cor-ten steel garden beds

March 6, 2014

gardengardengardengardengardengardengardenWell, the wood garden beds were taken apart to make room for some heavy duty corten steel beds. We’re having to do some switching around because some of our trees weren’t doing too good in the soil (gardening is all about live and learn I guess!), so we are raising them up to go into beds. We’ve had a specialist from Dave Wilson’s Nursery come out and he said that would be the best solution to get them thriving again. Some were doing good, but some were doing bad.

After much debate, and maybe disagreements, we decided to go with Cor-ten steel beds. Since we’re putting in trees in and wanted a container that will last a long, long, long time, this is what we opted for. After we took apart the wooden beds, we could already see a lot of deterioration on parts of the wood, so we knew going this route would be the best option for what we’re planning. We like the industrial metal look (as can be seen be the amount of metal furniture we have in our home and our use of steel I-beams in our backyard), and the rust that forms on Cor-ten steel serves as a protective coating around the core which, ironically, dramatically slows the rate of future corrosion. The other name of this type of steel is called weathering steel.

I wish we can say we DIY-ed this ourselves, but nope, we didn’t. Our neighbors who could clearly peep into our backyard from their second floor probably think we’re crazy for the different things we put in our yard. It looks just like big giant metal boxes now, but it will look so cool once we get everything in! At least I think (and hope) it will. I’ve pinned many corten steel garden beds in my garden board and I always love the look of it, so I’m sure I will love the look of it in our yard too.

You have to have a lot of patience when dealing with creating a garden because it’s not like all these plants and things happen instantaneously (though it would be nice if with a snap of my fingers to suddenly have what I envision in my head). There is so much planning, investing, and learning (and mistakes!) involved. I’ll continue to share updates on the garden and how the Cor-ten steel beds work for us!

26 comments on “cor-ten steel garden beds”

  • hilary says:

    Yay for learning experiences! Im growing tomatoes from seed for the first time, in a little wobbly greenhouse in my parents driveway in la county and am learning so much! Hopefully next summer we will be in our own place with a yard! Haha

  • Tera says:

    At least you’re keeping at it! I hope to one day have a garden of my own, so I love seeing the process of getting one going.

    The steel beds already look amazing in place and I can’t wait to see everything growing in them before long!

  • nikki says:

    this is going to look awesome!! can’t wait to see the finished product!


  • Frédérique says:

    Love your gardening updates! I am very impressed by the time and thought you dedicate to your gardening projects. I also find your persistence completely admirable! For the millionth time: totally inspriring!

  • LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! So inspired.

  • jo says:

    LOVE the steel beds. they are going to look amazing ( they already do!).
    i really love your garden posts.

  • Virginia says:

    Perfect timing…I have been wondering about the safety of using metal in my raised beds because of rust. Specifically, in regards to using it under my beds. Some moles found my beds last year and cut our garden short. I was thinking of putting some sort of fencing under the beds but was not sure about the metal. Do you have any resources from your research that you could share?


  • Halima says:

    That steel will look gorgeous both new and when it gets older. I love that rough feeling you get from it, it becomes a very beautiful contrast to the lush soft green-ness from the plants. I love reading your posts about your garden btw! I don’t have a garden myself, but I am blessed with a pretty big balcony, with 2/3 of it under roof with glass doors, so I can do quite a lot of gardening too. But here in sweden it’s still fairly cold, so no veggies are growing yet, except the seedlings indoors.

  • jenny says:

    hey 🙂 you lucky girl! i’ve been dreaming of corten steel planters for a while now! but i have a feeling they’re be out of our price range… though i really have no idea how much it costs…

    you might like some of my ‘garden’ pins as well:

    and this post i’ve included some pictures of a beautiful front yard in our neighbourhood (corten steel planters with black-eyed-susans):

  • Jill says:

    Love your blog! I think we may live in the same area and I was wondering if you would be willing to share the name of the fabricator for the Corten steel planters?

    • Rubyellen says:

      The fabricator is in San Diego. Email me and can share it with you!

      • Brad says:

        Your planters look beautiful. I am looking to do a similar planter and live in San Diego. Wondering if you could provide me the fabricator and phone. They did a great job.


      • Steve says:

        Love the look of those Corten steel planters. I live in SD and was hoping you could share the fabricator’s infor…
        Thank you!

  • I’m a landscape architect, and I came across your post while browsing for pictures of Cor-Ten planters to share with a client. I’m so happy to have stumbled upon your blog! I’m a Christian, too, and it’s lovely to poke around Cakies and learn a little more about your story. All the best with your unfolding garden projects xx

  • Jaime says:

    You could find a wide variety of quality fruit trees at

  • Jaime says:

    You could find a wide variety of quality fruit trees at

  • liam says:


    The planters look great. Congrats.

    Was wondering what thickness steel was used?

    Did you have the sheet bent at the top edges or are the returns welded on separately?

    Thanks for your help,


    • Rubyellen says:

      Yes, the sheet is bent to create a sort of lip on top. The corners are welded together.

  • Ben says:


    Just to follow up on Liam, could you tell me what thickness cortex was used and how high where your beds made?

    Any lessons learnt? Would you do anything differently?

    Love your blogs!


  • Werner says:

    Would you be so kind as to provide me with the name of the Corten steel fabricator who built your planters. They look awesome.
    Thank you,


  • Beth says:

    Hi I saw your story about your steel garden beds while looking for some resource to find some Corten steel. Actually I’m wanting it for a swirled Sdge along my garden path. I would really appreciate it if you could tell me the fabricator. I love your choice for the steel beds for sure. Happy gardening.

    Beth Italia

  • Birgitta Sween says:

    How thick is the steel? Do the side bends when it’s filled with soil?

  • Ross says:

    Hi! These look amazing! I hope you don’t mind us copying but we’re wanting to do something similar for our yard. I’m a furniture maker who’s pretty decent at welding. I was hoping to ask a question about the corners… are they welded from the inside? Or tack welded? Or welded and ground down on the out side corner?

    What gauge steel are you using? I was thinking 1/8-1/4″… any pros or cons? Wished you went thinner or thicker?

    I was going to add some reinforcements to our beds because of the size… 4’X 12′ X2′ so they don’t bow out.

    How do they look now?

    Thank you for any insight.

    Keep up the good work.

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