How to Install Arched Top Shutters Correctly

Photo Credit: The Godby's

Wooden arched top shutters on the upstairs accompanied by straight-top shutters on the lower level.

Historically, shutters only served a functional role: that of covering the house’s windows, protecting them against the elements – since back then glass was something not many could afford. Nowadays, shutters serve both a functional role – as they protect your window and a decorative role – as their presence can greatly contribute to the curb appeal of your home.

It is no surprise therefore that an increasingly number of people turn to installing exterior shutters when it comes to home improvements, especially since shutters also increase property value. Although it looks easy enough, not everyone knows how to install shutters properly, especially arched top shutters which are a bit trickier to mount because of their shape. And because you probably want to make sure that you do a good job, here are a few things you need to pay attention to:

Placement

open-closed-arched-shutters

The #1 mistake made during arch top shutter installation is the panel orientation…oftentimes even by hired installers!

You don’t have to place shutters at every window. Use them only for the windows you feel could benefit from the presence of shutters. In fact, only single windows should be fitted with shutters, as fitting them on wider windows would be impractical – they would not cover the entire window. Even if you just want them for décor they would look awkward.

Choosing the Right Shutters

You need to select a shutter that matches the shape and size of your window perfectly. The arch of the window can be elliptical or a semi-circle. You need to then measure the width of the window opening. This will help you get the exact width of the two arched window shutters, since they need to meet in the middle of the window.

Wood composite arched top window shutters flank a traditional window. Exterior shutter hardware supports and holds the panels open.

There aren’t many styles of arched top shutters on the market, because of their special shape. However, they match pretty much any architectural style easily, and you will find it easy to find something that is a perfect fit for your home – whether you are looking for something classical looking or for something with a more modern look.

Shutter Installation

The materials you need to use for shutter installation depend on whether you are interested in using them only as decorations, or you wish to actually use them to protect your home from the scorching sun. You should know that the difference in costs between the two is not significant – and it pays to be able to actually use them. Either way, attach the shutters at the edges of the window, so that they look natural. Make sure they are symmetrically placed, and that you didn’t attach them backwards – the exterior design must face the wall.

It’s easy to make mistakes when installing arched top shutters. You need to pay attention and correct any mistakes made. That way, you’ll be one step closer to giving your home that perfect look you’ve always dreamed of.

Now that you know how to install them correctly – start shopping exterior shutters for the perfect fit for the architectural style of your house.

Metal Lantern Centerpiece

How to Decorate Metal Lanterns

Metal Lantern Centerpiece

Create a unique centerpiece with a metal and glass lantern. These living table mats are cool too!

For first-timers and DIY veterans alike, deciding how to decorate lanterns is a fun and challenging part of the process. Some projects call for simplicity like the effortless feel of decorative candle lanterns, perhaps adorned with a ring of fresh garlands outside the enclosure. And for special occasions, transform metal lanterns into Christmas themed centerpieces or unforgettable wedding decoration ideas. With so many design concepts to choose from, here’s a few of our favorites to get you started:

Centerpiece Table Ideas

Spruce up everyday home decor with elegant table centerpiece ideas crafted using iron lanterns. On a dining room table, a kitchen island, or atop a patio set, indoor and outdoor lanterns add a touch of personal charm.

One classic option begins with our Victorian Table Lantern and your favorite pillar candle. Understated and elegant, this lantern provides the perfect display case for a gently flickering flame: A timeless accent that is sure to warm the ambiance at any dinner table. And it makes a great housewarming gift, too!

Lanterns for kitchen and tabletop display are also a wonderful opportunity to showcase your family’s personality. Fill with keepsakes like vacation souvenirs, children’s art projects, or a string of wildflower garlands to create an irresistible conversation piece.

Holiday Themed Lanterns

Give your Christmas, Passover or Thanksgiving table decor a boost using lanterns for decoration. For Christmas themed centerpieces, it’s as simple as choosing favorite yuletide materials: ornaments, garlands, holly berries, light strings, colored candles, and more. An enclosure like our Oxford Garden Lantern is ideal for combinations of bright reds and greens, all arranged to gleam through the lantern’s glass sides.

Incorporate lanterns into Thanksgiving table decor with festive autumn materials like dried fallen leaves, miniature pumpkins, and textured husks. Create your own favorite combinations and delight holiday guests with all the colors and shapes of the season.

Decorative Metal Lanterns

We added a candle, smooth stones, ribbon, and a seashell to create our beach-themed metal lantern.

Seaside & Beach Lantern

Start with simple bronze or black lanterns, fill with tokens of the sea or lakeshore, and, presto! You have a charming beach lantern that will warm any tabletop. Whether you live near the water or not, seaside themed lanterns are a breeze to create. Choose combinations of sand, seashells, pebbles and corals to construct a calming coastal theme. These can be collected in nature, or purchased at most any craft store.

