I’ve put together a simple to follow edit of all of the elements that you will need to create a stylish, industrial garden scheme. Everything from; the materials and colours that you should use, to the furniture and accessories, and even the plants that will compliment it.
Gardens are no longer just a dumping ground for rusty old barbecues, outgrown kids bikes and inherited white plastic garden furniture. Oh no. They are now curated spaces. Rooms in their own right don’t ya’ know, and it’s about time too! A lot of us in the UK are limited in the amount of outdoor and indoor space that we have available to us – particularly in towns and cities. One of the best ways to make those small spaces feel more spacious and increase their usability is to blur the lines between the two – bring the inside out and visa versa.
I have been putting together a series of garden edits that will help you stay on track and create a cohesive scheme in your outside space. And perhaps more importantly, prevent you from getting tempted by that pink flamingo side table on sale in TK Max when your initial vision was a stylish and paired back, alfresco dining space.
Following on from last weeks Scandi Garden, the next edit in the series is another of my favourites and it’s probably the style that I associate our own garden with the most – it’s the industrial garden edit.
The Industrial Garden Edit
Heavily inspired by every urban city break you’ve ever been on, this look is bold and unapologetic. It’s heavy duty so it can take whatever you throw at it – literally, AND its weathered, rusty accents are guaranteed to warm up the steely grey and black colour pallet. Who said metal furniture has to be cold and uninviting?
Industrial style is fuss-free and no-nonsense. Taking it’s inspiration from the lofty look of warehouses, factories, and other industrial structures it mainly comprises of stripped back architectural details, such as the use of exposed bricks, metal, and timber, as well as salvaged and recycled materials. Industrial style furnishings are usually chunky and hardwearing, some might even go so far as to describe them as “blocky”. I love to throw in a rounded table here and there to soften those edges and keep it looking interesting.
Industrial interior design highlights the rawness of the building materials used, such as bricks, concrete, metal pipes and steel rafters. You can use these untreated, structural materials as the colour inspiration for your industrial garden design too. Try and stick to three colours throughout your design to keep the scheme consistent, with one as the dominant colour and one as the accent.
As you can see from the mood board I’ve created, I have used mainly dark greys and off-blacks, alongside the rusty orange of the oxidised steel. In this instance you might use a concrete grey for your paving or raised planters, then off-black or steely blue for your furniture and rusty orange as your accent colour.
Roseal’s ‘Slate‘, ‘Stone Grey‘ and ‘Tudor Black‘ would work perfectly in an industrial garden scheme like this, but if you prefer a warmer pallet, Little Greene have also made a stunning colour called ‘Heat‘ which is a wonderful, coppery brick red colour, and looks incredible when paired with ‘Chimney Brick‘ – a moody, sooty brown. It’s an absolute Peaky blinding colour combo for fans of industrial design and I doth my flat cap to them.
The industrial look is not for the faint hearted. We want to see what you’re made of…no really, what’s underneath that render? Brick, steel, stone, timber? We want to see it all, under one chunky pergola roof. It doesn’t have to be expensive either, reclaimed materials and imperfections are welcomed. Old scaffolding boards work really well in industrial style gardens – use them to create a decked area or a sofa, and pair it with as much metal that you can lay your hands on. You could even create some shelving or a table using the pipes too, and design your very own bespoke piece that fits perfectly within the space you have.
Raw, untreated materials are the order of the day in this Industrial style restaurant. I love how they have used oversized slabs in concrete and bronze to create this bold and striking courtyard. This is a much more achievable and affordable way to achieve the polished concrete or micro cement trend, and the bronze finish on the planters really helps to warms up an otherwise monochrome colour scheme.
All metals are welcome in an industrial garden design – from functional and easy to clean stainless steel, to powder coated metals and even weathered, distressed steels such as my beloved Corten…AND there is no such crime as mixing metals – music to my ears.
As much as I love using natural timber, it can be really high maintenance in a garden. Metal is a lot more hardwearing if it is protected from the elements, and won’t need to be constantly sanded and re treated.
I wrote a blog post last year listing five ways to use Corten steel in your garden. You can read it here if you’d like to learn more.
Riven cut slate or sawn sandstone in black or grey would provide the perfect accompaniment to concrete render and exposed brickwork or slips, and would flow seamlessly from inside to outside. I’ve included some porcelain tiles for those of you that want the look but with as little maintenance as possible. I know, I am good to you. Mix it with black basalt or charcoal grey slate chippings to add texture or keep costs down.
The furniture edit
For furniture you are really looking to collect those key, timeless pieces that will continue to look stylish year after year, as long as you keep them covered and protected from the elements. I’ve selected a few pieces that, depending on the size of your outdoor space should all work together and be interchangeable depending on your needs. Some for these items would look equally at home indoors too so you can bring them in and out as the mood takes you.
The sofa – I’ve chosen this this West Strand Sofa as it comes in either a two or three seater, perfect for smaller patios and decking. It’s charcoal, shower proof cushions and powder-coated metal legs make it a durable and lightweight option, fitting of any industrial garden scheme.
If you are looking for a larger corner sofa, then the ‘Topa Garden Lounge Set‘ from Made.com that I featured in last weeks Scandi Garden edit would sit just as comfortably in an industrial garden design.
