DeepStream Designs knows from projects with Landscape Architects across the country how important using the appropriate planting mix is when growing perennials, trees, and bushes.
Replanting these heavy items with complex root systems will be problematic. Getting it right the first time is well worth the effort.
Often clients use their “Landscaping Contractor” for this work. This may be a good solution if the contractor has extensive experience with container gardening and knows the value of selecting the correct planting mix. Otherwise it could be a mistake.
Why? Many Landscapers are not familiar with using a planting mix as they are usually planting in the earth. By using “dirt” or “soil” it may make the planter too heavy for the load on a roof or balcony.
Dirt, or an improper planter mix, will prevent drainage if it contain clay fines that can block drains, may hold too little or too much moisture. Additionally, dirt might not contain the correct PH and initial nutrients for the plants that you’re going to use.
There is no universally correct planting mix, as area microclimates must be taken into consideration. Selecting a planter mix requires an intimate local knowledge of the complex relationship between all the competing factors for beneficial plant growth and maintenance. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that you have a reliable source for your planting mix.
We have posted a blog on the long-term cost benefits of using a Landscape Architect for even small commercial projects but you still need to ensure they have container gardening experience. Another reliable source may be the nursery where you are sourcing the plants.
Whatever you do, don’t assume that your Landscaper or other source has the knowledge necessary to provide the planting mix. Before starting, ask about their experience with container gardening and what mix they propose to use. Vague or generic answers should be your clue that you need to investigate further before proceeding.
By all means, make certain that whoever does the planting follows DeepStream’s instructions regarding planter drainage using drain pads and filter material. Many “old timers” fall back on gravel and holes in the bottom which will soon clog.
Remember that most of DeepStream’s stock planter liners come with just one threaded drain hole. This is only the minimum, since some installations are inside and require the hole to be plugged or drain pipes attached. One hole means one point of failure with no backup.
DeepStream will drill additional drain holes required by your installation at no charge. Tell us where you want additional drains installed, and we will do it before shipping. You may also add them in the field with a hole saw. Deepstream can supply screw together flange fitting to add straight or 90 degree hose barbs to new holes you add.
DeepStream’s Planters are a 3-part engineered system modular assembly of replaceable parts which incorporates DeepStream’s trademark marine anodized aluminum legs, tropical hardwood or maintenance free recycled plastic lumber panels, and sturdy aircraft aluminum frame that supports a food safe, 100% recycled LLDPE waterproof liner.
Don’t confuse these planters with carpenter built planters that will fall apart in 3 to 5 years. Deep’Streams engineered system internal aluminum frame supporting the liner, with advanced drainage solutions, allows for a Lifetime Structural Warranty. The aluminum frame also allows you to add accessories like casters, screen wall, trellises, and more.
If you’re an owner or manager of a property where a wooden planter will be placed give serious consideration to planter construction techniques. Consider what it will mean in terms of cost and disruption to go back and replace or repair carpenter built planters, especially on rooftops and balconies, every 3 – 5 years.
With DeepStream’s wooden planter design all parts are replaceable making maintenance, refinishing, and repairs quick and easy.
Even stainless steel fasteners are galvanically isolated by using a proprietary dielectric paste so that they may be removed easily years later to replace parts or refinish the planter easily. the before and after pictures of the 7 year old planter shown in pictures above only had the original coat of factory waterproofing and no maintenance. The “fresh” look was achieved by sanding off just.014” of the 3/4″ thick planks exterior.
Why? Each plank of a wooden planter is cut from a different part of the tree ,or even different trees. This means each plank has its own differential rate of expansion, splitting, and warping when wetted. This makes dimensional stability using standard wood-on-wood construction in two dimensions impossible to maintain over time, and shipbuilding techniques and maintenance are far too costly for planter construction.
Wood on wood planter construction uses carpentry techniques that fasten wood to wood, and planters tear themselves apart with the expansive forces that wood exerts through repeated wet and dry cycles.
