How To Care For Fiberglass Planters

  • Written by Chris

Contrary to popular belief there is some minimum maintenance required in order to insure you get a long life from your fiberglass planters and trash containers. At IAP we have two types of finishes, Fusion and Marine grade.  The Fusion finish is our toughest finish that is manufactured with real metal and as you can imagine will hold up just like the metal it was constructed from, unlike the painted finishes the metals will slowly patina over time depending upon the geographic region.  A higher percentage of salinity will accelerate the patina process and each metal will react accordingly.  The marine grade finish is a two part linear polyurethane that was developed for the rigors of the marine enviornment, compared to an automotive finish the marine grade will be a harder paint finish and have superior UV and scratch resistance. 

Both the Fusion and Marine grade finishes need to be cleaned occassionally with mild soap and water, be sure not to use any harsh cleaners and test in a non-visible area before use.  For the marine grade finish your georgraphic region will dictate the frequency that you will need to polish, in high UV environments like Florida you may need to coat once every 3 months, if you are further north you may get away with once or twice a year. We recommend a good quality marine grade coating such as 3M.  For the Fusion finish we advise using a cream metal polish like Flitz, the metal polish is also great for removing patina build up and restoring the metal finish to like new appearance.  The polishing can be done by hand or machine for faster results. 

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In commercial environments damage is always inevitable, scratches are the most common and they are either deep or shallow.  A deep scratch can be determined if you run your finger nail over it and you can feel the damaged area, if it is a shallow scratch you will not feel anything. To repair a shallow scratch you can often just buff out the scratch with a compound and then recoat the fiberglass planters with a good quality wax.  For a deep scratch you will need to fill with an epoxy and apply touch up paint. For more severe damage a fiberglass repair might be necessary so please contact IAP for instructions. 

Ultimately the best way to prevent damage is to take good care of your fiberglass planters and minimize damage.  Some preventive measures would include placement, try and keep them out of areas that they are likely to incur damage.  Keep them clean of pesticides and hard water damage.  When moving them around be sure not to pull them by the lip.  These simple steps will hopefully prevent unwanted damage and insure you have a long life cycle. 

Hotel Trash and Recycling Containers

  • Written by Chris

Most hotel trash and recycling containers are not designed specifically for the special requirements of Hopitality and indoor/outdoor public spaces.  The vast majority of bins are designed for much more utilitarian uses and are sized and designed without much concern for visual appeal. So much time and energy is spent on creating an inviting environment and then at the last minute a completely inappropriate container is placed because there is very much a real need for trash and recycling collection in public spaces.  The image above is the Mirage trash and recycling containers in Espresso, the Mirage was specifically designed to fit right in this environment and to blend seemlessly within the design theme. The Mirage has just the right usable capacity and is rectangular so to take up as little space as needed. The signage runs vertical and is large attractive and clear. 


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Sometimes you need a versatile shape that is a dual stream, the Fusion above has a low profile and works well as a dual stream.  When you don't have a lot of space but still need a trash bin/recycle or even for ash you can order the Fusion in a variety of formats.  Shown above in Bronze, this is one of our most durable finishes that is made of actual bronze.  Because the finish containers metal you can be guaranteed a long service life that is resistant to scratches and burns. The Fusion is offered as a single stream in trash or multiple variants as a dual stream, you have flexibility with signage and the Fusion is offered in out 15 standard finishes as well as custom color matching. 

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Size matters occassionally and as you can imagine it is very difficult to find large scale multi-stream trash and recycling containers.  The Element shown above is shown above in 48"L x 24"D x 32"H, it is truly a monster and has an enormous capacity that can be used as a dual or triple stream trash and recycling container.  The rectangular format is a space saver and the design is timeless, shown above in our Bronze Fusion finish the Element is not only tough but handsome.  This size container is ideally used in large public spaces like airports, convention centers etc. where you would expect a large volume of usage.  We do offer customization so if you need a container tailored to your use don't hesitate to let us know. After more than three decades of designing trash and recycling containers for public spaces IAP has a solution for almost any need. 


Boutique Design New York

  • Written by Chris

Boutique Design New York (BDNY) is the leading trade fair and conference for hospitality's boutique and lifestyle design community. 

For two high-energy days each November, it's the curated, creative event of the insdustry-bringing designers, architects, purchasing agents, hoteliers, owners and developers together with inventive manufacturers of design elemsnts for hotpitality interiors for a highly curated experience.  For 2022 BDNY took place at the New York Javits Center on November 13-14, 2022 and was run in conjunction with HX: The Hotel Experience

IAP has been exhibiting at BDNY for the past 10 years and we were happy to return to New York and were excited to see such a strong turn out from the hospitality community. The attendance was the strongest ever which is a great indicator of the strength of the sector and as one of our clients stated, "We are back".  There was a alot of energy and enthusiasm and positive sentiment and many clients were working on active projects. The IAP booth was packed for both days and we had the most traffic since the pandemic. As usual our fiberglass planter collection was very popular as well as the collection of hotel trash containers and modern side tables.


