Posted on Leave a comment

Retaining Walls: the unsung heroes of modern garden design

Retaining Wall Lifestyle9

Retaining Walls are a fantastic tool for revitalising your garden. Used to create raised beds they introduce new levels and it is this height variation that breathes new life into any outdoor area. With clever planting schemes and the right Retaining Walls it is easy to transform your garden into an entirely new area with ease, read on to find out how!

What can I do with my Retaining Walls?

The most common use for Retaining Walls is to create raised beds. By choosing the appropriate size and shape, you can elevate different areas of your garden to create anew landscape to work with. Planting contrasting flora on the upper and lower sections can also add depth to your garden design for example pairing a Corten Steel Retaining Wall with Imperata cylindrica Red Barron in the upper and Pachysandra terminalis in the lower section you can create quite the spectacle. They can also be used to create impressive borders to ring seating areas or to introduce terracing into almost any outdoor space. Terracing is a beautiful way to landscape a graduated space by stacking retaining wall sections in a tiered arrangement to add structure and style. Implementing raised borders into your garden design gives a stunning contrast between the neat and ordered bedding sections and the natural irregularity of flowers, shrubs and grasses. What’s more, Retaining Walls can be used to encircle seating areas to create an intimate setting perfect for hosting in. A fantastic way of doing this is to sink the seats and have a fire bowl in the centre. This produces a gorgeous and functional space in your garden that will be slightly obscured from view from the outside meaning it will not detract from the rest of your outdoor space. All of these applications are fairly easy to achieve as unlike some other landscape features, the Retaining Walls do the work for you.

Retaining-Wall-Lifestyle7
Corten Steel Retaining Wall can be used to create gorgeous raised beds bringing colour and style into your outdoor space.

How do I install them?

Retaining Walls are deceptively easy to install. Although their set-up and in turn, how much work is required does vary dependent on application. All of our Retaining Walls are fabricated with gusset plates on either end which come pre-drilled so that each section can fit and be bolted together with ease. With nuts and bolts included it is incredibly simple to assemble the Retaining Walls thanks to their intelligent modular design. Constructing your design begins with the base, the Retaining Wall must sit level on fairly solid ground such as compacted soil. Once in the desired position, simply bolt the sections together and back fill with soil. In most cases, there is no need to anchor the segments into the floor as the weight of the soil resting on the foot of each section is enough to secure the Retaining Wall in place. If there is need of a more solid footing or a more complicated set-up is being installed, it is possible to drill holes through the foot of each section and use metal reinforcing bars with right-angled bends in them pushed through the holes into the ground to act as pegs for extra reinforcement. This is advisable for the creation of a terraced garden to give extra structural stability when creating a stacked design.

Aluminium-Retaining-Wall-TD

Modular sections of Retaining Wall are incredibly easy to install.

Types of Retaining Wall

We offer a large range of shapes and sizes of Retaining Walls making it easy for you to create the garden design of your dreams. With the choice of Corten Steel or Aluminium sections, there is huge scope for contemporary landscaping and transformation of your outdoor space. In terms of style, there are straight and corner options which can be angled or curved in a radius design and are available as inside or outside sections. Additionally, each section is available in a range of lengths, widths and heights giving you the freedom to make any design idea a reality. Notably, there are wide-top sections available which can be used in conjunction with a Retaining Wall Seat to add functionality to your raised bed allowing you to sit amongst your planting scheme and enjoy it from a new angle. Determining whether Aluminium or Corten Steel is preferential for your garden comes down several considerations. Firstly, appearance plays its part. Corten Steel gives a beautiful rusted orange hue which deepens over time to give a stunning deep amber patina looking stunning against dark green foliage as a back drop. Alternatively, Aluminium Retaining Wall can be produced in almost any RAL colour giving you a huge freedom of choice that is not accessible with Corten Steel equivalents. The second consideration is the inherent properties each material posses. Both are strong yet light-weight and incredibly durable meaning that both will be a long-lasting feature in any outdoor space. The main difference is in how the materials cope with harsh weather. Corten Steel forms a self-protecting rust layer by reacting with oxygen and moisture in the air which prevents degradation of the inner layers of steel. Aluminium is weather-resistant by its very nature and so both are suited to life in the outdoors. Finally, there is a cost difference between the two. Corten Steel is cheaper than Aluminium so if you are looking for a more pocket-friendly approach, Corten Steel will be your answer. The only downside to this is that you have less flexibility of colour choice and so if you have a specific design scheme in mind then Aluminium will be the material for you. Corten Steel also gives a slightly more textured surface in comparison to the Aluminium and so if surface smoothness is a defining factor in your decision, this is something to consider.

Retaining-Wall-Lifestyle4
A beautiful contrast between the Corten Steel, the foliage, the gravel and the boardwalk.