For centuries, wood dowels have been inserted into holes drilled into rock, then soaked with water. The expansion force of the wood is thus harnessed to crack blocks off marble and granite for construction, even though the blocks are hundreds of times thicker than the thin wooden dowel. This is the same action at work on a carpenter built wood planter splinting seams apart.
In addition, most wood planters lack adequate isolation from the soil and the deck or sidewalk, which promotes fresh water rot, water entering vertical planks creates cracks as you see above and below.
DeepStream uses proprietary marine anodized legs and stainless steel fasteners to clamp the wood and direct the expansionary forces up the channel so that the wood can expand and contract at different rates without affecting the planter’s structural integrity.
Unless directed to do so by a customer, DeepStream never uses paint or powder coating, which will fail in 3-5 years. If you order environmentally friendly maintenance free recycled plastic lumber they may be cleaned with a pressure washer.
Virtually blemish free 7 year old proprietary marine anodized aluminum leg after simply wiping down with mineral spirits
The commercial grade rigid plastic liners, mounted on an independent aluminum frame, contain the soil and prevent contact between the soil and the wood, preventing rot.
The waterproof planter liner with advanced drainage is an important feature of DeepStream’s commercial planter system. Container grown bushes, small trees, and perennials require repotting from time to time and DeepStream’s liners tapered shape allow for easy replanting and conditioning in the spring.
There are several issues to consider when choosing a garden planter. Start with aesthetics, how it functions, and the cost value relationship.
In some difficult situations such as high winds where stability is paramount, or south and west facing locations with intense sun where there needs to be a air gap between the planter box and the liner to keep the root ball from overheating, you will have less options when choosing a garden planter.
You also need to determine the types of plants you want and what their soil, drainage and watering requirements are. Local Landscape Architects, landscape maintenance companies, or your local nurseries can give you good advice.
When choosing a garden planter remember that it will affect your choice of plants which is determined by soil volume as well as sun and watering requirements All these consideration directly influence the planter liner depth and width so that your plants grow well as they mature and will not require a lot of extra maintenance.
If you’re thinking of planters that require a waterproof inner liner, pick a planter with a stock molded liner size first, otherwise you may find yourself limited to more expensive custom-welded liners. While all wood planters require a seperate waterproof liner not all wood planters are alike.
Wood planters built with carpenter techniques will fall apart in 3-5 years while DeepStream’s 3-component wooden planter systems have a Lifetime Structural Warranty. Longevity is provided by a hidden structural aluminum frame mounted to proprietary trademark anodized aluminum legs, no paint or powder coating to fail, which are engineered to contain the woods countless wet and dry cycles over decades. The systems has a separate waterproof liner with advanced drainage to prevent contact between the wood and planting medium while also providing an air gap to prevent solar gain from overheating the root ball, the gap can also be used to hides drip irrigation lines and electrical conduit for lights.
Follow this link to review the comparative attributes of the various planter types to consider when choosing a garden planter, including wood, fiberglass, concrete, metal, ceramic and plastic: https://planterblog.com
Functional considerations for choosing a garden planter and plants, to name but a few, include:
What are the dimensions of the space you have for planter placement?
Do you need long planter runs or individual planters?
Will the planters be placed on the ground, or on a building level that has weight restrictions?
Will they be placed on a hard or soft surface?
Will they be in a sheltered or windy location? Stability is a function of form.
Will you be planting annuals or perennials? This will affect your choice of planting medium.
What is the planting volume (liner size) required for the plants to thrive?
Will the planters be located where they are easy to install and maintain, or will you be moving everything through lobbies and elevators where permission will be required and other residents inconvenienced by your installation and repeat installations should your planters need to be replaced in a few years?
