Step by step tutorial for how to build a simple window box planter. Add character and curb appeal to your home or garden shed with rot resistant wooden cedar boxes for some old fashioned farmhouse charm.
Table of Contents
- DIY Garden Shed Window Box
- Why I Love These Window Boxes
- Tips for Building Simple Window Boxes
- Tools and Materials
- How to Build a Simple Cedar Window Planter Box
- How to Hang a Window Box
- Best Fertilizer for Window Boxes
- Best Flowers for Window Boxes
- What is in my Window Box
- How Many Plants Should be in a Window Box?
- Do Window Boxes Need Drainage?
- What is the Best Wood to Use for Window Boxes?
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In Missouri, the spring weather is finally making an appearance. The greenhouses are filled with plants and it has me anxious to start working in the garden.
It seems as though I have a tendency to get in a bit of a hurry, especially when it comes to planting flowers too early. In years past, I have lost annuals by putting them out while the days are warm, but the nights are too cool.
This year, I have added a garden shed to the backyard. While small in size, the space will be used for garden tools, seeds, and a place where I can store my beekeeping supplies out of the weather.
With a small front porch, and a lot of windows for natural light, the building already has a lot of charm. Adding these DIY Simple Window Box Planters gives it even more character.
DIY Garden Shed Window Box
The backyard of our home is turning into a garden oasis that I have always dreamed about. With the newly added kitchen windows, I can stand at the kitchen sink washing dishes, and overlook the garden. The space is filled with raised garden beds, bee hives, cut flowers, and goats grazing in the pen.
Now, a beautiful garden shed offers a space for storage, work, and a porch for resting. It also creates a space for adding more beauty with window boxes, planted flowers and vintage galvanized garden junk filled with perennials or annuals.
This project is so easy to build and with just a few hours of time, you can also be enjoying these DIY Simple Window Box Planters.
Why I Love These Window Boxes
- Window boxes add color to a home no matter what the season. The look can be changed out four times a year, for each season. From early spring and summer annuals to hardy frost-resistant flowers, gourds and pumpkins, there are many ways to change the look with the seasons.
- Window boxes dress up the exterior of a home or shed and add beauty, character and charm.
- The plastic liners are removable. In our area, we experience warm days and cold nights during the early Spring season. The plastic liners, filled with flowers, can be lifted out and put inside the garden shed in the evening, so that frost will not kill the flowers when overnight temperatures get below freezing.
- These DIY simple window box planters are long lasting and will not fall apart since they have no wooden bottom board. Water does not sit in the bottom of the box, but instead drains straight out since there is no bottom in the box.
Tips for Building Simple Window Boxes
- Gather all of your supplies and be sure to have everything you need. Building and creating is something that I love to do, but I hate stopping in mid-project to run to the store for something I forgot.
- Use long lasting, rot resistant lumber. Cedar is one of the best types of wood to use, and is what was used to build the raised garden beds in our backyard.
- Pre-drill holes to prevent wood pieces from splitting while building the window box.
- Window boxes are very heavy. Locate where the studs are on the building in order to safely hang a window box that will not damage the home or building that it is being attached to.
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Tools and Materials
- 2 – cedar picket fence boards
- 3 – 1-in x 2-in x 8-ft Square Unfinished Cedar Board
- 120 grit sandpaper if sanding window box before painting
- Miter saw
- Drill bit for pilot holes
- Tape measure
- Socket wrench
- Outdoor rated wood glue
- Exterior paint
- Paint brush
- Lag bolts
- Plastic planter boxes
How to Build a Simple Cedar Window Planter Box
To make a planter for your home or shed, it will have to be a custom design for your windows. The width, depth and length will determine the size of box that you will need to build. These are general directions that I am giving, but make your dimensions to fit the planter size that is needed for your space.
Measure for Window Box
Use a tape measure to determine the length of the window. Measuring from the start of the window trim on the left to the end of the window trim on the right. If the window has shutters on either side, measure from the start of the shutter on the left to the end of the shutter on the right. Write the measurement down.
The depth of the window box should be deep enough to cover the front of the plastic liners that will sit inside the cedar wooden planter box. For the planter in this tutorial, it is built deeper than the liner, however, this was personal choice for the desired finished look.
To determine the width of the window box, measure the plastic liners and add 11/2″ for the width of the boards that will hold the liners in place.
Make the Cuts
After determining the full width of the planter, cut front and back boards to the appropriate length that match the measurement. After cutting the front and back boards, cut two side boards to the correct width that is needed.
Attach Liner Supports
To hold the plastic window box liners in place, cut the 1-in x 2-in x 8-ft Square Unfinished Cedar Board into the size that will fit the window box being built. The plastic liner will sit on top of these pieces, so leave about an inch or two from the top so that the plastic liners will be hidden behind the cedar window box planter.
To determine how far apart to place the liner supports, measure the plastic liners. For instance, my window box is 63.5 inches long. The plastic window boxes I used are each 30″ long. So, I placed the wooden liner supports far enough apart to hold the planters.
To attach the wooden liner supports, use exterior wood glue to attach them to the boards. Then, for extra support screw them into place using wooden exterior screws. The wooden liner supports are placed on the front, back and sides of the boards, the photos below show what this should look like.
Connect the Sides and Back
To assemble the sides to the front of the box, drill pilot holes for evenly spaced holes. Attach with exterior wood glue and exterior wood screws. Repeat with the other side of the box until all sides are together forming the window box.
Add Bottom Support Pieces
This step may not have been necessary but it was added for a few reasons. One, if I decide to add deeper liners in the future, the bottom support pieces will help hold the additional weight of the flower boxes. Two, it gives more support for holding the box together, making it last even longer.
