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.
Issues with Fiberglass Planters
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.