Bocce Ball courtContemporary Landscape, San Francisco
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Common Cor-Ten Concerns: Rusty runoff: Rusty runoff on concrete sidewalks or sides of buildings is a common sign that Cor-Ten steel is nearby. The material is going to rust, there is no avoiding that, but you can detail the design so that it doesn’t stain surrounding materials. Bring it away from the concrete or design drainage to carry runoff away from paving. The rust stains will be much less noticeable if the planters are installed on gravel or mulch. “Over time, the rust becomes more stable and is less likely to rub off,” Adams says. Growing edibles: It is safe to grow edibles in Cor-Ten planters without any additional treatments, although some designers will install liners or other barriers between the soil and raised bed. “We usually coat the interior of the tanks with a food-grade waterproofing coat similar to that used in rainwater tanks,” Beck says. Heat: You may want to be careful about touching your raised beds on a hot day, as steel gains heat more quickly than soil. The raised beds will slowly transfer heat to the soil, however, keeping it warmer overnight. For this reason, plants might even benefit from growing in Cor-Ten raised beds, Adams says, as long as they receive enough water and have enough soil volume. “A small planter may not allow enough soil volume to offset the heat gain from the Cor-Ten container,” he says.Climate: Cor-Ten can be used in a range of climates; you’ll see it everywhere from Seattle to Chicago. “Homeowners should keep in mind that marine environments will speed up the corrosion process,” Adams says, but it will still outlast wood. “Cor-Ten performs best when it is allowed to go through continuous wet-dry cycles. It’s when it is allowed to thoroughly dry out that its alloying metals form the best coating on its surface.” The air in coastal environments holds more moisture and keeps materials damp, preventing these cycles. Additionally, the salt in the air can cause pitting. “My personal feeling is that for things like planters, it’s fine to use it in marine environments. I would hesitate to use uncoated Cor-Ten for major architectural applications in marine environments,” Adams says.
Due to its long and lean dimensions, a flat side yard is a good place for games that don't interfere with your daily outdoor living. Setting games up near the garden allows different members of the family to interact or just be near one another while engaging in activities that interest them.
Sporty space. What better use for a slim strip of land than a European-inspired boccie ball court? Get those couch potatoes away from the big-screen TV and encourage a little friendly competition with this classic game. The long, narrow dimensions of this outdoor play court line up perfectly at the side garden's outer edge. Notice the clean lines and fine details — the constructed box that holds the boccie ball court is finished with the same weathered steel used in four very modern weathered-steel planter boxes.
Veggies plus play. Raised Cor-Ten beds are superstylish and play well with the steel-edged boccie court. Look for opportunities to integrate your veggie patch with other outdoor spaces to get the most use, value and joy from your garden.
Summer is also the season of juicy, ripe fruits and vegetables. If you have the space, add a potted lemon tree or two to your balcony. You can also do container gardens or window boxes with herbs or a few berry plants, or raised beds of vegetables. (We all know how good homegrown tomatoes are in summer.)
A garden (particularly a smaller garden) is a great excuse to let your imagination run wild, and to experiment with different looks. This carefully planned out space has a great little walkway, raised vegetable beds, and a bocce ball court. If you lay out how each and every bit of space in your garden will be used, you'll be surprised at how many of your must-have elements you can incorporate!