Month: April 2013

1800 designer bowl water-feature

I just received these two pics from Catherine Lewis, a landscape architect based in Bowral on the southern NSW highlands.  Catherine specified our 1800mm diameter designer bowl for the water-feature on her client’s rural property.  The client wanted the bowl to have a dark bronze-like appearance which we achieved by making the bowl in our standard charcoal oxide colour, and then acid-staining the bowl in black. 

Catherine took the photos on her iphone, but wrote that the photos don’t do the bowl justice.  She’s promised to send more next week.  I’ll add them to this blog as soon as they arrive. 

new balustrade planters

Here at Quatro Design we regularly field inquiries about using our GRC planter-boxes as balustrade planters. 

Typically designers want to install planter beds around the perimeter of a multi-level building or on balconies without casting them in concrete as part of the above-ground slabs. The cast-in-concrete planter approach adds considerable weight to the slab, and in the past many have leaked causing structural problems such as concrete spalling requiring expensive rectification. 

Another consideration for building designers is the Building Code requirement that building edge barriers have a minimum height of one metre. According to the Queensland Building Services Authority,

Under the Building Code of Australia (BCA) a balustrade or barrier is required where people could fall one metre or more from a floor or accessible roof of a building. Put simply, where a difference in height from the deck or balcony to the ground or another lower level is one metre or more, a balustrade of at least one metre in height is required….For decks more than four metres above the ground, balustrades cannot have any climbable elements located between 150 millimetres and 760 millimetres from the floor. (Deck, balcony and window safety, p. 6)

Quatro Design’s new GRC balustrade planters offer a clean and simple solution to this requirement. They are tall and narrow, and able to be installed above-slab near the end of the project.
Recently we completed 35 balustrade planters for a new building in Sydney, and we’re currently making 14 balustrade planters for a new Gold Coast project. The challenge in making such planters at 1.5 or 2 metres long x 1 metre high is maintaining the stiffness of the wall panels while keep the weight to a minimum. To do this we incorporate honeycomb reinforcement in the long panels. Honeycomb reinforcement is typically used in the boat-building and aviation industries where lightness and strength and essential.  In our tall balustrade planters, the lightweight honeycomb reinforcement is the core between two GRC layers, thus making a sandwich composite panel. 

Currently we have two standard planter sizes that can be used as 1 metre high balustrade planters. One is 1500mm long x 600mm wide, and the other is 2000mm long x 500mm wide. However, we can make planters at other lengths and widths as required. 

As soon as we get some photos of the installed planters, we’ll add them to this blog. 

my bamboo planters

Back in late 2011 when I wanted a plant screen between our patio area and our neighbour’s back yard, I decided on using fast-growing bamboo.

Bamboo can make great visual screens, but one of the concerns many people have about planting bamboo is that the roots will undermine their walls and paths, and take over their back yard.

We had around 4.5 metres of wall to screen, and so I chose to use three 1500mm long troughs from our 500 Modular Series of planter boxes.  The three trough planters are in our standard sandstone colour, and butt up to one another against our side timber fence.

My next step was to choose the best bamboo for our situation.  There are many types of bamboo, short and tall, some with running roots and others with clumping roots. So choosing the right bamboo for the area and intended purpose is critical.

On visiting Bamboo Down Under here on the Gold Coast, I chose to plant Bambusa boniopsis. According to their website,

Bambusa boniopsis grows to 4 mtrs in height and makes a fantastic screen or hedge.
It has a vase shaped form, in that it is very tight clumping at the base and fans out towards the top, with very dense foliage.

Boniopsis is also great for creating shade, without having to plant a large bamboo.

My next step was to plant out my six pots of bamboo plants (two per planter box).  I used a growing media called Bioganic Earth developed by John Daly of EcoEnvironment (see John is an experienced horticulturist and former curator of Brisbane’s Parks and Gardens.  (Hint — we stock and sell John’s Bioganic Earth at Quatro Design).

Within a few months of planting, the bamboo had sprouted new shoots and was well on the way to doing what I’d hoped it would do — make a decent visual screen.  Now almost a year and a half later, we have an attractive wall of bamboo, as you can see in these photos.

So if you’re concerned about bamboo roots getting our of control, a great solution is to plant them in a suitable container, such as a GRC planter made here in Australia by Quatro Design.

designer bowls on display

We enjoy seeing our products on public display.  So it was a delight to see several of our Designer Bowls incorporated into the landscaping of Metricon’s three display homes at Rochedale in Brisbane.  Metricon is one of the largest new home builders in Austalia, and our products regularly feature in their display homes.  If you can’t visit the display village, here’s some photos Chris took on his recent visit.