Designing custom fabricated metal components in the landscape is a sure way to make a project stand out. Using metal elements adds a level of permanence to a landscape without the weight of concrete or other hardscape materials. Corten steel (as shown in the image above) tends to reflect a more aged and rustic feel while stainless steel (shown below) is associated with a more refined look. The planter edge above was made from 1/2″ x 12″ corten sections that were pre-formed off site and welded on site.
stainless steel railings

These stainless steel railings were custom fabricated for our Birdrock project and consist of 2″ x 1/2″ rectangular posts with 1/2″ plates  that were mounted to the tile stairs. The handrails are from 1 1/4″ diameter stock. The cable is 1/8″ stainless wire. The cables are spaced so that at the time of inspection a 4″ diameter ball cannot be passed through them at any point. Due to the fact that the cables can be “stretched” they are spaced at about 3.5″ on center. It should be noted that mounting the posts to a tile finish is extremely difficult without cracking the tile. We recommend mounting the posts first and then placing tile around them. Also note that other metal elements such as the stair mounted light fixtures are stainless steel to match the railings.

Buddha head

The focal point of the Birdrock front terrace is a Buddha head that rests in a raised steel planter. We specified 1/4″ cold rolled steel plates with a planter height of 12″. Cold rolled steel is less expensive to use than corten and it has not been “weathered” or oxidized yet. When new it looks black but in time or with an acidic / saline solution treatment it will develop a similar rusty petina as corten. Being next to the salt water the steel on this project took no time to color up. Notice that this area features a mix of both cold rolled steel and stainless steel. They make an interesting contrast in color, warmth and texture. When using cold rolled or corten you never want it to have direct contact with other hardscape surfaces like concrete or tile as it will leave stains as it weathers. In this case the steel is surrounded by a 4″ band of decorative rock which prevents contact with the surrounding concrete. Stainless steel does not need to be separated from other hardscape in the same way.


 monumental trellis
This monumental trellis was designed as the main garden entry feature at the Alpine project. We designed custom cold rolled steel lattice work to be mounted between (4) 8″x8″ posts at each of the 4 corners of the trellis. This trellis is larger than life but was necessary on the expansive site. We used Southern California wild grape vines to climb up into these trellis panels. After a couple seasons they have added a lot of character to the trellis.


At the Birdcold rolled steelrock project this cold rolled steel planter softens the retaining wall behind it. Due to the retaining wall footings there was inadequate soil depth for plants – so the raised planter was a perfect solution. Notice that we used the decorative rock to separate the steel from concrete again.


 cold rolled steel planter
At the upper terrace of the Birdrock project we designed a cold rolled steel planter to serve as a water feature and focal element. It also serves as a preliminary filter for stormwater that runs off the roof and down the decorative rain chains. The clients wanted to have a more traditional water feature but since we were going for LEED platinum certification we did not want to waste that kind of water or electricity. Now when it rains they have a natural water feature.


The “Agave Garden” at the Alpine project is simply a rectangular area featuring white gravel and geometrically placed Agave with a corten steel defined edge. The steel is 1/4″ x 6″ and was finish welded on site. An off center basalt column serves as the focal point. This stone sculpture with its own geometry stands among Agave planted in strict alignment, defying the wildness found all around it.

If you are considering the use of custom fabricated metal elements in your landscape you won’t be disappointed. Just remember to separate oxidizing metals from hardscape and choose the type of metal that fits your aesthetic and budget. Let us know if you have any questions!

Lastly.. In a future blog post we will dive into the fabrication of our most monumental project yet – the Pride flag in Hillcrest. We will be working with MakeFAB once again on a stainless steel monument for the base of the flag pole. The monument will chronicle the local history of the LGBT movement and recognize the founding donors of the project. This will be unveiled at the Stonewall Rally on July 12, 2013.

Top 4 Talk Show Host Comedians

Many phenomenal comedians ( see full list at http://supcomedy.com/) are typically guest stars on talk shows. But, there is a good amount of talk show hosts that are fantastic comedians. So, to give you an idea of some of the current funniest talk show hosts, we have created a list of the top four talk show host comedians.
1.) Conan O’Brien
The first talk show host comedian on our list is Conan O’Brien. O’Brien is currently the host of his own late night talk show, Conan. Prior to creating Conan, O’Brien was the host of the Late Night with Conan O’Brien and The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien. Conan airs every Monday through Thursday on TBS. On the show, O’Brien uses current news, as well as political figures and celebrities, as the basis of his jokes. He also has a sidekick, Andy Richter. Then, the rest of the show features a celebrity guest and a musical or comedy performance.

2.) Jimmy Fallon
The next talk show host comedian is Jimmy Fallon. It’s no secret that Fallon has comedic talent. He made his comedic debut on Saturday Night Live, then spent a few years starring in various movies. Fallon first hosted Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, but left in 2014 to host The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (he succeeded Jay Leno). Fallon’s talk show has the same basis as Conan O’Brien’s, but Fallon is known for the various games he plays with his celebrity guests. One of the most popular games is the Wheel of Musical Impressions, where Fallon and his celebrity guest must impersonate a popular singer, singing a song. Fallon is also known for some of his various segments, such as Celebrities Read Mean Tweets. During Celebrities Read Mean Tweets, the most current popular celebrities read a mean, yet funny, tweet aloud.

3.) James Corden
Finally, the last talk show host comedian, on our list, is James Corden. Corden is the host of The Late Late Show with James Corden. Corden’s talk show has the same basis as the other talk shows on this list. Out of the various segments that occurs on Cordens talk show, the most popular is Carpool Karaoke. During Carpool Karaoke, Corden picks up a current popular singer, or band, and drives around, singing along to their most popular songs. Some of the most notable people who have been on Carpool Karaoke are; Adele, Justin Bieber, One Direction, and Sia.

4.) Jimmy Kimmel
The third talk show host comedian is Jimmy Kimmel. Kimmel currently hosts his original talk show, Jimmy Kimmel Live. Kimmel’s talk show has a similar basis to Conan O’Brien’s and Jimmy Fallon’s talk shows. Kimmel is known for doing various segments, such as taking the streets and asking people ridiculous questions. Also, Kimmel is known for his prank war with Ellen DeGeneres. Finally, one of the things that Kimmel regularly does, on his talk show, is make fun of Matt Damon. He is known to say, “My apologies to Matt Damon. We just ran out of time,” at the end of every episode.