Best Bollards, Benches, and Hardscape of 2021

Reliance's annual year-in-review & trend prediction for 2022

A New Year’s Eve concept with champagne flutes and a clock moving from 2021 to 2022.

Last year in our yearly round-up, we acknowledged the challenges of 2020, and hoped that 2021 would bring “new, less anxious normalcy.” This year’s post finds the omicron Covid variant canceling holiday plans and bringing anxiety back to the fore.

However, in some ways, 2021 did provide us a little ease. Although many of our team still works in a hybrid model combining work from home and work in office, when it was safe we enjoyed coming together for celebrations and work-sessions. Our stalwart finance, executive, and warehouse teams are always in the building, and with growing comfort. Although masks are now part of our work uniforms, a new less anxious normal was found.  We found our adaptations to Covid have not weakened us as a company, and that even remotely, we’re still exploring, innovating, and seeking for the next great idea. Whether flat-pack benches to beautify parks, or a whole new intelligent site management line, we’re committed to finding out what’s making site management hard for our clients, and then offering solutions to make their lives easier.

At this time of year, we take a moment to reflect on our standout trends and imagine where we’re going in 2022!

Perennial winners – the R-7539 and R-8464

Fluted bollard with a round ball cap
Lockable, removable stainless post with reflective tape

R-7539 Bollard:

  • Height: 35-3/4 in
  • Body Diameter: 5-3/4 in
  • Base Diameter: 5-3/4 in
  • Weight: 75 lbs
  • Material: Ductile Iron
  • Max. Inner Pipe Diameter: 4-1/2 in
  • Max. Inner Pipe Height: 31 in

R-8464 Bollard:

  • Function: Removable
  • Height: 35-1/2 in
  • Body Diameter: 4-1/2 in
  • Base Diameter: 6-1/2 in
  • Weight: 26 lbs
  • Material: 316 Stainless Steel

In most years, our two best-sellers are the R-7539 and the R-8464. Our R-7539 is a well-loved decorative bollard with several possible uses. It can be a standalone fixed bollard, a removable bollard, or a cover for security pipe or crash-rated bollards. It is beautiful as an accent to many architectural styles, and especially loved around brick and stone buildings.

The R-8464 is sleek and stylish stainless removable bollard that is often used around plazas and parks to create variable accessibility. It is often used with modernist looks, especially those featuring a lot of glass and steel.

Unexpected contender: R-7530

Tall, slim, fluted bollard with small ball cap and straight sides

R-7530 Bollard:

  • Height: 39 in
  • Body Diameter: 5-1/4 in
  • Base Diameter: 10 in
  • Weight: 61 lbs
  • Material: Ductile Iron
  • Max. Inner Pipe Diameter: 3-1/2 in
  • Max. Inner Pipe Height: 29 in

With our crash-rated bollards being our quickest growing category, we were surprised to find the R-7530 jumping ahead many places in popularity. This tall, slender bollard can still be placed over security pipe, but its main function is to guide and inform. The sleek profile offers the polar opposite of our heavier crash rated mounts and covers. We’ve seen growth in all models of the R-7530 including removable and fixed mounts and the lighter aluminum version.

In the top ten: a new kid on the block

A flat-top R-7307 stainless steel bollard sleeve

R-7307 Bollard:

  • Height: 36 in
  • Body Diameter: 8-5/8 in
  • Base Diameter: 8-5/8 in
  • Weight: 47 lbs
  • Material: 316 Stainless
  • Finish: Satin #6 Buffed
  • Max. Inner Pipe Diameter: 6-5/8 in
  • Max. Inner Pipe Height: 34 in

Our R-7307 flat-top stainless bollard was a new addition this year (alongside the slanted-top R-7306.) Stainless steel is the metal of the moment. Like all our 316 stainless steel, it has a silver-gray luster that looks good in front of many different sites. We use 316 grade stainless for our bollards, because most are placed outside, where they can be challenged by weather and de-icing chemicals. We further buff the steel to #6 satin, reducing possible venues for corrosion and enhancing its inbuilt corrosion protection. For chemically challenging environments in which bollards are exposed to high salt or other chemicals, a powder coat or IronArmor finish over stainless steel offers double the protection.

This cover fits our R-1009-40 crash rated bollard, which is engineered and tested to stop a compact car moving at 40 mph.

A silver bench cut with lacy designs sits by a seawall walk
We introduced flat-pack aluminum benches: choose standard Newport or Austin designs, or customize your own.

Another newbie: customizable benches

Close up of the laser cut pattern of the Austin bench

Austin Bench:

  • Height: 16-3/4 in
  • Width: 59 in
  • Body Diameter: 6 in
  • Weight: 37.5 lbs
  • Material: Aluminum 6061
  • Finish: IronArmor

This year we introduced a new line of aluminum benches. Starting with the Austin and the Newport, these flatpack aluminum benches, finished in premium IronArmor, are beautiful, easy to ship, and light but strong. The laser-cut patterns offered with Austin and Newport come standard, but benches can be customized with shapes or logos. Contact us to consult with our engineers on the feasibility of your design!

Best bike parking: bike lockers now sharing the podium!

A black bike locker with silver handle and lock

Locker specifications:

  • Weight: 163 lbs
  • Function: Bike Locker
  • Height: 48 in
  • Length: 80 in
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Width (front): 36 in
  • Width (back): 11 in

In 2018, we predicted that bike lockers might be a future breakout winner in bike parking, after seeing it trending upward in California. Not only did that prediction come true in 2019, the bike locker’s functionality and security won it top spot in 2020 and in 2021. This year, it shares number of units sold with R-8224, our steel ring rack, available in stock in standard black.

A black powder coated bike rack in the shape of a ring

R-8224 specifications:

  • Weight: 32 lbs
  • Function: Bike Rack
  • Height: 31-1/2 in
  • Length: 31-1/2 in
  • Material: Steel
  • Gauge: 11

Of course, bike lockers and bike racks serve different purposes. Bike racks are generally used for parking of less than two hours; lockers are the stash-and-go solution for long days and lots of gear.

Best hardscape: Metropolitan Tree Grate

Tree grate in iron with a pattern of rays shining out from the center tree aperture

R-8706 Metropolitan Grate:

  • Weight: 330 lbs
  • Function: Tree Grate
  • Length: 48 in
  • Width: 48 in
  • Material: Grey Cast Iron
  • Finish: Raw, Black Paint

Our tactile paving line was the first of our hardscape offerings to be noticed when we started our hardscape line. However, 2021 was the year that our adjustable tree grate sales outpaced tactile paving. The hands down favorite was the Metro tree grate, with its rays recalling art deco styling. We started the year finishing all our cast iron grates in black paint, but due to popular request will be reversing our policy: now, we will sell the grates with a raw finish which develops a beautiful red-brown patina over time, and only finish with black (or any other color) by special request.

A man stands with hands held high on a hilltop in front of a sunrise with the numbers 2022 beside him
Here’s to making places people want to be, through 2022 and beyond!

Looking forward into 2022

2021 saw several big projects coming out of our Smart Cities line, which will launch in 2022 as its own division. We’ve been making huge strides in our ability to aid cities to observe and manage things like waste, recycling, and water. Our intelligent software is designed to alert site and city managers of changing conditions before floods or overflow happen. Keep your eyes peeled for announcements.

2022 is also a year we look forward to introducing new site furnishings to complement our new benches and bins. We’re working on suites of customizable products to help give your facility or neighborhood its own unique look while providing important amenities.

Keep your eye out, too: in the next few weeks you’ll be able to buy some simple products for our website and from Google shopping. By the end of 2022 we hope to make in-stock, standard items as easy to buy as click and go.

Happy New Year, Everyone –

All the best for 2022!