Retaining Walls are a fantastic addition to any outdoor area, brining style, colour and height variation they can elevate a garden to create a beautiful and modern space to thoroughly enjoy. With a huge variety of sizes, shapes and designs to choose from in both Aluminium and Corten Steel it is easy to create your ideal layout. The intelligent modular design means the set-up is easy allowing you to revitalise your garden in no time. Contact us now on 01245 422 353 or on info@floraselect.net for more details.

Posted on Leave a comment

What is Corten Steel? All your questions answered.

Corten Steel Weathering Process

What is Corten Steel? | Flora Select

We know it looks beautiful as garden planters, log burners and other outdoor accessories but what actually is corten steel? Though not a new material, it has only recently made the transition from grand sculpture to garden accessories. Unsurprisingly, its popularity particularly for garden use has sky-rocketed thanks to the unique beauty of the rusted orange and its outstanding durability and weather-resistance.

What is Corten Steel made of?

With its easily recognisable rust colouring, we all know what corten steel looks like but how does that orange hue form and what makes corten steel different from regular steel? Corten steel, also know as weathering steel or COR-TEN steel (the official trademark) is an alloy made mainly from iron with small amounts of carbon, silicon, manganese and several other elements. It differs from normal steel (carbon steel or mild steel) by its chemical composition which gives it far superior weather resistance. This weather resistance comes from the self-protecting rust layer than forms over time. When it is first formed, it looks very similar to carbon steel, but once outside the weathering process begins. The surface of the corten steel reacts with air and water to form the rusty coating over a period of around 9 months. Throughout this time, it will gradually darken to develop that deep orange colour so typical of weathering steel. Each piece is unique as the weathering process develops the patina leaving a stunning orange coating. This coating then prevents further rusting beneath the outer layer and so protects itself.

Corten Steel Weathering Process

Weathering process lasts around 9 months leaving the beautiful unique rust orange.

Advantages

In addition to the attractiveness of corten steel, there are several other huge advantages. As discussed above, the outside rust layer protects it from further weathering, meaning it is essentially weather-resistant. The weather-resistance means it is perfect for use in garden planters, outdoor log burners and other accessories such as water features and fire bowls. It is also important to remember that it is still part of the steel family and so has many of the same beneficial properties such as high strength, durability which means you don’t need huge amounts to have a strong structure. Therefore, you can have a lightweight yet incredibly strong garden planter that will last. Combining all of these advantages means that corten steel is the ideal material to be used for both domestic and commercial landscaping projects, whether that is building raised beds with retaining walls or edging, adding water into your garden with a water feature or joining different levels with some gorgeous garden stairs.

How expensive is Corten Steel?

On the spectrum with all high-end garden materials, corten steel falls in the upper-middle price wise. There are, of course, cheaper materials available such as zinc or terracotta however each of these alternatives have distinct disadvantages in comparison such as lower durability and weather-resistance. In contrast, a corten steel planter will most times be cheaper than an aluminium alternative despite similar properties excluding appearance. For the huge range of benefits you get from having it in your garden, it is definitely a worthwhile investment as you will have beautiful colour in your garden for many years to come.

Where is Corten Steel used?

You have probably heard of or seen corten steel in use before though you may not have realised it. In the UK, the most famous corten steel art installation is The Angel of the North in Gateshead, near Newcastle. This stunning structure was designed by Antony Gormley and erected in 1998. Built to withstand 100 mph winds and other extreme weather conditions, this gorgeous sculpture will last for over 100 years. Another fantastic example of corten steel is in the external architecture of the Museum of Old and New Art, MONA in Tasmania, Australia. This stunning building really showcases the colour of weathering steel as it stands out against the dark waters of the bay and beautiful green of the hills behind. This contrast can be replicated in a garden space using corten steel planters and filling them with deep green plants to create a stunning clash to catch the eye of anyone in your garden. Finally, the Broadcasting Tower in Leeds is a shining example from an architectural perspective. With its unique design merging cubic and triangular elements, it is instantly recognisable especially considering the rusted orange glow.

How do I get some?

Now you have fallen in love with corten steel, you want to know how to get some of that orange into your life. Floraselect has got you covered. We have a huge range of corten steel garden accessories, from planters to fire pits, BBQs to water features we have something to suit every garden space regardless of size and design style. Floraselect can also offer bespoke pieces if you want something extra special for your outdoor space. Have a browse through our website, or contact our friendly team on 01245 422353 or email us on info@floraselect.net for more details.

Corten Steel Gap With Door + Pizza Door Log Burner by Adezz 75x50x150cm

This stunning pizza oven will let you cook outside with style and create tasty pizzas for everyone.

Overall, corten steel is a fantastic material to use for a huge range of outdoor applications. Long-lasting, weather-resistant and durable, this strong material boasts both form and function. The unique rust orange of the corten steel means it will bring bold colour into your garden space creating an eye-catching focal point for a long time to come.