Maximizing Vertical Green Space
For years of not having a garden space in NYC, I couldn’t wait to install a window box onto my petite beach cottage. The house is blessed with a small garden in the front with plenty of vertical garden space to play with. I love the look of a wire basket with a coco- liner and because it is light and durable, the window box would be easy for me to install by myself. I am also a big proponent of flexible design, and this installation leaves very small holes behind if you want to take flower boxes with you.
Go Big With Window Boxes
I bought black wire window boxes from Home Depot and since they only had the 24″-size in stock, I installed two boxes side by side to fit the width of my window. A smaller window box would shrink the look of the house front. I painted the flower boxes hunter green to match the shutters on the house.
These window boxes do not come with the proper installation hardware. My main concern was to prevent water from the plant boxes from damaging the house exterior. After reading online about the do’s and don’ts of window box installation, this is what worked for this project:
1. Look out for flower box brackets that hold boxes at least an inch away from the house. If not, buy 1-inch metal spacers. These will keep the window box from touching the house exterior and will help prevent water damage and moisture build up behind the box. For a little camouflage, these spacers were painted green to match the box.
2. Use 4-inch deck screws. Use a level to measure and mark your holes onto the house. I wanted the window box to be about 1-1/2″ below the window sill but that is a matter of preference. Make sure and use a small drill bit to make a pilot hole first. Don’t skip this step or you might split the wood on the house. Place screw through the back of the window box through the metal spacer and into the house exterior.
3. Use two planter box brackets per 24″-wide box. You can also use drapery rod brackets like I did, which were left over from a previous project. They are also a little cheaper. The weight of the soil in your window box will get very heavy with water and rain and these wire boxes need extra support from sagging. To get an accurate measurement for the brackets, I screwed the window box in first, made my marks for the brackets, then unscrewed the deck screws halfway, enough to lift the box out of the way to screw the brackets in. Then I tightened up the top screws. For the brackets I used 2-1/2″-size deck screws.
Because I am a garden newbie, I opted to keep the hydrangeas in their containers instead of planting them in the box, in case they experience an untimely demise. This way I can do a quick swap out any time in the season.
Cheers and enjoy!