Large Fiberglass Planters in Desert Climates

  • Written by Chris

 With temperatures on the rise in some regions and conservation on everone's mind there is always a solution to beautifully design and landscape with large modern fiberglass planters. This beautiful installation is courtesy of Enchanted Garden, a Phoenix Arizona family owned and operated full service contractor specializing in residential landscapes for the greater Phoenix metropolitian area. The featured containers in Matte Black is the Waimea, Infinity and York

What is a succulent? A succulent is a plant that stores moisture in fleshy leaves or stems in order to survive periods of drought. The light requirement of succulents will vary in some enviornments they can stay out year round but some will need sun protection in summer especially mid-day. Often the trick is to have the right microclimate, for example in the shade of a tree. Even in their natural habitat young cacti can not handle open exposure, they prefer to grow in the shade of a nurse plant until they are big enough to handle the rigors or open desert climates. 


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When watering succulents the soil should be about as damp as a wrung-oiut sponge.  Aim to water about once a week, the roots should be thoroughly soaked, if your succulent is in a container the water should drain from the bottom of the pot. You will want to water more frequently during a hot and dry spell and seldom with periods of cool temperatures, high humidity and rain.  Generally speaking the more plump or fleshier the leaves the more water it can store and the less water it will need. Be careful with Cacti they tend to be less tolerant to overwatering than the smooth leaf variants. 

As for soil if you can source a bagged cactus mix at your nursery that would be ideal, otherwise you can use a general purpose potting soil and mix 50/50 with pumice or perlite.  Be sure to add more pumice for cactus and less for smooth leaf succulents. It is best to do some research prior to your selection to insure the variety you select will be successful in your georgrapic region.  A landscape professional like Enchanted Garden will be able to assist you with the plant and fiberglass planter selection to insure you have a beautiful and long lasting installation.Inc. is a family-owned and operated full service landscape contractor specializing in residential landscapes for the greater Phoenitropolitan area.Enchanted Garden Landscape, Inc. is a family-owned and operated full service landscape contractor specializing in residential landscapes for the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.Enchanted Garden Landscape, Inc. is a family-owned and operated full service landscape contractor specializing in residential landscapes for the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. Enchanted Garden Landscape, Inc. is a faly-owned and operated full service landscape contractor specializing in residential landscapes for the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. Enchanted Garden Landscape, Inc. is a family-owned and operated full service landscape contractor specializing in residential landscapes for the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. 

Commercial Grade Finishes for Hotel Trash Containers

  • Written by Chris

Over the decades we have figured out a few things about trash containers in public spaces, the most common issue is that they are often forgotten and rarely taken care of well.  As you can imagine they are subjected to the elements, the public and even sometimes pets.  If you think about it the trash container has probably more interaction than any other part of a property, as a reslut the wear and tear is higher than any other element you will specify.

At IAP we start off with a durable streel reinforced fiberglass form that is 3 to 5mm thick of hand laid woven fiberglass mat, then we glass in steel reinforement and last we coat the interior of the container with a two part water barrier to insure liquids will stay inside the container. When you want the container to stay put we have several options, the first is to glass in concrete at the base of the container.  Usually we add about 25 lbs., depending on the size of the container. The other options are using a semi-permanent adhesive or an expansion bolt to permanently affix the container to the surface. 

Environmental Factors

For trash containers placed outdoors they will be subjected to the weather, UV and the public. When it comes to the weather geogaphic regions may vary widely so the containers will need to handle freeze and thaw, salinity atmosphere content, ultra violet light and the public. Salt content or by the ocean is one of the most rigorous environmental conditions, corrosion will quickly shorten the life of most materials, fiberglass is the ideal choice because it is non-corrosive. The other biggest destructive variable is ultra violet light, sunlight light will break down a painted finish quickly depending on the quality of the paint used.  


The public can be very rough on trash containers, you will have to anticipate corrosive liquids like sodas, pets, scratching burn marks from cigarettes and even grafitti. In order to tackle this onslaught we developed our Fusion finish, the Fusion finish is produced by chemically bonding metals in a powder form.  The benefit of having real metal on the outside of the container is that you have the longevity and durability charachteristics of the metal used. Another positive attribute of the metals like Bronze is that they are inherently anti-bacterial which is a great bonus for high touch surfaces in public spaces. Metal finishes are far superior to painted finishes because they are highly resistant to UV and damage, most issues that would ruin a painted container can be easily polished out with a light compound.


Commercial trash containers can be a big investment so having a long life cycle should be top priority before making a decision.  By insuring the container can survive the elements and the public you can be confident you have made a wise investment. At IAP we can assist throughout the decision making process from lobby areas to pool decks. 


How to Select Commercial Trash and Recycling Containers

  • Written by Chris

The selection of a commercial trash and recycling container can greatly influence the perception of a business. So often a great deal of effort, money and time goes into the design and construction of a project with the trash and recycle containers often added as an after thought. As you can imagine the trash containers are always prominent and front and center.  To steer you in the right direction we have a few tips to help you make the best choices.

