If you have a garden growing this summer, chances are you have more than vegetables or flowers in it. Many gardeners utilize metal not only as a part of its functionality, but also its decor. Metal can provide a long lasting structure year after year, or aesthetically pleasing ornamentation all year when you don’t have plants growing. Below we’ve highlighted some of the common uses of metal in the garden and some of the best ways to get the most out of your metal!
Fencing and Screens
One of the most common uses for metal in the garden is found in fencing and screens. Used as separators for distinguishing areas of the garden, it can also provide a breathable barrier for the plants to keep pests and wildlife from trespassing. Many screens are now decorated, so they are nicer to look at. It’s important to have air flow for the plants, especially in the hot summer months, instead of a solid wood fence or wall which can have a greenhouse effect if not replaced. Another good reason to use metal screens is that they will outlast their plastic counterparts, so you can get more use year after year.
Edging and Creating Barriers
Many garden edging strips come in aluminum or steel and are great dividers for each garden bed. Most of them are narrow enough to be an effective barrier without taking up a lot of space. The rolls are usually flexible and versatile and can be used around the perimeter or within the garden itself for barriers against intruding grasses or other spreading plants. Metal stakes can also be helpful for labeling certain plants or determining their placement.
Even though metal has numerous benefits in the garden, it is important to know how to mix, or how not to mix, certain metals together. Certain combinations of metals that touch, in the presence of water, can corrode much more quickly. This is because a slight current runs between them and water acts as a conductor, speeding up the process of corrosion. An example of this is using copper and zinc-coated steel together. It is important to remember to match your fastening screws or bolts to the main metal structure to avoid corrosive run off from occurring. So choose the proper fastenings for outside metal structures that get wet regularly or are exposed to condensation.
Art and Furnishings
Metal can serve both functional and aesthetic needs in the garden. Whether you have a birdbath, fountain, statue, or an interesting salvaged metal art sculpture, it will certainly add beauty and make your garden a more interesting and inviting place to be. Decorative metal containers are also a great way to hold a variety of plants within a small footprint. And best of all, you can easily rearrange them. If you like spending time in the garden, install garden furniture around a fire pit, or add a bench, trellis or swing so others can join you. These types of structures are made in all kinds of metal: brass, bronze, copper, or zinc are all metals with natural luster and colors that add texture and appeal.
Preserving, Repairing and Recycling
Of course, nothing lasts forever and some of your garden metals will deteriorate over time. You can attempt to preserve them if not too far gone, or recycle them into something else useful. The best way to preserve rusting metal is to use a rust converter, rust preventing wax or paint if available. If they are not salvageable, you can bring them to TT&E’s scrap yard to be recycled and we will pay you for it! Here are some common outdoor metal objects we accept:
- garden tools, shovels, rakes
- weed wackers
- outdoor furniture
- metal sheds
- watering cans
- metal pots and planters
- lawn mowers
- metal fire pits
- metal posts and stakes
TT&E Iron and Metal
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