Rooftop planters

Spring is here. The sun is out, blossoms are on the trees, and we are all starting to spend a little more time outside. Whether that is working in your garden, entertaining guests, or catching the last bit of daylight while unwinding after a long day at work, chances are you’re outside enjoying the season. Which brings us to the topic of today’s blog post: Utilizing a small outdoor space using functional landscape elements.  

We are working on a project in Seattle’s Laurelhurst area.  The clients’ beautiful, newly built home, had a small yard that didn’t allow for much of a gardening space.  Instead, this area will be used for gathering and entertaining, which is important for them, but why not have both?

With the popularity of urban gardening and farming, what better way to get fresh veggies on your plate than to grow your own on your rooftop garden?  Their garage rooftop was engineered to accommodate the load of two large planters to be used as a garden space. We fabricated two, ten foot by four feet aluminum planters with a false bottom to keep things light weight and safe for the rooftop.

Aluminum planters off to get coated.

Aluminum planters off to get coated.

To make the install safer and easier, they were hoisted onto the roof and set on sleepers and shims. Weighing 400 lbs. a piece, they can accommodate up to 18” depth of planting soil.

We needed the help of a crane to hoist these massive planters on to the rooftop deck.

We needed the help of a crane to hoist these massive planters on to the rooftop deck.

Once they were placed, our sister company, CEM Design, installed irrigation through the bottom of each planter prior to the Cumaru wood deck pedestal paving. The planters were then filled with a light weight soil once again ensuring to keep things safe and as “light-footed” as possible. Once our work was done the client was able to enjoy their space and plant fresh veggies while still enjoying the atmosphere of the city.

The finished product.

The finished product.

Rooftop veggie garden planters with Cumaru pavers.

Rooftop veggie garden planters with Cumaru pavers.

 

With this project came a learning experience that helped us to develop heavy duty leveling feet. The different slopes of a roof, or even the ground for that matter, can create headaches while trying to level large planters. Using the knowledge gained on this project, we began developing ways to incorporate leveling feet that eliminate the need for shims on structure situations, like commercial/ mixed-use building rooftops that require precise weight distribution. We know that no two jobs, surfaces, and spaces are the same, so this feature now comes standard on all of our large custom planters as well as a scaled down version (optional) on all of our catalog planters.

Large street planters with part of the leveling feet attached. 

Large street planters with part of the leveling feet attached. 

We are in the middle of installing large, modular, custom steel planters for a Seattle streetscape that utilize the adjustable feet.  Not only do they help create a more polished and level product, they significantly sped up the installation time and reduced handling.

Installing streetscape planters with adjustable leveling feet.

Installing streetscape planters with adjustable leveling feet.

Bottom line:  the weather is warming up and now is the time to utilize our outdoor spaces whether they are big or small. Rooftop gardening smack dab in the city or cozying up next to a fire table with guests, we all deserve a little place to get some vitamin D and fresh air.  We can help every client achieve their own, special outdoor space that with our site furnishing, landscape elements, and creative solutions.

Getting to know us.

 

If you have spent any time looking at the rest of our site or any of our social media platforms, I am sure you have gathered that we design and fabricate landscape elements, but I wanted to take a moment to share with you who we really are as a company and what we are trying to accomplish, so let’s dive a little deeper past the steel exterior.

Since 2002, we have been developing and maintaining landscapes in the greater Seattle area as our sister company CEM Design, Inc. and have had the pleasure of working closely with an array of talented designers, contractors, and clients. While working in the landscape industry we found a lack of products that were high quality, beautiful, and functional. In 2008 a project in Bellevue called for steel edging around a unique stone water feature. We couldn’t find a product that we would want to put our name on or a fabrication company that wanted to work on the project, so we decided to form and fabricate the steel edging ourselves.

Ourfirst steel edging. 2002

Ourfirst steel edging. 2002

After years of successful custom edging fabrication, we began plans to create our own landscape elements and modular landscape edging.  In 2016, an opportunity presented itself as we were working with a designer to create an outdoor living space with a custom gas burning fire table. After searching for something that would complement the space and the quality landscape architecture, and failing to find the right fit, we once again decided to take matters into our own hands, which resulted in a clean and functional finished product that the project team could be proud of.

Custom steel fire table. 2016

Custom steel fire table. 2016

We have since opened Architerra Designs, where our goal is to integrate unique designs and simple solutions for functional, architectural, and aesthetically pleasing landscape elements. The heart of our company is in custom projects and site features, but we have also developed lines of craftsman steel and aluminum planters, furniture, fire features, modular edging, and retaining walls.  We grew our small side project of fabricating steel edging into the licensed general contractor and furniture manufacturer that is now Morgan Industries, Inc. dba Architerra Designs

I’ll wrap this up for today but please follow along, meet our staff, check out what’s new and exciting in our shop and on jobsites, and get to know us a little better.