Wedding Decoration Ideas

For a memorable wedding decoration, professional planners and DIY’ers alike are loving indoor and outdoor lanterns. An all-around charming look coupled with the endless opportunity to customize makes this an irresistible option for the big day! Cater to the bride and groom’s tastes by displaying glimpses of their life together within each lantern, like a folded map for the honeymoon destination, or a small photograph of the happy couple together. Or, keep it simple and classic with decorative candle lanterns and enclosures filled with brilliant floral arrangements.

White garage door with decorative hardware

Choosing and Installing Decorative Garage Door Hardware

White garage door with decorative hardware

Decorative garage door hardware can give it old-fashioned charm. Image from Houzz.

It’s the little things that matter, especially when it comes to curb appeal.  Although your garage door usually melts into the background, it’s one of the biggest surfaces on the outside of your home.  You can choose to ignore it or treat it like a canvas and use it to enhance the visual appeal of your house.  Adding a little bit of decorative garage door hardware to a plain garage door will make a big visual impact, especially in a neighborhood full of similar models.

Choosing Decorative Garage Door Hardware

You can buy decorative garage door hardware in nearly any style to compliment all types of architecture, but you should select the hardware you’ll install on your garage with great care.  After all, once it’s installed, it’s hard to remove without damaging the garage door.  Your garage door hardware should stand out, but in a way that makes your home appear more elegant, instead of overly cluttered.

Many homeowners start with iron gate hinges, hung in pairs on both sides of the door.  You’ll be surprised how this small, inexpensive touch gives your garage door a totally different look.  One or two iron door handles will further enhance your garage door, especially if you repeat the hardware’s style on other exterior items like shutters and doors.  Speakeasy grills are another garage door option for homes that have decorative elements evenly balanced across the face – after all, too much hardware on the garage door can turn classy to tacky if the rest of your home is plain.

Garage door hardware is easy to install thanks to the pre-drilled holes.

Garage door hardware is easy to install thanks to the pre-drilled holes.

 

Installing Garage Door Hardware

Garage door hardware is easy to install with a power screwdriver and drill.  Positioning your hardware in the exact right spot isn’t as straight-forward, though.  Before you even take the drill out of the workshop, get a friend to help you decide exactly where to put the hardware you’ve purchased.  Once it’s on, it’s on and there’s no turning back.

Garage door hinges are typically set at intervals about 1/4 of the way from both the top and bottom of the door.  Whether you want to install two sets of hinges to create the illusion of two doors is up to you, but many garage doors lend themselves to this installation.  Just make sure to install the inner hinges along the visual center of the garage door if you opt for the double door look.

Handles are typically installed at the horizontal center of a single door or between two sets of hinges on doors with eight hinges.  Depending on the look you’re going for, they can be put into either a vertical or horizontal orientation, near the bottom of the door or near the vertical center.  Speakeasy grills are a fun way to transform small garage windows, or to simulate windows that aren’t there.  Place these in the upper fourth of the door for best effect.

No matter the style of your home, there is garage door hardware out there to give it a little something extra.  Go ahead, transform that blank garage door into an amazing visual asset.

Cafe storefront with planters and flowers

Enhancing your Storefront with Planters and Window Boxes

Cafe storefront with planters and flowers

A cafe can use tall planters to define an outdoor seating area.

Planters and window boxes do a lot to dress up a home, but they can also make your business storefront pop. Window boxes and planters introduce a little color and life to an otherwise dreary sidewalk or asphalt parking lot. They can also slow down pedestrians, people who may walk by every day but have never really noticed your business before. Decorating the outside of your business with plants often attracts people who might otherwise keep walking.

Make a Visual Impact

No matter the business you’re in, plants can make a huge visual impact. Just like signage and product placement, your window boxes and planters will magically transform your business, if you choose both plants and planters carefully. Cheap-looking discount planters often warp or bleach in the sun, making your storefront look faded and tired. Spend a little extra on heavy-duty, fade resistant window boxes and planters made from natural materials like copper or tough composite plastics to give your business a professional makeover.

A doorway flanked by planters

To dress up the entrance to your business, flank the door with large planters.

 

Fragrance or Stench?

Once you’ve selected some nice window boxes and planters, sized appropriately for your business, it’s time to pick the plants. If your business is one of the many that has a scent all its own, you may want to choose your flowers and greenery carefully. There are certain smells that just don’t work together, so before planting your selections, sit outside your business with them to make sure they don’t alter your signature fragrance for the worst.

If you’re running a restaurant or a bakery, where you rely on the smell of food to attract passersby, you may want to avoid heavily perfumed flowers for several reasons. First, the smell of some flowers may overwhelm your oven-fresh cookies or alter the scent until it’s unidentifiable. Secondly, flowers with heavy, sweet scents attract bees and other stinging insects more readily than their lesser perfumed cousins.

