Mental hardscaping

I have longed for a fence made of Corten steel for more than 10 years. I wanted this fence before I had a garden to put it in.

Corten steel fence in Tom Stuart-Smith’s garden

Corten is a brand name of a kind of weathering steel made by US Steel. Weathering steel is a steel alloy that forms a protective coating as it rusts. It is often used in public sculptures, but my favorite application is in edgy landscaping installations.

carrot evidenceI feel my need for a fence increasing as (unnecesary) development nearby pushes more and more wildlife–particularly deer–into our neighborhood. When we moved here ten years ago, I never saw deer; now, while they’re not quite commonplace, they’re certainly more visible than in the past. It doesn’t help that my back-door neighbor seems to be leaving carrots on her lawn, in what I can only assume is a misguided attempt to lure them. They are pretty, I admit (the deer, not the carrots).

So if I’m going to be saving my pennies for a fence, I may as well look into the cost of Corten and see if it’s as pie-in-the-sky as I suspect it may be. If it is, I’ll be looking into other creative options besides the standard offerings from the big-box home improvement store.

Tom Stuart-Smith is one of my favorite landscape architects, and his projects often employ Corten steel to provide a delicious tension between modernism and naturalism. For a visual feast, check out his portfolio at his website,


5 thoughts on “Mental hardscaping

  1. Thanks for the link to this architect–I was unfamiliar with his work but after looking at his site I can see the appeal of his designs. Deer are rampant in NC and we put in a fence finally to discourage them and it has helped. Wish we’d done it sooner. (Thanks to covenants in our neighborhood white vinyl was our only choice). Good luck with your plans.

  2. had to chuckle about your carrot neighbour (and the photographic proof). at least the carrots are thrown on her lawn and not yours! (I have a neighbour who enjoys throwing pizza on my lawn to feed the ferral pigeons!). and a big thank you to the link for the landscape architect. a visual feast it is. the autumnal grass scene is amazing.

    • Honestly, the things neighbors do! (I wonder what mine say about me?) 🙂

      I agree, Tom Stuart-Smith’s work is indeed a visual feast. Good fodder for those cold winter days of garden planning and dreaming.
      Thanks for coming by!

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