The versatility of steel in a contemporary garden
Few materials do more for a slick, contemporary feel in modern landscape design than steel and concrete. Because they have the same thermal expansion rate, steel is a required component for concrete reinforcement. Now, while this is a good use of the material’s properties as such, it does nothing for the visual thrill of using steel on its own. When allowed to shine, steel can take on a leading role in organizing space, create structural rhythm, define spatial flow, provide intriguing screening, and frame garden views. Its impressive tensile strength also allows it to provide a great, economical and pragmatic substitute to more traditional ways of terracing. It has fabulous malleability, and nearly endless potential applications in contemporary garden design. It can be made into fire pits, arbors, decorative screens – you name it!
Regular A36, (also referred to as “mild steel” or “carbon steel”) is usually sufficient for most contemporary garden applications. In certain instances, it might be advisable to use Cor-Ten (a self-weathering steel alloy), but most often not. You can read more about the differences here. In monetary terms, Cor-Ten is about twice as expensive as mild steel.
Here are a few examples of the way the designers at Drake’s have used steel in the past: