Adding Balustrades, Screens, Trellises or Fencing to Planters

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Adding Balustrades, Screens, Trellises or Fencing to Planters

There are many ways in which a planter design scheme can be extended to include balustrades, screens, trellises or fencing; and there are, equally, many situations where it makes sense to do so - for example:
  • Integrating balustrades, screens or fencing with planter design can avoid costly duplication of structures, where these elements are required to create a perimeter to a patio, podium or terrace.
  • Integrating the elements together can also yield a structurally stronger solution – for example, where an edge protection against falls from height is required to [say] a roof terrace.
  • Trellises integrated with the planters support vertical plant growth in situations where, for example, it is neither desired nor possible to permit growth on an adjoining wall structure.  
  • Integrating trellises with the planters also allows the whole installation to be moved, for example for use as movable privacy screening.

The options shown in the gallery here are in no way exhaustive – merely a few examples of what IOTA has done previously, which hopefully might inspire.

Finally, there are a couple of other common situations where elements do not need to be structurally integrated:

  • Where the planter can 'do the job' on its own. For example, if a planter of H 1100mm completely encloses the perimeter of a private terrace, then - subject to structural engineer sign-off - this is generally accepted by most planning departments as meeting edge protection standards.
  • Sometimes planters can be used to 'green', and to improve the substantive effectiveness of edge protection, where pre-existing balustrades etc. are already in place. 

Examples of both of the above are also shown in the gallery. 

The Design Fundamentals

When balustrades, screens, trellises or fencing are combined with a planter, then the load bearing and load distribution requirements are completely changed, and the planter must be structurally re-engineered. This is equally required where other structures are added to a planter – for example, as discussed here: Adding Seating to Planters >>

Thankfully, metal is the ideal material with which to combine balustrades, trellises or fencing and planters into an integrated design; and the integration of these additional structures need not be expensive - in fact it is most often cheaper than buying the individual systems separately. The strength and rigidity of an IOTA planter comes from the manner in which loads are spread internally via vertical stiffeners, cross-braces and base / rim structures; and with the addition of relatively inexpensive stock metal sections, these pre-existing internal planter structures can also be used to spread the loads of balustrades, screens, trellises or fencing. So with intelligent design, and an eye on cost, a standard planter design can usually be evolved to incorporate these additional structures without the need for revolutionary design changes.

The only additional cost which might be incurred, depending on the situation, would be structural engineer review and calculations - and for a scheme of any size this cost will be relatively immaterial.

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