Zinc Product Guide

Zinc garden ornaments have a long tradition in UK and European gardens. Recently, zinc planters in particular have become very popular as an alternative to traditional lead planters, as both the weight and cost of a zinc planter is significantly less than its lead equivalent.

To ensure you can enjoy your zinc design for many years to come, please follow the advice below. ORNAMENTI cannot accept responsibility if any of the following instructions and recommendations are ignored.

Dimensions and Colours:

Please note that, as a hand-made product, the size, patination and colour of the design may vary slightly from the description, dimensions and photograph(s), making each design truly unique. With all zinc designs, this means that the colour naturally changes from a mid/dark grey to a lighter and more uneven colourway. This adds to the charm of the design as they do not look artificially uniform in colour.

Changing appearance:

Although a newly produced zinc garden ornament will start off dark grey, over time any zinc design will become generally lighter in colour, with increasing levels of tonal variation and highlights. This process starts from the moment of manufacture, before it even reaches the client, which is why a zinc garden ornament, when delivered, may not have the same patination as those photographed for our website. This is perfectly normal.  

Zinc garden ornaments will weather naturally dependant on location and climate, developing a beautiful antique patina that blends with their surroundings in any garden, landscape or courtyard. This mottled grey patina is accelerated by climactic factors including salt air or heavy rain which can cause ‘white rust’, a misleading term as it is not a rust, being more akin to limebloom that can occur on cementitious products including bricks and artificial stone. Rest assured that this effect does not reduce structural integrity or rust-resistance. Any small blemishes and imperfections are also characteristic of a hand-crafted product.

Installation, Care and Maintenance:

Please be aware of the weight of each zinc planter and use mechanical lifting wherever possible.

No routine care or maintenance is required for a zinc design. If cleaning for aesthetic reasons, care must still be taken to avoid strong chemical cleaning products, abrasions or scratches to the surface which may then make the zinc planter susceptible to rust. Any damage to this protective outer layer may result in rust, although this will not normally spread and is easily treatable by applying a proprietary rust treatment (such as Hammerite Kurust) to the damaged area.

Planter drainage:

For the health of your plants, it is important that a zinc planter has good water drainage. This is because waterlogged soil is bad for plant health.  For this reason, a zinc planter should not rest directly on the ground, which is why ORNAMENTI’s zinc planter designs have holes in the base and integral feet to aid drainage. Please pay particular attention to keeping the drainage hole clean.

How ORNAMENTI’s zinc designs are made:

The best zinc garden ornaments, like those available from ORNAMENTI, are made by craftsmen using high-grade steel. Once created, the steel planter is then hot-dip galvanised, a process whereby the raw metal planter is completely submerged in a large bath of molten zinc at a temperature of around 450°C. When exposed to the atmosphere again, the pure zinc reacts with oxygen to form zinc oxide, which reacts with carbon dioxide to form zinc carbonate which protects the steel underneath from corrosion.

What makes each ORNAMENTI zinc garden ornament unique is the hand finishing to achieve a fabulous mottled grey appearance, similar to old lead. The finish of each zinc garden ornament is unique, adding to the exclusivity of these designs and develops over time, see the ‘Changing Appearance’ section above.

The process of galvanising is not new. The technique was recognised in academic circles almost 300 years when, in 1742, a French chemist called Paul Jaques Malouin described the process in a presentation to the French Royal Academy. In 1772, the Italian Luigi Galvani, from whom we derive the word galvanizing, discovered the electrochemical process that takes place between metals during an experiment.

Issued: 3/23