Corten steel is quickly becoming a popular feature in Australian landscaping where it is used for planters, garden edging, screens, sculptures, fences and outdoor fire pits. If you are looking for an architectural material that is long-lasting, low maintenance and will add an attractive “natural” look to your garden – Corten steel is for you.
What is Corten Steel
Corten steel (aka Cor-ten) is ‘weathering steel’. This trademarked name of a material manufactured by U.S. Steel is a group of steel alloys that create a special finish on metal. This copyrighted name is now commonly used to refer to a whole range of steel products that develop a protective layer of rust when exposed to weather.
REDCOR® steel is the Australian Made “Corten” weathering steel making an exceptional replacement to imported weathering steels proudly made in Australia by BlueScope.
Benefits of using Corten steel in the garden
- It is almost maintenance-free
- The steel does not require pre-treatment before installation to lengthen its durability
- You do not need to paint or seal Corten since a stable rust-like look is naturally formed after several years
- Corten resists corrosion (usually a problem with using metal outside) as it has a special protective layer under the top layer of rust that prevents this
- Corten is resistant to frost and cracking that can happen to metals in colder climates
- The steel becomes harder and stronger when exposed to weather over time
- It creates a modern, industrial landscape design feature.
Common Corten Steel Concerns
- Rusty runoff: The material is going to rust and it can stain pavers or concrete, but it is simple to avoid these issues.
– Install Corten away from the edge of any surfaces that could stain and design garden drainage to carry runoff away from paving/concrete.
– Placing Corten items on pebbles or mulch will minimise the runoff impact.
– You can seal the Corten to stop the weather having any further impact once the rust has become more stable and has reached your ideal colour
- Growing edibles: the rusting effect will have some runoff into the soil but it is generally advised that it is safe to grow edibles in Cor-Ten planters without any additional treatments.
– For reassurance you can install liners or other barriers between the soil and raised beds
– Some designers have been reported to cover the interior of the planters with a food-grade waterproofing coat like that used in rainwater tanks
– Extra bonus, possums are unable to climb Corten garden beds and pots!
- Heat: Steel absorbs heat and may become quite hot in warmer months where you want to be careful when touching Corten steel features in your garden. This retained heat in larger garden beds may benefit vegetable crops as it keeps the soil warmer overnight
- Corten is not well-suited to hot, humid climates
While Cor-Ten(REDCOR) is more expensive upfront than timber, its durability means maintenance and replacement costs are minimal. These factors make it a very appealing material to incorporate in your outdoor designs. If you are looking to create a warm, rustic, and modern aesthetic, combinations of Corten steel and timber in landscaping work well together. The changing colours of the Corten as it corrodes becoming a beautiful copper, rusty colour with a rich patina makes for beautiful statement pieces.
If you want to incorporate Corten Steel (REDCOR®) into your outdoor spaces, contact Luke – 0434 355 066 and he can design you a warm and welcoming space. Follow us on Facebook to see projects where we feature Corten products into our projects.