Commercial Landscape Planters

Project Spotlight: Club Monaco

In an earlier blogpost, we introduced a streetscape project for Club Monaco that we were working on in Seattle, WA. We wanted to revisit the finished project a few years after the installation and discuss the several types of planters that were used on the project. 


The project was designed by Board and Vellum as part of the store design including a lush patio and landscape design.

Here is a link to their portfolio:

We had the opportunity to provide custom steel planters for the project. The planters were various sizes and heights, and some with custom sloped bases to match the paving.  They were built from 1/4” thick steel and powder coated.  We also design and manufacture commercial landscape planters in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and material like corten steel, aluminum, and stainless steel.

Individual planters are available up to 13’x8’. For larger areas we offer modular planters. Modular models can be attached with included hardware and watertight gaskets to create much larger and countless configurations.  We offer design guidance and product solutions for projects in the early design stages or as part of a landscape renovation.

Modular planters can be a great solution for spaces such as streetscapes, plazas, rooftops, or other areas needing larger self-contained planting areas.  Typically, modular planters are used for areas that are too difficult or prohibitive for an installation crew to move without equipment.  Modular planters allow for more natural water and nutrient flow, and cleaner aesthetics, and generally larger plant material. These planters were placed without the use of equipment.  No onsite painting or coating was required and the joints are very subtle.  In addition to the leveling feet and skate blocks, we also offer numerous other custom options.

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Larger planters require cross bracing to keep the sides from bowing from the weight of drainage media, soil and plants.  Interior bracing at the top of the planters is a simple and effective way to keep the sides straight.  However, bracing must be carefully located to allow for root space of trees and larger material, while providing adequate strength.  The bracing in these allowed for 12 inches of free soil profile.  We offer engineering for custom and large scale planters. We want to make sure every project is a success for the client, designer, installer, and us.  We will gladly modify or relocate structural members (as much as possible) to accommodate plant material, electrical, irrigation, or other items that may run through or placed in the planter. 


Our standard planters are built with .125” thick steel and aluminum.  All products are commercial grade.  All corners are formed or welded and ground smooth.  For larger and custom sizes and products we use up to .375” steel and aluminum.  We typically build them with a 1-2” wide formed top but they are also available in straight sides for a simple and clean look.  The Club Monaco planters had a 2” top flange.  Our standard planters are available in square, angled, or curved sides. Standard and large scale planters come with many standard options including but not limited to utility sleeves, leveling feet, drainage fittings, irrigation reservoirs, casters, skate stops, drip trays, locking hardware, integral led and step lights, custom cut designs, and decorative screens and trellises.

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Metal planters can serve many functions.  One is to highlight an entry way, add a pop of color to a landscape, help define a space, physically divide a balcony and patio, act as a guardrail on a rooftop garden or act as large scale commercial planters and streetscape planters.

Whether you are a building owner, landscape or general contractor, design firm, or property manager we would like the opportunity to discuss your project and provide high quality options for your landscape.

Bioretention Planters

Glad to see you again!

It has been a while since our last post but that’s not to say we haven’t been busy!  The last two years have seen a lot of change and development in and around Architerra Designs.  As we looked for different options to explore, we decided our products should not just focus on aesthetics, but more importantly; serve a function.  Stormwater management was our answer!

Large scale bioretention planter at the Douglas

Large scale bioretention planter at the Douglas


Bioretention Planters

There are several different methods to control stormwater.  A popular method in the Seattle area is with bioretention planters.  These are typically concrete basins at ground level that collect some or all of the surface runoff, and filter it through specially mixed ‘bioretention’ soil.  At the bottom, there is a layer of gravel and usually a drain.  The basins can have closed or open bottoms depending on different circumstances and functions.

A concrete bioretention basin we covered with powder coated metal cladding

A concrete bioretention basin we covered with powder coated metal cladding


Other Methods

Other popular methods include rain gardens and rainwater cisterns.  Rain gardens typically have a more natural shape and are less rigid.  These can be lined or unlined and blend in with the landscape better.  However, more space is required to achieve the same stormwater management function as a straight sided bioretention planter. Cisterns are also a method of rainwater harvesting that diverts surface runoff to a collection tank for later use.  These can be simple or complex depending on the size and scope of the project. 


In a former life as a landscape contractor, I had the privilege of installing and working with many types of stormwater management systems in a diverse set of landscapes.  These ranged from basic boxes to unique and award winning designs throughout Seattle.  Check out the bioretention projects we were involved with below!


Additional examples of projects we installed or maintained with different stormwater techniques:

Greenfire Campus

The Douglas

Belroy Apartments

DMG House

What’s in Store

After a lot of head scratching, tinkering, and building, we are getting ready to launch our line of bioretention planters in March of this year! Stay tuned for updates. If you would like to get advanced information or talk to us about a custom stormwater project, please contact us or sign up for our newsletter.