For assistance in choosing a garden planter, or answering these and any other questions you might have, feel free to call Sheila at DeepStream, 305 857 0466 and we will walk you through our 32 point check list designed to save you time and money or go to www.DeepStreamDesign.com
Which ever planter you decide to go with take these considerations into account as they will greatly affect the success of your garden and gardening experience. More detailed information on the key aspect of successful container landscaping can be found on these additional subject pages:
Fiberglass Planters offer a variety of designs and are a cost-effective medium-term solution available in a large variety of shapes, sizes, and colors.
If you need a rugged planter to which you can attach accessories, then DeepStream’s own wood and recycled plastic lumber planters, created using the principles of sustainable design, may be a better solution than fiberglass planters.
More durable than other planters, but more limited in form, DeepStream’s commercial wood and aluminum planters deliver excellent value for money. With a Lifetime Structural Warranty, they reduce the overall effort and time that goes into bringing vibrant gardens to barren urban spaces in need of their beneficial cooling and air quality enhancing properties.
However, if you need more options in terms of form and style, three of the best alternatives to wooden garden planters are Fiberglass-reinforced Plastic (FRP), Glass-fiber-reinforced Concrete (GFRC), and Aluminum. It is important to understand that products manufactured with these materials run the scale from virtually worthless to the quality that Landscape Architects specify for signature projects.
There are a lot of considerations that go into choosing the right planter for a particular location including: form, root ball heating, and drainage, as well as the inherent limitations of materials and construction methods. You will find a detailed discussion of the issues with a lot of supporting pictures in my earlier blog entry, Planter Selection, so I’ll not repeat them here.
Fiberglass is an excellent lightweight material with which to create interesting modern planter forms and surfaces such as an outer gelcoat infused with metal, which oxidizes over time, a favorite of mine for its understated elegance. You will find a myriad of forms and sizes available on the DeepStream website, and while there are four metal finishes, my favorites are the copper and bronze.
Tournesol planters distributed by DeepStream are made with expensive polyester-based fiberglass strands as used in yacht construction, but it is chopped and sprayed, not laid up in biaxial mats, where the hull has constant exposure to water. This Fiberglass-reinforced Plastic (FRP) is sprayed into molds that have been prepared with gel-coat.
FRP is a lightweight, strong material made up of layers of polyester resin alternated with glass strand. The strength and durability of fiberglass depend upon the number of layers of resin and glass. To ensure the longevity of the planters, they are waterproofed with an additional layer of black gelcoat resin inside.
The large rectangular commercial-grade movable Fiberglass Planters in the photos below were supplied by DeepStream to the restaurant operator at New York’s Rockefeller Center. The planters rest on caster bases so that they may be rearranged to meet the operator‘s changing needs. At summer’s end, they are simply rolled away to storage to reopen the famous ice skating rink during the winter season.
Fiberglass planters are lightweight and strong for their weight and thickness, but they are rigid and brittle. While the fiberglass planters we sell have a 3-year warranty, a 1-year warranty is more common.
Although the planters shown in the pictures below ARE NOT the fiberglass planters we sell, you need to be aware that all fiberglass planters are brittle, unlike wood or aluminum. Looking closely, you can see the vertical cracks that are developing over the edge in the center of this planter’s stiffening flange as the roots push out. Once the flange goes it leads to a catastrophic splitting failure, as the flange is responsible for structural strength.
When roots push out against the side walls, first the flange cracks, then the long side panels spit vertically. While it is possible to prevent this in construction, it is costly. Currently most of these “me too” planter manufacturers are competing on price, with Indian and Chinese imports skimping on materials.
Most fiberglass planters are light at the expense of strength and may not be durable enough for certain location. This is why even the best manufacturers provide just a 3-year warranty.
In addition, fiberglass planters are almost all single-walled and prone to solar gain. White or light-colored finishes would be better in sunny locations. They do not have drainage control, nor do they hide drip irrigation lines.
The large expensive planters shown below are installed in Miami’s downtown area and, while shaded by buildings, they are not really rugged enough for the streetscapes in which they are installed, nor do they have much surface area. Believe it or not, these planters are just 1/8″ thick painted skins of chopped fiberglass sprayed into a mold.