Metal and stainless steel can be wonderful elements in the modern garden due to the strength and beauty of steel as well as the unrivalled flexibility this material offers during fabrication. Steel can be elegant and delicate, sleek and shiny or rough, weathered and robust. Given our harsh climate here in Toronto, a material like steel that holds up well for years and decades even is most welcome.
Over the years we have made custom pergolas, privacy screens, sleek built in BBQ surrounds and Corten steel retaining walls and planters from steel. No other material is as malleable and versatile as steel. Properly fabricated and installed, a good design made from steel can really standout and act as a focal point within the landscape. Stainless steel, galvanized steel and Corten steel all offer their own unique weather resistance and if selected and placed properly, these metal elements can look and perform in the same fashion as when they were installed even after dozens of years have gone by.
Nothing is ever without its faults and one of the biggest issues with using steel as a design element can be the complexity in fabrication. Steel elements are almost always fabricated and prepared off-site. This makes it critical that the initial measurements and the design details to follow are extremely accurate as making changes on site is often impossible to do. Steel also needs to be prepared properly in regards to anti-rust coatings and the final paint coating otherwise steel can quickly rust and look weathered. Exposure to salt can cause issues for stainless steel and Corten Steel a.k.a. weathering steel will create a rusty residue whenever it rains that will stain anything below it so placement of steel elements is also a key factor in the overall success of the element within the landscape.
Once fabricated and installed properly, a steel structure or design element can make a striking addition to either a modern of traditional landscape that will be both distinctive and resilient for years to come.