March 2004
More and More Metal By Catherine Evans

Bright colors, decorative art, colored glass and rustic accents are some of the hottest trends I have seen within the last year. But what about adding metal products to that list? Metal is everywhere, but it is such a simple and industrial looking item that it is not as noticeable as it could be.

Look at all of the things in your garden center that include metal — benching, tools, furniture, even in outdoor accents and d?©cor (copper birdbaths perhaps). In the past, metal has been seen as just a simple material that fits its purpose — used for its sturdiness and durability. However, now its appearance can attract your customers.

More and more, metal is being used as contemporary or modern d?©cor. Manufacturers within the industry and retailers especially are showcasing their metal products but in a different light. The recent copper, rusted look has been pretty hot. The manufacturers emphasize bright chrome on new tool lines, a new “rust-free” stainless-steel potting bench, the metal benches that add a cleaner more sophisticated look to it and so much more. Companies are using wrought iron to make planters and garden d?©cor, while others are using copper and other metals for bird feeders and accents.

Take a look around; see what you have in your store that could use a little shine, add some metal products and soon you will be a big hit in your community.

1. Water wand

The Supreme Water Wand has a telescoping shaft stretching from 36 to 52 inches. It works well for watering hanging baskets. It has a nine-pattern spray head with 180-degree rotating capability. Its ergonomically design features a hand lever with lock. The wand has a rust-resistant coated aluminum body, rubberized handgrip and nozzle cone for comfort and long wear. Garden Works. (888) 660-8511.

2. Wheelbarrow planter

The wheelbarrow is an ideal indoor or outdoor planter and can also function as an all-purpose centerpiece display. The planter measures 33 x 17 x 17 inches; a 1/2-bushel basket with plastic liner is included. JMD Manufacturing Inc. (800) 774-4470.

3. Fountain

This self-contained wall mount fountain is made of durable, long-lasting fiberglass with old world style metal trim. It is easy to install and looks just like stone without the weight. It works indoors or out and is available in three finishes: Earth Tone, Aged Concrete and Weathered Mauve. Dimensions are 18 x 10 x 31 inches with a UL pump with 6-foot cord included. Aquarius Garden Art. (760) 949-9414.

4. Garden accent

Springee Spinners Garden D?©cor are made of metal and each design is meticulously hand-painted and lacquer coated for durability. As the wind blows, their “springed” appendages flutter in the wind, while the fan-shaped body spins wildly. Ten designs are available: peacock, dog, cat, bird, elephant, giraffe, cow, pig, rooster and snail. Each stand between 13 and 25 inches tall. Exhart. (800) 775-5503.

5. Potting table

Designed for small spaces such as a balcony or deck, this potting table is perfect for potting, flower arranging, barbeque prep or serving drinks. This stainless steel, iron and rebar table offers workspace, storage, even running water and drainage. A mesh basket hooks onto the side to hold plants or tools. Under the top shelf is a faucet that hooks up easily to your garden hose or outdoor water source. The natural iron supports and bottom shelf will rust over time. The workbench measures 36 x 22 x 50. Earthly Things. (773) 506-6490.

6. Fountain

This fountain combines cast stone troughs with classic iron elements for a new look. Seven new modern and old world styles are available. Stonesmith Garden Vessels. (805) 927-0827.

7. Sign holder

This tube leg construction is a strong, durable, tubular steel sign holder. The user-friendly, economical leg option is available in three common lengths, will fit all popular sign sizes and is compatible with Col-met’s standard base adapter. It can be used for ground or pot applications. Collier Metal Specialties Inc. (972) 494-3900.

8. Iron planter

Named for its shape, the Mushroom Planter displays many plants. This handcrafted iron planter works well for indoor or outdoor use. The finish is natural rust sealed in clear polyurethane. Ruibal’s Topiary Systems and Ironworks. (800) 784-3313.

9. Garden tool

The Dirt Snatcher is designed for ease of use with a unique digging motion that acts like a mini post-hole digger. To use, simply insert in soil and pull up on the spring-loaded handle to lift the soil. Drop in a bulb, seed or plant, cover, and go on to the next one. The sturdy tool is lightweight and comes in hard-to-lose colors of red, yellow, neon green and neon orange. Ruppert Garden Tools, Inc. (916) 320-8478.

10. Garden tool

The WristSaver, formerly Earth Bud-Eze, is a leverage-enhanced tool. Design improvements include a new foldaway handle for easy, peg-able merchandising, reduced weight and vibrant colors with a polished chrome finish. Engineered to move the workload from the wrist to the forearm. Vertex International, Inc. (877) 283-7839.

11. Plant stand

The Two-Tier Demilune II Plant Stand is original wrought iron derived from early Colonial American designs. The decorative back pattern is based on a 17th century fireplace crane, while the multi-tier idea is derived from a three-level carousel plant stand used on the terrace of John D. Rockefeller’s home in Williamsburg. It stands 54 inches tall and 41 inches wide and is graphite powder-coated for lasting quality. Achla Designs. (800) 626-1114.

12. Retail benches

These retail display units are specifically designed for both green and hard goods and are suitable for both indoor and outdoor sales areas. Checkout counters are constructed to work the way you need them to. These benches will create a customer-friendly selling environment within your garden center. Nexus Greenhouse Systems. (800) 228-9639.

Catherine Evans

Catherine Evans is associate editor of Lawn & Garden Retailer.