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,