If you intend to place flowers near your door, choose lightly scented species like calla lilies, gazanias, hybrid mulleins, pansies, hybrid petunias, poppies or tulips. Smell your plants before purchase, to ensure they aren’t rare, strongly scented individuals. Grasses and foliage plants also make excellent choices for these high traffic areas, since they’re not likely to be damaged by passing flower pickers.

Enhance Your Brand

Plants can certainly bring a feeling of home to a business, but you have to make sure you take care of them. Containers require a lot of attention, often needing watered several times a day. While you can move potted plants that have died or become scraggly away from traffic areas, window boxes are more permanent fixtures. If you don’t anticipate being able to always provide daily care, it might be worth investing in self-watering window boxes.

If finding time for plant care is a real concern, ask nursery staff to help you select plants that are low-maintenance. Plants with compact growth habits, that shed their old flowers without help and can tolerate high heat, may be your best bet. Unless your boxes are always in the shade, the summer’s heat radiated off paved surfaces can wilt delicate plants in no time flat.

Adding plants to your storefront is an easy way to attract passers-by and upgrade your brand. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, simple tools can make it foolproof. For more help with adding window boxes and planters to your storefront, call Hooks & Lattice today!

Window boxes on a railing at a cafe

Window boxes add charm to any storefront. These ornate flower boxes have an old-world feel.

A flower box beneath a window with shutters

What Size Window Boxes Should You Use?

A home with several window boxes

A good rule of thumb: Match the width of the flower box to the width of the window. Use smaller flower boxes on smaller windows, and larger ones on larger windows.

Matching the right window box to your home can add curb appeal, but there are many things to consider before making a final decision. What materials should the box be made of? How big should the box be? What size and depth is best for the plants that you want to pair with your home?

A flower box beneath a window with shutters

For windows with shutters, consider using a flower box wider than the window.

 

Window Box Length Tips

Once you’ve settled on a flower box material and style, deciding how long your new window boxes should be is the next big decision. In general, window boxes look best if they are the same width as the window, but there are exceptions to the rule. For example, if your home has shutters or wide exterior trim pieces, you may want your window boxes to run under these architectural features or sit slightly inside. Since many windows are around three feet long, almost every window box style is available in 30″ and 36″ lengths.

When placing a window box on a deck or porch railing, it should fill the space without making the railing unusable. Leave several inches between the end of the window box and any steps so that your growing plants don’t make these spaces unsafe. Use a cardboard cut-out or chalk outline to help yourself visualize the perfect window box for your space if you’re unsure of the right size.

an eight foot long window box under a window

This 96″ long window box was custom made for a homeowner who wanted something impressive! Very long flower boxes look stately.

For a very long window, railing, or fence, you can either mount several small window boxes or one large one. Most Hooks & Lattice window boxes can be purchased in 60″ and 72″ lengths, and many can be manufactured in even larger custom sizes. We’ve built flower boxes over 100″ inches long! Long window boxes look dramatic and impressive; just remember that you’ll probably need some serious help to lift and mount them.

An XL window box

This extra-wide, extra-deep window box has lots of room for plants and their roots.

 

Window Box Depth & Width

Window box suppliers like Hooks & Lattice usually offer our most popular boxes with standard dimensions and extra-large boxes that are wider and deeper than usual. Standard boxes are a good fit for many homes, but sometimes the extra-large flower boxes are more appropriate. Organic Gardening magazine recommends measuring the height of your windows before settling on a size. A box that is 20 to 25 percent of the height of your window feels adequately robust on most homes. If you choose very large brackets for your flower boxes, consider their visual impact in your decision as well.

Bigger boxes have a practical benefit: Because they hold more soil, they won’t dry out as quickly, and so they will allow you to plant less drought-tolerant plants. For this reason, we recommend that gardeners in hot climates use XL hayrack window boxes instead of hayrack planters in normal sizes. Deep flower boxes also work better for perennial plants, which tend to root more deeply than annuals. Extra-large boxes are more flexible to plant, even allowing multiple rows of small annuals if you want to create layers of colors.

This cedar flower box is just 6" deep, so your flowers will draw most of the attention.

This cedar flower box is just 6″ deep, so your flowers will draw most of the attention.

On the other hand, shallow boxes look nice on homes with delicate features, since the smaller box and brackets won’t overwhelm the home’s architectural details. Small window boxes won’t stand out in an obvious fashion, instead providing a subtle space for gardening. Our Tapered Cedar Window Box is just 6″ high, putting the spotlight on your plants. These smaller boxes are great for annuals, herbs and artificial plants. Because they hold less soil, they’ll weigh less, making them easier to lift and mount.

