This season the preferred external barrier system seems to be planters. In recent weeks we have supplied many planters to many new clients.
But there are a few thing you need to look out for before you buy a planter system.
- Ensure the wood is treated for external use. In many instances untreated soft wood is supplied. This does not even last a season, so treat it yourself or specify a treatment prior to buying the planters. Ronseal or Cuprinol seem to give us the widest ranges and provide the best resistance.
2. Ensure the planters are lined. Tarpaulin is good for this, although some drainage holes will need to be applied. A good product to line the planters is a ground cover membrane. Inexpensive and usually readily available. the membrane allow the water to drain and will not gather. A false bottom should be applied to the planters if you do not want the planters to weight too much. Remember wet soil can weigh up to three times dry soil.
3. Ensure you’ve thought about mobility. It’s great to have your planters and screens out each day, but think about your staff having to carry them out each morning and packing away each evening. Do your planters have carry handles? Have you thought about casters?
Ok, here’s something that is going to be controversial. Soft wood is fine for planters. However, it will need to be treated fully before it is turned into a planter. Wood behaviour is similar to metal corrosion. If you use untreated mild steel, it will rust. If you treat 99% of the same mild steel, 1% will rust and spread. Eventually all of the mild steel will exhibit an element of corrosion. Wood is the same. If you are going to treat it, treat it fully. We have seen many planters beautifully finished from the outside and then fall apart after just two or three months of use because the supplier only treated the outside.
5. Think about the parts you use.
Castors. The casters we use are for industrial use. They are manufactured and galvanised or supplied in stainless steel for external use. Ensure the casters that you use are designed to carry twice the weight of the fully laden planters. Do not use plastic casters as they will break and crack when exposed to prologued external use.
Handles. If you do fit handles, Ensure they are wide enough to hold comfortably. Too often handles are used which a small child would find difficult to grip. This will make it harder for staff to set up and take down each day.
If you need to have your logo on the planter, there are several way to do this.
a) Burnt logo.
Very popular, but you will be to invest in a steel template to do this. Burning a brand on to a planter will mean that you should think about health and safety and take your time.
b) Spray / Paint Stencil
Again you will need a stencil, although this one can be vinyl as opposed to the burnt logo which requires a steel one. Use either a roller or spray for the best results. Again, slowly and only give it a thin coat on each pass.
c) Attached Signage. A lower cost solution. Printed in foamex and attached to the side of the planters.
If you decide to have banners, be careful not to over brand the area. Our general rule is either a logo on the planters, or a logo on the banners. Not both.
All wood products, especially those for use outside will require maintenance. Every 2-3 years you will need to repaint/stain them. Wood moves in variation of climate. If the wood has not been fully treated, you’ll see gaps and bowing after a while. Address these immediately.
There are many companies available to professionally plant for you. However, if you have a local horticultural university or college, call them. They will normally be happy to do this for you if you are happy to cover costs.
10. Build it yourself.
You can always have a crack at building the planter yourself. Just make sure that the previous 9 steps are taken into account!