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3 Steps to Weathering CorTen Steel Planters

By Metal Planter Boxes, Uncategorized

All this rain has got me thinking about the process of weathering CorTen steel planters. Rain is part of the acceleration! If you love every bit of the coppery bronze patina of weathered CorTen steel planters, but could do without the time of nature to transform your CorTen steel, you might want to experiment a bit.

Let me share my process that I have used in the past that has delivered great results!

Step 1:  Making the rusting concentrate.

You will need the following to begin making the rusting concentrate:

1 qt. glass canning jar with metal ring (you won’t be using the lid)
disposable measuring cup with ounce markings
plastic wrap or sandwich bag
24″ of copper wire
2 oz. Muriatic Acid
face mask
chemical protective gloves
thick clothing

Before beginning, it is important that you are in a well-ventilated room.  You will be working with Muriatic Acid, which emits strong fumes that can damage the lungs and can burn your skin without the proper protection.  Read and follow all safety instructions on the Muriatic Acid bottle, including but not limited to wearing chemical protective gloves, proper face mask, and thick clothing.  Muriatic Acid is highly caustic and will corrode anything, so be sure your working area is free form anything you do not want destroyed.

If you are still up for this journey, and made all safety preparations, begin coiling your wire very tight. Coiling it around a pen or marker will make the coil tight and small.  Set aside the pen or maker, if you used one, and add the coiled wire in the quart glass jar.  Carefully measure 2 oz of Muriatic Acid and pour into the quart jar with the copper wire.  Cover the quart jar tightly with plastic wrap or slide a sandwich bag over the top.  Take the metal ring (without the lid) and screw it on the quart glass jar over the plastic.  Poke many holes in the plastic for ventilation.  Without ventilation, the concentrate may explode from the gasses, so it is important to poke holes in the plastic.  Appropriately label the quart jar, indicating it contains toxic substances and keep it in a safe place and out of reach.  You can purchase safety labels at www.mysafetylabel.com to ensure your container is properly labeled.

The concentrate should sit for 1 week.  When you return to inspect, the concentrate should look like stout beer and the copper wire should be partially if not fully dissolved.

Step 2:  Making the rusting slurry.

For this step, will need:

20 oz. Water
1 oz. of the rusting concentrate
Disposable measuring cup with ounce markings
Small thick plastic container, like a container used for painting
A plastic spray bottle with no metal parts, that holds at least 24 oz.
face mask
chemical protective gloves
thick clothing

Again, with proper safety preparations completed, mix 1 oz. of the rusting concentrate with 20 oz. of water in the plastic container.  This will make a 1:20 oz. ratio of rusting slurry.  Carefully pour this slurry into the plastic spray bottle.  Your rusting slurring is now ready for application.

Step 3:  Applying the rusting slurry.

As before, continue with all safety preparations and proceed to do this step outside.  Also, take care in selecting an appropriate area to spray your planter, as you are still working with Muriatic Acid, and while diluted may drip onto the surface beneath.  A gravel or soil surface can work fine.  Set your sprayer to a fine mist, and begin to spray the surface of your planter.  Avoid heavily coating the planter causing excessive dripping.  Spray the planter thoroughly but apply only 1 coat at this stage.  The 1:20 ratio is a strong ratio and in no time, your planter will begin rusting.  I would not recommend a second coat at this dilution ratio.  If you want to have a slower go at it, to more slowly control the rusting, you can play with the ratio of concentrate to water, increasing the dilution anywhere up to 1/100.

The plastic bottle will begin to erode eventually given the corrosive properties of the rusting slurring.  Take all proper precautions to dispose of all the containers and liquids if not fully used.  If keeping any remaining corrosive concentrate or slurry, be sure to store safely (in appropriate non-corrosive containers) and label properly.

Here are photos demonstrating our success with this rusting slurry:

Day 1:  Application of rusting slurry


Day 6:  Planters achieving a very nice patina after only 6 days….


Day 45: Wonderful bronze hues achieved on the very same Bowery rectangle planter.   The patina process will continue to deepen the warm copper earthy tones.


Learn more about CorTen steel on Planterscape’s FAQ page at https://www.planterscape.com/pages/faq and enjoy this rainy summer for weathering your steel planters!



Mid-Mod Makeover with Planterscape Planter Boxes

By Metal Planter Boxes

The Mid Mod project is complete! It was a tall order to bring order to a landscape in chaos, preserving the natural landscape surrounding this mid-century modern style home.  Here are photos showing how it all came together!

Follow us on our journey with before and after photos of what we are calling our Mid-Mod Makeover project.

BEFORE:  This unique home has many features of the famous mid-century modern designers – floor-to-ceiling windows, vaulted beam ceilings, and fireplaces serving as a massive focal points. However, its surrounding landscape needed an ultimate renovation.


Two outstanding features of this landscape:

A massive stone outcropping flanking the home….







and a beautiful mature Japanese Maple, demanding its existence as a focal point.









Collaborating on this project with a local landscaper, Neave Group, a big goal was allowing the design to follow function.   This home has 2 front entrances, with an upper and lower door, establishing some confusion as to which door welcomed guests.  Therefore, the design prioritized highlighting the upper entrance while obscuring the lower entrance from the street view.  The lower entrance served as an access point from the carport and maintaining its functionality was a crucial element in the design.  In addition, the mature trees overwhelmed the property, shading the property disproportionately.  The property lacked small to mid-size foliage, creating a void of anything interesting to experience, either visually or spatially.  With design and vision, this landscape has been returned to minimalist grandeur, incorporating Planterscape’s CorTen steel planter boxes and other landscape elements.

Installation of planting beds, floating grass walkway

The project began with the removal of trees and overgrown unsightly shrubs, providing both sunlight and a proper site for a spot of lush grass.  A graceful transition was required to lead guests from the sidewalk to a small easy-to-care-for circular area of grass. Planterscape’s custom CorTen planting beds were nestled into place, forming a floating grass pathway leading the way to green sun-lit bliss.


planting beds, raised garden bed

Keeping maintenance to a minimum, these beds were fitted with artificial turf.  Mowing and trimming completely averted!

The floating grass pathways gracefully bridge the house to nature, inviting one to experience more than the hardscape.  Landscape lighting was added, extending an evening invitation to explore and meander the pathways.  Flood lighting was directed to the stone outcropping, elevating the the area spatially and complementing the visual interest of the natural elements of this area’s topography.

Planterscape’s grass planting beds, 7 in total, alternate between square and rectangle shapes, defining an expectation for something different.

Custom CorTen large square planter, modern landscape

This bespoke “L” shaped planter became the home for a green screen, allowing more privacy for the home’s lower glass-heavy entrance.  Three over-sized square planter boxes, just beyond, create structure and form.  The planters boxes serve a purpose driven home for fast-growing equisetum – a rigid, segmented, bamboo-like plant that is beautiful and modern.

AFTER:  Alas, the modern welcoming landscape!  Functional and beautiful….and low maintenance!  The artificial turf was carried through the bluestone walkways, keeping an easy-to-maintain walkway that demonstrates the softening of a hardscape without losing form.

Planterscape’s custom L-shaped CorTen planter serves as an inviting space for Sky Pencil Japanese Hollies.  Known for fast growth, these columnar-style hollies are perfectly suited for vertical green screens.  They are beautiful year-round and low maintenance!

Mid-mod transformed!  Planterscape’s CorTen planter boxes and elements provided the aesthetically pleasing additions to this landscape, transforming a dingy out-grown landscape to modern minimalism!

Check out Planterscape planter boxes at www.planterscape.com!