How to create the perfect window box by David Domoney
Planting window boxes is a simple, but effective way to make your windows look fantastic without using up precious indoor space. Here are five easy-to-follow tips for creating stunning window boxes that really stand out from the crowd.
First up, choosing the right planters is all-important. Remember that, while the flowers in them may fade, your window boxes themselves are here to stay. Invest in some good-looking, good quality containers that will stay looking incredible for years to come. Wooden boxes are better than plastic or metal containers since they protect plant roots from heat in summer and insulate them from cold in winter. For a rustic look, forge your own window boxes out of fruit and veg crates from the greengrocer or buy wooden troughs from your local garden centre. Keep them in warm wooden tones for a cottagey feel that ties in with timber window frames or paint them in bold modern colours to fit with sleek Aluminium windows.
Second, prepare the box. Use new compost every time you plant as last season’s soil will have been depleted of the nutrients that are important for healthy growth. To make this easier, you could line your window box with plastic sheeting. This will enable you to pull the soil out in one big clump each time you are changing your flowers. Provide adequate drainage by punching holes in the bottom of your planter along with any plastic sheeting you may have used and by placing a layer of gravel inside. This lifts the soil off standing water in the base of the window box, which helps to prevent waterlogged plants and subsequent root rot.
Third, choose your plants to reflect the changing seasons. What could be better in summer than a window box bursting with gorgeous double-headed Petunias and bright Marigolds? What could beat a box chock-full of dwarf Chrysanthemum and late-flowering multi-coloured Pansies in autumn? The frost-resistant blooms of Hellebore (Christmas rose) are perfect for winter, while jolly Primroses and miniature Daffodils herald the coming of spring. Throw in a few trailing varieties to turn your window boxes into tumbling waterfalls of colour or add height with plants that stand tall, such as ornamental grasses.
Fourth, plant them well. Space plants carefully to ensure that they have enough room to spread without strangling one another by checking the label on each variety. Pansies, for example, will spread to around 30cm wide, while some varieties of Fuschia will grow to around 45cm across. While your window boxes may look a little sparse to begin with, your flowers will soon spread, looking increasingly fantastic and lasting longer than if they had been overcrowded at the start. If you feel they look too bare, cover the soil with an attractive gravel mulch or coloured glass beads. This has the added benefit of preventing water from evaporating away so quickly during summer, keeping soil moist for longer.
Fifth, water, water water! Due to their large surface area, potted containers dry out much more quickly than beds and borders. On hot sunny days, window boxes will need watering as often as once or twice a day to stay looking their best. Summer-flowering annuals will benefit from weekly feeding whilst in bloom, too—just make sure the soil is moist before feeding, as this will aid uptake.
To give your home a real facelift both inside and out, you might consider replacing old windows with new. Beaten up old sash windows can these days be replaced with sympathetic replicas that maintain the beauty of period homes, scruffy modern frames can be replaced with long-lasting, almost maintenance free uPVC options. Whatever your budget, there’s plenty to choose from. Decorate your new windows with glorious window boxes and you’ll be the talk of the town.
'How to create the perfect window box by David Domoney'