Metals in Landscape Projects
Typically, when discussing a landscape project, the mind goes immediately to plants, trees, and gathering places for visitors. Or, quite possibly, some kind of water element, like a fountain or pond. But we argue that most landscape projects benefit from the addition of some type of mineral ore focal piece. While relatively cold and industrial on its own, metals in landscape projects are warm and inviting. Certainly when paired with the natural elements of the outdoors.
The addition of “metals” brings a simple, utilitarian, and industrial feel to any outdoor project. It adds contrast, texture, and a contemporary vibe to an otherwise run-of-the-mill project. The juxtaposition of a hard element in a natural setting can create something of interest. Depending on the type of metal and finish used, it can even spark new life into an older property.
Types of Metals in Landscape Projects
Because it is lightweight and more resistant to corrosion, aluminum is a commonly used metal in exterior landscape projects. There are brands offering aluminum edging for walkways, as well as aluminum seating like tables, benches, chairs, or swings for a garden. One of the more common ways that we have used aluminum for exterior projects is a perforated aluminum fence or paneling. In which offers protection from elemental conditions such as wind and snow. Aluminum is successfully used in sculpture. It requires less strength in a structural base due to its weight, for instance.
Another common metal used in exterior landscape projects is stainless steel.
Like aluminum, it is corrosion resistant, but does not need any special coating, though it can rust if not treated properly or the wrong type of stainless treatment is used (per application). There are multiple treatments available, including: straight line, mirror, or non-directional finishing. While a little more expensive than other metals, it is strong, versatile, and brings a timeless beauty to most applications.
A more cost effective option is mild steel. Please note, even with proper surface treatment it comes with a higher risk of corrosion. That said, there are a number of good finishing options which help make this steel longer lasting and even more beautiful. Options include galvanized, blackened steel, clear coat, powder coat, and painted. Each of these options provides a different coloring, look, texture, and feel to the metal, and most can be applied to any type of metal you prefer.
Another available type of steel is weathering steel (or Corten®). This steel is formulated to develop a protective layer of rust that protects it from further corrosion. This rusting process can be hastened chemically, so it maintains a beautiful burnt orange patina from day one, or it can be allowed to happen naturally over time. The weathered steel look is very popular in landscape architectural metals right now and probably will be for many years to come.
Examples of Metals in Landscape
There are many different ways to use these metals in exterior landscape projects. We have manufactured commercial Green Walls to create the necessary space for climbing greenery to grow up the side of a building, or even just as a freestanding structure in the middle of the landscape.
These “screens” come in mesh, perforated, and even laser cut to create whatever pattern you and your customers would like to incorporate. Some of these panels are so artistic, they are sculptures in and of themselves.
While not necessarily high on the “functional” scale, sculptures can be a great addition to any landscape project. It can act as a focal point, adding texture and depth to an area while providing interest as something for people to talk about and discuss.
This sculpture pictured acts as a metal “reed” garden, which sways back and forth with the wind. Imagination is the limit when it comes to what can be “sculpted” out of metal.
Whether it is over the entrance of a building or a freestanding pergola, the use of metal in sunshades is very popular in landscape projects. Sunshades provide the aesthetic of an awning or designate a space as a separate outdoor “room.” This happens while still allowing for light, rain, and airflow to come through. However, not ideal for keeping you dry, metal sunshades do provide a place for plants to grow (even underneath) which eventually will provide even more natural shade and protection.
Most of the time, railings are merely a safety precaution. But that does not mean they can’t be easy on the eyes as well. Both functional and artistic, cable railings provide protection and allow for viewability. Plus, adding nice line aesthetics to the natural landscape. Whether it is over water, or separating a seating area from a garden, cable railings preserve the view.
Contact Us Today!
As you can see, the options for combinations of metals and finishes is extensive. It really all comes down to the look you are trying to achieve in your design. We would love to help you build a perfect metal solution into your exterior/landscape project. To get started today, contact Astro Engineering & Manufacturing, Inc.