The coffee and side table – Industrial style consist mainly of squared lines and blocky shapes which promote a utilitarian cohesiveness in the overall look. But that doesn’t mean you have to avoid organic curves and abstract shapes altogether. In the Industrial garden edit that I have put together I have chosen these Raskin round tables from La Redoute to help soften those hard lines and prevent it looking too linear. They’re still super chunky though so they’re more than capable of holding their own amongst all of the other pieces in the design.
The Raskin range is available in coffee table and side table sizes, and they come in charcoal or terracotta colour. Both would look equally amazing in an industrial style garden and I love the idea of mixing and matching the two colours together. They would look incredible inside the home too and the side tables could even double up as extra seating.
Armchairs – I couldn’t do an Industrial edit and not throw in the Palissade Low Lounge Chair in anthracite. I’ve been eyeing up this curved beauty for a little while now. It’s elegant and sophisticated design is the perfect proof that steel does not have to be cold and uninviting. They do a whole ranges of sofas, tables and benches too in galvanised steel and sky grey so if this one doesn’t float your shipping container, then you can have a little cruise around and see if there are any others more suitable for your space.
The love seat – OK, I can hear you all screaming at your screens that a love seat has no place in an industrial garden design but hear me out…this absolute brute of a seat is so chunky, it can hold not just one, but two bottoms comfortably, making it a good little, or not so little, substitute for a garden sofa in smaller spaces. And if you can forgive me yet another confession, it might actually be made from plastic *gasp, but wait…it’s actually recyclable rotomoulded polyethylene so it’s eco friendly too.
The table and bench – Keeping with the sustainability theme this robust, statement table and benches are made from 100% recycled plastic. It is completely maintenance free and is guaranteed to last five time longer than most timber furniture.
I love it’s simple design, it’s so architectural in it’s style and I think it would be a stand out piece in an industrial style garden.
The accessories edit
Now that we have the main structure of our Industrial garden in place we can build on the next layer of our design – the accessories. As Industrial design is fuss-free by nature, there isn’t a lot of room for clutter and over styling, but as we are talking about garden design, we can of course throw in a few pots and planters to help bring in some more of our precious metals and architectural planting to help show off that wonderful bone structure to it’s best.
The plants – Before we add in all of that lush greenery the mix, let’s talk about the vessels we’re going to put them in. There is so much choice on the market now and with the rise in popularity of Corten steel, how could we not begin our journey here?
Get potted have an incredible selection of plant pots and plenty of Corten steel planters to choose from too. I’ve chosen the Andes Trough Large Corten Steel Outdoor Planter for my edit and I’ve placed it next to the table and bench seating to offer some screening from neighbours if needed. I love the colour contrast of the Corten steel with the dark grey colour of the table and the juxtaposition of the long, wispy grasses against it’s solid architectural structure.
Corten can be pricy, although I personally think it’s a good investment as it’s pretty indestructible – just seal it once it has reached the desired patina and you’re done.
If your budget can’t stretch to the cost of Corten at the moment or if space is an issue for you, then this Set of 2 Roupie Corten Finish Planters in Rust could be the perfect solution.
And if oxidised steel ain’t your bag, these Endo Reclaimed Iron Planter from Nkuku would suit any industrial style home. They come in a number of shapes and sizes to fit any space and are made from recycled iron, gathered from old storage drums. The character of the reclaimed materials add unique detail and texture to each of these stand out planters.
The plants – As you can see from the mood board I have created I used ornamental grasses and ferns for the planting. Industrial gardens have no room for blousy florals, the planting should be tough as old boots too. Use evergreens so that there is some soft planting all year round to soften up those hard lines and bold shapes.
Soft furnishings – I’m breaking a few rules here, as scatter cushions do not really belong in a no-frills, industrial style scheme buuuuut…I value my comfort as much as style so we can overlook a couple of cushion if they’re simple and stylish, right?
Did someone say simple and stylish? Well, this Desert Outdoor cushion from Ferm Living completely fits the bill and it comes in a number of different colours including rust. TICK. Oh wait, and did I mention that the cover as well as the padding is made from 48 recycled plastic bottles! TICK, TICK.
The fire pit – I’ve really gone for the outside room vibe this week with this absolutely drop dead Ivy Line Outdoor Iron Fireplace with integrated grill from Made.com. This two-in-one fireplace has a handy grill nestled near the top making it an absolute game changer for those chilly outdoor gatherings.
It comes in rust or black and it’s unique shape would make a bold statement piece for any industrial style garden.
And finally, for a more compact option, you should check out this Webbe Steel Wood Burning Fire Pit from Wayfair. How stunning is the patina on that oxidised drum?
If a standing log burner or fire pit is too big for your outdoor space then you might want to check out a previous blog post that I wrote with 5 of the best fire pits where I have included some more options for small outdoor spaces.
I hope you have found this Industrial Garden Edit helpful. If I can find the energy, I might do one more edit in the series. Let me know in the comments below if there are any styles that you’d like me to cover.
For more tips and advice on how to introduce biophilic design principles into your home and garden, you can read Marianna’s new book ‘At Home with Nature‘.