The third thought was that in the future, if I wanted to add corbels or brackets, there would be a place to attach them to. So, for this step, determine if they may really be needed. However, after attaching the window box to the garden shed wall, it is extremely sturdy and these were probably not needed.
To attach the bottom pieces, I measured and cut the same board I used for the liner supports to fit the space. Then, attached with wood glues and exterior screws. To prevent the wood from splitting, pre-drill the holes for the screws.
Check the Fit
The old saying goes, measure twice and cut once. In this case, I often measured more than twice in order to be sure that all of the measurements were correct. Once the box is built, flip it over and put the plastic flower box liners inside the cedar window box to be sure they fit.
The wooden liner supports is what the window box sits on for support. This window box is 63.5 inches long, and the liners are each 30 inches long. There is a small gap in the middle where the window boxes do not touch, however, this will be un-noticeable once the flowers have all filled in.
As seen in the photo below, trim was added after the window box was hung. However, to make the process easier, trim should be added before hanging the wooden cedar window box. Without trim, the flower box looked a little plain. Instead of taking it back down, I measured the trim pieces, cut and attached them with exterior wood glue and wood screws.
Sand, Paint and Fill Screw Holes
Before planting the window box; sand, prime and then paint the box an accent color to compliment your home or garden shed color scheme. Wood filler can be used to fill the screw holes, if desired. I would suggest painting the window box before it is hung in order to prevent the possibility of getting paint on the home or garden/potting shed.
The paint color on the wooden window box is called Tricorn Black from Sherwin Williams. This color was chosen so that it would match the front door of the garden shed.
How to Hang a Window Box
To secure a window box planter, the most important thing is to be sure that is correctly attached to the wall of the building it is being hung on. An improperly hung window box can cause damage to your building, yourself or others.
Use a stud finder to locate the studs in the wall under the window. Mark the spot of each stud. It is recommended that you mount your window box to as many studs as possible.
Drill Pilot Holes
Center the planter box underneath your window. Mark where the studs are onto the box. Drill pilot holes through the back side of the box and into the stud. Be sure to properly align markings, so that the planter box is level.
Attach Window Box and Add Liners
Bolt the window box planter to the wall using a socket wrench to attach it to the wall with lag bolts. Then, place the plastic window liners in the cedar window.
Add Potting Mix and Flowers
Grab a sack of potting mix which is specifically designed for planters. Fill the window box planter 1”-2” from the top edge with the potting mix. Smooth out the potting mix. With the plants still in the containers, arrange your plants to whatever looks best for your visual look.
Stagger the position of the plants according to their height on the plants label. Taller plants should be placed in the back, with shorter ones in the front.
Start on one end of the window box, begin removing flowers from their containers and planting. Gently break apart the bottom of the root base so that the roots will grow and expand faster. Then add in a fertilizer, cover plants with extra potting mix and water.
Best Fertilizer for Window Boxes
For fertilizer, I use Oscomote Plus. When planting, add 1 teaspoon for each bedding plant sized plant. For a 4″ pot, use 2 teaspoons. Work the fertilizer into the hole with the dirt and then plant. Water and rain will slowly release the fertilizer and feed the plants all season long.
Best Flowers for Window Boxes
With many plants to choose from, it can be a bit overwhelming to choose which flowers are best for window boxes. Then, one must take into account what type of sunlight the plants will get. Do they need sun, shade, or maybe a little of both?
While almost every window box can be beautiful, there are a few simple steps in choosing flowers. A great design will include; thrillers, spillers and fillers!
- Thrillers: Plants that add height, and are generally put either in the center or at the back of the window box.
- Spillers: Plants that hang over the edge of the window box and are placed close to the front edge.
- Fillers: Plants that make the container look full, generally placed in front of, or around, the thriller plants. Choose plants that can be pinched back and will continue to flower or produce more foliage throughout the season.
What is in my Window Box
- Lanai White Trailing Verbena: A favorite annual with a trailing growth habit, it is an early bloomer with ever-blooming flowers all season long. Tolerant of drought, heat and humidity
- Crazytunia Black Mamba: One of my all time favorite petunias! This plant is a strong, fast grower that offers non-stop color all season long.
- Patriot White Geranium: Growing up to 18″ tall this is the plant to put in the back of a window box. With early flowering, large blooms, and being heat tolerant, this is a favorite in many of my flower gardens!
- Silver Falls: A vigorous, heat and drought tolerant trailing plant with shimmery silvery leaves that forms a mass of soft leaves. Plant requires no deadheading.
How Many Plants Should be in a Window Box?
There is no “right” answer in determining how many plants should be in a window box. If you want a window box to look full right away, place as many plants as possible into the window box. However, doing this can cause the plants to become crowded and can be more prone to disease problems.
Personally, I prefer to allow enough room between plants so that the planter looks full in 2 or 3 weeks. In a 30″ inch planter, I use 1-12 plants. It takes some patience in waiting for the flowers to fill in and make a full window box. However, I have found that the plants seem healthier and last longer.
Do Window Boxes Need Drainage?
Window boxes absolutely need drainage. One of the key benefits of building this DIY Simple Window Box Planter, is that the box has no bottom, therefore, it will not rot and makes the box long lasting. The plants will stay healthier and need less watering since they are planted in a plastic self watering window box.
What is the Best Wood to Use for Window Boxes?
Certain types of wood aren’t suitable for building window boxes. Cedar is the best choice as it is both decay-resistant and affordable. Naturally insect and rot resistant, cedar isn’t prone to splitting or splintering. It can be left natural or can be stained.
Adding a DIY Simple Window Box Planter to your home or garden shed adds beauty outside the window. Filled with blooming annual flowers, perennials, or herbs, these boxes add that extra bit of charm to your space.
An excellent DIY project, even for beginners, I hope this project inspires you to build your own window boxes and begin dreaming of ways to fill them for each season!