Bespoke CorTen steel planter system for a challenging environment

Handyside is a compact, contemporary space that comprises a children's play area for families to enjoy, and open space for the general public, many of whom come from the nearby offices and restaurants. The park is built on top of the rail tunnels that run into Kings Cross Station and is an ideal spot for locals, workers and visitors to relax and play.

Choosing the product

The pathways were created with curved plant and tree beds, defined with Perimeta HiGrade Bespoke organic shaped raised planters in CorTen steel. The landscape also called for a steel planter system that could accommodate varying heights. The Kinley team worked closely with Townshend Landscape Architects right from the concept stages of the ambitious design to engineer a planter system that created and enhanced the vision.

Key Details

Location: London Client: Argent LLP
Architect: Townshend Landscape ArchitectsLandscape Architect: Dan Pearson Studio
Main Contractor: Kier ConstructionProduct Installer: Maylim
Completion Date: December 2015Project Value: £10 million

Managing the installation

Throughout the production and installation stages, the Kinley team worked with contractors, Maylim Ltd, to turn the designs into reality. The planter panels were bolted down on a concrete foundation on top of a concrete slab. Raised planters were used on the shallow soil of the podium construction over the railway tunnels. A drainage layer was laid beneath the planters to avoid the soil from becoming waterlogged.

Overcoming the challenges

The particular challenges for this project included:

  • Location – As the railway tunnels are only 4.5 metres under the park, deep excavations to plant trees was not an option. This was solved by planting raised beds with integrated seating. Kinley’s Perimeta HiGrade Bespoke planters were used to frame the bedding and create the dramatic contrast between the paths and the green space.
  • Design – The specification incorporated various shapes and sizes of planter systems so most HiGrade panels were different which could have presented issues during installation. The curvilinear design of the planters was achieved by preforming the planter walls in the factory before delivery so that they could simply be bolted together on site. A top capping was also required to take away any risk of the 6mm top edge being exposed and this was overcome by welding on laser cut steel strips to the top edge.
  • Materials - The planter edgings were made in CorTen steel, chosen to reflect the railway heritage of the location. CorTen steel not only changes with the weather, but is also considered a ‘self-healing’ material, so can recover from scratches if it becomes subject to accidental damage or vandalism.

The end result

The integrated seating and raised plant and tree beds, as well as the meandering water rill and play area make the park a wonderful location for families and people to enjoy lunch or meet friends. Regents Canal is surrounded by cafes, shops, a cookery school, venues, and residential apartment blocks which make it hugely popular all year round.

Why Kinley?

Our ability to create curved planters with the HiGrade Bespoke product made the flowing pattern of the planters possible. Each carefully calculated and crafted planter panel contributed to an enjoyable view, both fromwithin the park and from adjacent buildings. Kinley’s reputation for making complex and innovative designs possible, and our ability to provide support from concept to installation and beyond, made us the obvious choice for this project.

Kinley could not pass up the opportunity to support the design and implementation of this intriguing and high profile project which required significant product planning to engineer various shapes and sizes of our planter  systems to meet the unique specification.


-- Richard McMullan, Kinley

Products Installed

Perimeta - HiGrade



Case Study


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