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Window Planter Box Plans: How to Build a Window Box
Add Color and Interest with a Window Box
Our shed looked pretty good. We painted it gray with white trim to match our house, added a custom built birdhouse cupola to the roof, planted a some shrubs around its base, and hung a few other signs and other decorations including a moose antler. To complete the transition from a bland storage shack into an attractive cottage garden shed, we wanted to add a window box.
A window box filled with colorful annuals, interesting foliage plants and edible herbs is an attractive addition to the facade of nearly any building. There are many types and styles available to fit almost every window, deck and railing. The traditional planter boxes are often made from redwood, cedar or pine. Styles range from a basic utilitarian rectangular box to ornately decorated Victorian window accessories. A variety of window planters are also offered in metal, plastic and composites.
Finding a planting box to fit the window in the shed was more difficult than I expected, so I decided to build my own. Building a custom window planter box is an easy DIY woodworking project that can be completed in just a few hours. I made ours from an inexpensive pine board, a leftover piece of plywood and a few bits from the scrap box.
We filled the finished window box with annual flowers. After the summer blooms fade and the seasons change, we swap out the spent flowers for decorative winter berries and greens. The little cottage garden shed now looks right at home in our backyard landscape.
How to Build a Window Planter Box
The Cutting List:
- Front (A): 31"L x 7"W
- Sides (B): 6-3/4"L x 7"W
- Back (C): 31"L x 7"W
- Bottom (D): 29-1/2"L x 6"W
Begin your project by measuring the width of your window. On our backyard shed, the window is 24" wide. The planter spans the width of the window plus the trim on either side, bringing the total length of my window box to 31" long.
We designed our planter to hold 6" nursery pots, so the interior of the box measures 6" wide. The length for each piece of stock was cut according to the cutting list and assembled following to the Window Box Planter Plans diagram (below). Before you make any cuts to your lumber, adjust the measurement of each piece to fit your window.
The bottom of the planter was cut from a scrap of exterior grade plywood, and sized to fit the inside opening of the box. Supported by cleats tacked around the base of the interior, the bottom section is removable for easy cleaning and re-potting. Drilling a few holes through the bottom provides drainage.
To add a little style to this simple box, I added thin pieces of trim around the perimeter of the front section. Another section of trim divides the center of the front panel. It is much easier to paint the trim pieces before attaching them to contrast against the gray paint of the planter and match the trim around the window and door.
Some Assembly Required
Assembling the window box is straightforward, and uses a combination of weather-resistant nails or screws together with exterior grade glue. Attach the sides (Part B) to the back section (Part C), taking care to position the back section between the side pieces.
Position the front section (Part A) across the two side pieces, and then secure the pieces with glue and screws (or nails). Check to ensure that the planter box is 'square' and each corner measures 90 degrees. Measure and cut the bottom section to fit inside the window box. For my planter, the bottom pieces measures 29-1/2" long by 6" wide.The bottom section is not secured to the planter box. Instead, the bottom piece rests on 3/4" x 3/4" cleats that are attached to the interior of the planter. Measure and cut the cleats to fit, and then attach the cleats with nails or screws.
Paint the inside and outside of the window box with a quality exterior grade paint. Now is a good time to paint the trim too, before the trim is applied to the front section of the planter.
The trim pieces were cut from a thin strip of wood that measures 3/4" wide by 1/4" thick. Measure and cut two pieces of trim to run laterally across the top and bottom of the front section (mine are 29-1/2" long) and attach using small nails. Then, measure and cut the upright trim pieces and attach with a few more nails. It's time to hang your window box and add the plants!
Window Planter Box Plans:
A Cleat Hanging System
I use a simple cleat system for hanging projects such as birdhouses and this window box. The cleat is made by ripping a scrap piece of stock on a 45-degree angle. As shown in the diagram, one piece is attached to the window box, and locks into the second piece that is attached to garden shed.
To make the hanging cleat, start with a piece of wood that is at least four inches wide, and slightly shorter than the length of the window box.
Tilt the table saw blade to 45 degrees, then set the fence to 2 " from the blade to rip the stock into two mirror image pieces, each with a 45 degree bevel cut along one edge. When ripped at a 45 degree bevel, the 4 inch wide piece of stock will yield two mirror image cleats that measure approximately 2 " on the wide side.
One cleat is attached to the back of the project with the 45-degree angle of the cleat pointing downward, forming an inverted "V" between the back of the box and the outside surface of the cleat.
Attach the second cleat where you want to hang the planter, this time with the "V" of the cleat facing upward. Use weather resistant screws, and make sure the cleat is level.
When fitted together, the two 45-degree "V"s from each piece lock together to securely hold the window box in place.
Adding a filler strip along the bottom edge of the window box below the cleat on the backside will hold the planter level upright and plumb. Cut the filler strip to the same thickness as the cleats.
Window Box Container Gardening - P. Allen Smith
Advice on creating an eye-catching window box arrangment.
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© 2012 Anthony Altorenna