Tough Love: 9 Corten Steel Outdoor Pieces

March 16, 2014 by

Steel Vertical Garden

Custom wall by Blue Green Landscape

Bring your love of industry-chic to any outdoor space with the addition of Corten Steel. It looks rough and rugged and… totally fabulous. As time goes on, the weathering only adds character, making each piece unique.

Yes, the steel looks like it’s rusting, but that’s on purpose. Corten Steel was developed to eliminate the need for painting, and engineered to form a stable rust-like appearance (which is a protective layer) if exposed to the weather for several years. The layer protecting the surface develops and regenerates continuously when subjected to the influence of the weather.

In other words, what looks like rust is actually the protector of the steel.

But enough about the technicalities. I’ve come across some wonderful examples of the beauty and potential of Corten Steel for outdoor furniture and fireplaces.

1. Industrial Strength Vertical Garden
Pictured above is a monster of a vertical succulent garden structure. The contrast of the delicate, plump succulents to the heavy duty Corten Steel is striking and gorgeous.

2. Tiny and Tough: Wood Storage and Fireplace Combo
First of all, is that furniture made from rocks inside of wire? Stone, wood, wire and steel.. extremely cool.

Zeno-Retta-Massive-floriade-fireplaceWooden storage, Zeno Garden divider 100 mm, by Zeno

3. The Beautiful Sinking Steel Canoe
This Corten Steel structure designed to store wood is truly a work of art. In that way, it transforms your garden into a sculpture garden, while keeping your wood supply tidy. Though shaped like a canoe, I’m certain on water it would sink.

Zeno-Canoa-outdoor-fireplaceWooden storage, Canoa houtopslag, by Zeno

4. Monstrous Fire Pillars
Besides being sleek and creatively shaped, I love how these fireplace structures look almost post-apocalyptic. (Come to think of it, they also resemble Arcade games!)

bbq_corten_fireplace_teide-fire-classDesigned by FlameClass

5. Floating Accordion Garden Steps
Amazing that these steps hold a human being without buckling. I guess that speaks to the strength of industrial steel. Regardless, this small Corten Steel staircase is almost surreal.

corten-steel-stepsKensington residence by Studio Seilern Architects

6. Gather the Troops, it’s Time for a Fire
At first glance, I thought this was a table. Turns out it’s a shallow Corten Steel fire pit. Because the pit is so shallow, the fire looks taller and the magical quality of the flame is enhanced.

skagerak-Ignis-Feuerstelle-1Ignis Firebowl, by Skagerak

7. Like a Moth to the Flame
Shaped differently than most fire pits, this Corten Steel structure burns just as bright. It almost looks like a fire pit for one, to enhance an evening alone enjoying a starry night.

fuji-keilbachFuji by Keilbach

8. Edgy Edging
Adding the texture of Corten Steel to a garden with edging really brings the space together. Plus, as the steel morphs with the elements, the plants behind it will compliment the subtle greens that develop on the surface from weathering.

Kantopsluiting-CorTenstaal-1Planter Retaining Wall System by Planterworx

9. The Steel, The Steel, The Steel is on Fire
This squat, disc-like Corten Steel fire pit is a great addition to a minimalist outdoor area. There’s no bells and whistles on this thing– and that’s what makes it so attractive. It can be so difficult to just keep things simple, even though that’s often how they look the best.

Qrater-freiQrater, designed by Dirk Wynants






  1. Best of 2014: Urban Gardens Top 10 Favorite Posts Pingback said:

    […] 10. Tough Love: 9 Corten Steel Outdoor Pieces […]

    — December 30, 2014 @ 01:41

  2. Plants Climb Up a Tree Shaped Vertical Garden Pingback said:

    […] Climbing up an otherwise unremarkable exterior façade in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, a tree-shaped vertical garden makes maximum use of everyday, available materials like naturally weathered steel. […]

    — May 27, 2016 @ 23:18

  3. Jamie barr said:

    I am looking for 7mtrs x 30cm in hieght of corten flexible rustic look,with fixings,ie spikes.could you possibly give me a quote for this.

    — April 6, 2020 @ 10:40

  4. Plants Climb Up a Tree Shaped Vertical Garden Pingback said:

    […] Climbing up an otherwise unremarkable exterior façade in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, a tree-shaped vertical garden makes maximum use of every day, available materials like naturally weathered steel. […]

    — July 5, 2022 @ 08:29

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