his website that he used live cut-leaf alder trees for the roof canopy and copper sheen for the walls, as well as camellia black tie, Norway maple, and pyramidal white cedar, training their branches around the frame.

The Tree Church was made by replanting mature relocated trees around an iron frame and training and trimming the branches into place.

Courtesy of Barry Cox/Tree Church

The Tree Church was originally “designed to show how an instant garden can be created” using a tree spade, he writes, adding that the church and a labyrinth walk he designed based on the ancient city walls of Jericho are “a welcomed retreat from society.”

The landscaped gardens include a labyrinth based on the ancient city walls of Jericho.  

Courtesy of Barry Cox/Tree Church

But he opened the Tree Church to the public earlier this year. Now, twice a week in fair weather, you can pay a small fee to view the church. What was once his backyard retreat is also now available for photo shoots, events, and has unsurprisingly become a popular wedding venue.

Courtesy of Barry Cox/Treechurch

Check out the video for a peek inside.