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What is corten steel?

The charm and durability of a weathering alloy

Known for its distinctive weathering properties, corten steel, alternatively referred to as Cor-TEN for precision, embodies a fusion of durability and aesthetic appeal, making it a preferred material in a wide range of architectural and design applications.

Designed to eliminate the need for painting, this unique alloy undergoes a remarkable transformation when exposed to the elements, developing a stable, rust-like appearance that not only acts as a protective barrier against further corrosion, but also contributes to its rugged, industrial charm. The fascinating process of corten's weathering begins with the addition of specific alloying elements such as copper, chromium and nickel, which enhance its ability to resist corrosion.


Initially resembling ordinary black steel, corten steel undergoes a colour change to a rich red rust when exposed to the elements, a process that can be accelerated by washing and salt water treatment for those who wish to witness the transformation.

At byJEMA, our admiration for corten steel's durability and minimal maintenance requirements stems from its ability to withstand the harsh Scandinavian climate for decades, making it an ideal choice for our product range.


Outdoor furniture that can withstand the elements in any climate

Whether it's for the creation of durable raised beds, planters or outdoor furniture, corten steel stands out not only for its aesthetic appeal, but also for its practical benefits. These include robust durability, low maintenance and the ability to support the weight of soil and plants due to its strengthened composition of alloying elements. In addition, its rapid surface rusting, which is slower than that of softer steels, means that our corten steel products are delivered with a smooth black appearance that gradually develops a vibrant rust layer over time. This layer not only adds to the visual appeal but also acts as a protective coating, ensuring that your outdoor features remain maintenance free.

The transformation of corten steel from a functional material to a celebrated element of modern design reflects a wider shift in how we perceive and incorporate natural processes and materials into our spaces. Its ability to reflect the warm tones of wood, while offering superior durability and maintenance-free longevity, underlines why corten steel is the material of the moment. At byJEMA, we are passionate about bringing this trend to your outdoor spaces, offering products that not only stand the test of time, but also evolve with it, providing a dynamic and enduring addition to any environment.

raised beds

Personal precautions when planting vegetables - no regulatory restrictions

When incorporating corten steel into your garden design, especially if you're planning to grow edible plants, it's reassuring to know that there have been no formal investigations or official advisories against its use. The unique layer of rust that forms on corten steel, while capable of interacting with the soil, has not been found to be harmful to plants. This understanding allows gardeners and designers to make personal decisions about the use of corten steel based on their preferences and specific gardening needs.

Should you decide to take additional measures for peace of mind, lining the inside of corten steel planters with a geotextile is a practical option. This barrier can prevent direct contact between the soil and the steel, eliminating any lingering concerns about the potential transfer of substances from the rusted surface. Incorporating a drainage layer at the base of your planters is another sensible step, further minimising the risk of soil contamination and promoting the health of your plants. Monitoring soil conditions, such as pH and nutrient levels, remains good gardening practice to ensure your edibles thrive.

Ultimately, the decision to line corten steel planters or not is yours to make. With no negative regulatory guidance on planting in corten steel, you're free to weigh the aesthetic appeal and practical benefits of corten steel against any personal preferences for additional protection. This flexibility allows each gardener to tailor their use of corten steel to best suit the design of their garden and their comfort level with the material.