1.  Location

One of the most important considerations is the location, it is best to review your floor plan and try and understand the traffic flow in your space. The containers should be placed in the zones that receive the most traffic, also it is good to understand what type of litter they might be trying to dispose of.  For example if you are equipping a roof top pool area you will need a much higher gallon capacity than an elevator lobby.  Some common areas that might need trash containers are seating areas, entrances and crosswalks.

2.  Proximity

How many will you need?  This will depend on a few factors such as traffic volume and the distance from one container to the next. It is important to order enough containers to handle the flow of traffic and the type of litter.  A key area is by the front entrance, this is the first impression a visitor will have so it is imporant to keep this zone clean and litter free. For open spaces it is important to have enough trash containers along the paths and around any key meeting areas. Another factor to consider is having an ash receptacle, cigarette butts are unsightly so it is important to keep them under control. 

3. Design

So much time and energy goes into the design of a project, it is critical that the containers compliment the theme and flow with the color scheme. It is important to be up to date with the local regulations when it comes to recycling, be sure to know if you need separate containers and how you need to store them. The signage should be visible and should clearly designate the usage, recycling containers are typically smaller than trash containers and will sometimes have unique openings and color designations. 

 4.  Material

Fiberglass is an ideal material for commercial trash and recycling containers because it is lightweight, cost effective and has a long lifecycle. When combinded with specialty commercial grade finishes like our Fusion finish you get the benefits of UV and scratch resistance. The addition of real metals in the exterior coating gives the lightweight form the strength of durablity of real metals. All of our containers can be ordered with addtional weight added at the base or can be easily bolted down to insure they stay where you want them to stay.

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Browse our wide selection of commercial trash and recycling containers, we are here to help insure you get the right fit for the project.  Please do not hesitate to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or give us a call at 800.426.471 if you need any assistance in your selection. 

The Anatomy of an Outdoor Planter

  • Written by Chris

As you can imagine the engineering of a lightweight outdoor planter should not be taken lightly. In fact when you think about it we want a lightweight object to support a heavy load that needs to stand up to harsh environmental conditions like UV and high traffic commercial areas. It almost sounds like an impossible task, in the past we have seen more traditional materials used such as clay and more recently metals such as corten steel and aluminum. These materials have their drawbacks such as being porous, poor corrosion resistance, limited design options and of course weight. So in a perfect world our ideal large outdoor planter would be lightweight, durable and have a wide range of design options.

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The holy grail of the large outdoor container is to make it as light as possible and still make it tough enough to handle a rigrous commercial environment, the only real solution is fiberglass. Fiberglass has a long lifecycle, is waterproof and lightweight.  Not all methods of fiberglass construction is equal, the overall durability of the end product depends on the material used and how it is manufactured. The vast majority of container manufacturers opt for high speed low strength construction because it is more cost effective, this approach is more environmentally harmful and is best suited for indoor residential applications.  To yield the highest strength to weight ratio IAP utilizes the highest quality raw materials and we build our containers by hand to insure they meet the highest standards. This process is slower and more time consuming but in the end you get the best possible results that are needed for outdoor commercial use. 

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So when we talk about durability we break it down by lifecycle, how long will it last? As you can imagine we have all done this, buy something that was not intended for it's use, so what happens we have to replace it much sooner than we anticipated and as a result end up wasting money and time.  If you are running a business that means down time and a lower net operating income.  If you select the right product from the start you are able to avoid these pitfalls and increase the likelyhood of a longer period of time that is trouble free. To insure longevity we start with a robust fiberglass form that is reinforced with steel, to be sure that you have a long lasting finish we create our Fusion finishes from real metal that is resistant to fading and scratching.  Who would have thought that so much thought and innovation would be needed for an outdoor container? We have spent the time and energy to insure you have a lightweight, durable and beautiful container that you can enjoy for years to come. 


Extra Large Fiberglass Planters

  • Written by Chris

Extra large fiberglass planters are a niche, it takes time to perfect the engineering to handle loads of extra large planters. As you can imagine the volume of soil and water can be immense when it comes to loads on the side wall of the containers. There are many methods to first lighten the load of the material and this is up to the end user when doing the installation, first and foremost you need to insure drainage is plentiful and sufficient diameter, without proper drainage the containers will fill with water and multiply the load exponetially. Second you need to insure you are using the right soil, we recommend lightweight container soil, if you use soils that are clay based the internal loads exceed the density per cubic foot and will void your warranty. Lastly, if possible fill some of the void space with filler material, this will also go a long way to reduce the overall soil load. Smart planting will save you down the road and insure your container doesn't get overloaded, we are always available to guide you through the process.


Durability is number one, with extra large fiberglass planters durability is critical, we have massive loads we are dealing with so it is critical you know what you are doing. The vast majority of fiberglass planters on the market are built to a residential standard so the wall thickness is thinner and the reinforcement is weak.  After doing this for 30 plus years we do not take any short cuts and use only the most robust commercial grade raw materials to insure you have a container that is long lasting and durable. We have installations that are more than 20 years old with oversized containers so you can be confident that you can do it once and not have to do it again in a few years. 



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