07 Dec The Patina Timeline: Weathering Steel in the Garden
In case you haven’t heard, landscape designers and architects love the look of weathering steel in both commercial and residential outdoor spaces. Why? Because the patina layer of weathering steel not only protects the steel from future corrosion but also brings an aesthetically-appealing texture and color to outdoor spaces.
How the Patina Develops
Like standard steel, weathering steel is blueish-silver in its original state, but it quickly and naturally develops a patina or rust layer that continues to bond and deepen over time from its original blueish-silver to the sought-after rusty, orange-brown color. This “earthy” color has proven to blend well in gardens, backyards, parks and other outdoor spaces.
The rate at which the patina forms depends on the environment the steel is exposed to, such as temperature changes, humidity and proximity to bodies of water. In our experience, the patina forms quicker when the steel is exposed to multiple wet-dry environmental cycles. We have also found that cold-rolled materials (18 GA sheets or thinner) form a patina quicker than hot-rolled materials (16 GA sheets or thicker). The patina is ever-changing, becoming a deeper tone and texture over time blending perfectly with the surrounding landscape.
Weathering Steel in the Garden
Atlanta Fine Gardens, a landscape company located in Atlanta, Georgia, recently used weathering steel to build a raised planter bed, stairs and railings in its customer’s backyard. They used a combination of ¼-inch ASTM A588 plates, ⅛-inch ASTM A606-4 sheets, and ASTM A588 angles. Check out the photo below from when the project was completed in August of 2020.
As you can see, the weathering steel was a bluish silver color when it was installed. In November of 2020, Atlanta Fine Gardens sent us an updated photo of the space showing how quickly the patina developed.
Are you interested in using weathering steel in your next landscape project? Central Steel Service specializes in the distribution of specialty weathering steel products ideal for garden design, landscaping and other outdoor applications. Contact us to request a quote or learn more!