The Enduring Appeal of Corten Steel


Corten Steel Screening

Anybody with an interest in garden design will not have escaped the liberal usage of Corten Steel in recent years.

But why all this attraction to what is basically rusty metal, and how can you incorporate the look into your outdoor living space?

The answer to this question is a simple one…it looks amazing! Corten will lend any garden a contemporary, rustic look that will compliment most planting schemes. Those rich, earthy tones also give a strong architectural look, which have become a firm favourite amongst landscape designers, sculptors and architects.

Best of all, Corten will change colour tone, both over time and in different lighting conditions. Corten is also known as weathering steel, not only because it resists the weather, but also because appearance improves with exposure to the elements.

So let’s look at a brief history of this incredible material, before exploring how we can incorporate the look into our gardens.

Glowing Corten Steel

What is Corten Steel?

I’ll spare you the science, but you should know that Corten is a steel alloy which was developed to eliminate the need for painting. The rust-like layer that will form on the surface of the steel gives protection against the elements. With further exposure, this layer will regenerate and protect the material for up to 600 years! This is also how dynamic Corten achieves that changing, weathered look.Angel of The North

Corten has been used for over 50 years in a variety of building and engineering projects, but really caught the public’s imagination when adopted by sculptors and artists.

One of the most famous examples of the use of Corten by sculptors (certainly here in the UK) is Antony Gormley’s ‘The Angel of The North’. This huge sculpture is seen by 90,000 drivers a day!

So how can we use Corten in our gardens?

  1. Corten Steel for Landscaping

In terms of landscaping, Corten can be used for screening, steps, fencing, water-walls…there really are too many applications to mention! Highly verstile, Corten can be cut into any shape or size. You can also have patterns cut into the steel, giving a nice arty feel. Due to its minimal thickness, Corten would make a great alternative to a built brick wall that might otherwise look out of place, encroach or be otherwise difficult to access.

The use of Corten for landscaping is a task best suited to the professionals, who will consider issues such as load bearing and drainage.

Corten Steel Pergola

  1. Corten Steel for Garden Décor

A far more modest way to bring the Corten look to your outdoor living space. Consider Corten containers, fire pits, raised beds or garden art. But by no means is this list exclusive, as an increasing amount of Corten items come on to the market.

The real bonus with such pieces is that, due to the weathering process, each piece will change appearance over time. So not only do you have something that is durable and fabulous, but also totally unique to you!

Corten Steel is one trend that isn’t going to leave us anytime soon. So be bold, make a statement and add some contemporary style to your outdoor living space.

Corten Steel Wall Planters

  1. Lorna said:

    Great look for large gardens but would quite like to have one or two plant containers. Let me know when you have a supply source.

  2. Nick said:

    Hi Lorn, there are plenty of corten steel containers on the market. Happy shopping!

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