As with any décor decision, you should be aware of these design suggestions but ultimately choose whatever looks best to you. Don’t be afraid to defy convention! With some skill, almost anything can look great. Above all, window box gardening should be a fun and relaxing way to express your creativity. Experiment with different options and find the one that suits your style. Need flower box sizing advice? Comment below and we’ll let you know what we think!

Two window boxes on a home with flowers and ivy

The Best Trailing Plants for Hanging Baskets & Window Boxes

Window boxes and hanging baskets allow you to add color to otherwise drab areas of your landscape. Properly designing these outdoor accessories requires the right combination of plants. Most baskets and boxes contain a mix of medium, short, and trailing plants that work together to create multiple layers of texture and interest. The taller plants are often the most noticeable, while the trailing plants are pulled from the more utilitarian ranks of ground covers and vines. Here are some of our favorites.

Trailing Plants for Hanging Baskets

Three hanging baskets with bacopa, sweet potato vine, and calibrachoa

These trailing plants are popular in hanging baskets: bacopa, sweet potato vine, and calibrachoa. Photos from tamu.edu.

Hanging baskets look great with plants that create thick canopies. The most popular trailing plants for hanging baskets produce an abundance of vibrant blooms. They can turn hanging planters into huge, colorful clusters of flowers suspended in mid-air.

Hanging baskets are difficult to maintain for more than a single season, so in many areas, gardeners prefer annuals so they don’t have to worry about their flower baskets in the winter.

Annual Varieties Well-Suited to Hanging Baskets
Common Name Scientific Name
Cascadia Hybrid Snapdragon Antirrhinum pendula
Bonfire Begonia Begonia boliviensis
MiniFamous Calibrachoa Calibrachoa spp.
Cora Cascade Vinca Catharanthus roseus
Spreading Sunpatiens Impatient Impatiens x hybrida
Blue Mountain Nierembergia Nierembergia hippomanica
Avalanche, Wave, and Tidal Wave Petunia Petunia x hybrida
Boutique Blue Bacopa Sutera cordata
Whirlybird Nasturtium Tropaeolum majus
Sweet Potato Vine Ipomoea batatas

Trailing Plants for Window Boxes

Two window boxes on a home with flowers and ivy

English ivy (hedera helix) can be grown as an perennial in much of the United States. Its vines add a lovely trailing accent to window boxes.

Whether you mount them under windows or hang them from deck railings, flower boxes look great with vines spilling over the sides. Many gardeners choose trailing plants with flowers, but others prefer vibrant green leaves.

Any plants that do well in hanging baskets will thrive in window boxes, but may need to be replanted each year. Because they can hold significantly more growing medium than hanging baskets, window boxes can also support much larger, perennial plants to create container gardens that return year after year. When choosing plants for perennial window boxes, make sure that you group species with similar watering needs that do well in your USDA Hardiness Zone.

Perennial Varieties Well-Suited to Window Boxes
Common Name Scientific Name USDA Hardiness
Alyssum Alyssum spp. Zones 3 to 8
Hardy Iceplant Delosperma floribunda Zones 5 to 8
Clove Drops Diantdus caryophyllus Zones 5 to 9
Ornamental Strawberries Fragaria x ananassa Zones 4 to 8
Coral Bells Heucherella spp. Zones 4 to 9
Lantana Latana spp. Zones 8 to 10
Periwinkle Vinca minor Zones 4 to 9
English Ivy Hedera helix Zones 5 to 9

Vines for Containers

Don’t forget plants that grow up instead of hanging down! Some vines can be grown in planters and trained up a trellis or allowed to fall to the ground. Vines with shorter stems tend to do best, but longer vines can be clipped to the container’s rim once they reach a desired length to create a draped effect. Vines grow aggressively, so be sure to provide plenty of water and fertilizer during their incredible growth spurts.

Vines Well-Suited to Containers
Common Name Scientific Name
Glory Vine Eccremocarpus scaber
Morning Glory Ipomoea purpurea
Creeping Gloxinia Lophospermum spp.
Runner Beans Phaseolus spp.
Black-eyed Susan Vine Thunbergia alata
A white house with Bahama shutters

What Are the Different Shutter Styles?

Four exterior shutters

Some of the most popular shutter styles: board and batten, louvered, raised panel, and combination.

It’s the little things that make a big difference, especially when it comes to your home. Have you ever noticed how something as simple as a window box, hanging basket, or set of shutters can make your house look completely different? Choosing the right shutters, the first time, isn’t the easiest chore, though. We’ve explained the differences between the most popular shutter styles out there so you can make the best choice for your home.

Board and batten shutters are simply constructed from three or four uniform boards tied together with cross-boards at the top, center and bottom. These rugged shutters were originally designed to keep water, wind and bright sunlight out of barns and stables when glass was still prohibitively expensive. Eventually farm houses were fitted with board & batten shutters, as well, to match the outbuildings. Today, board and batten shutters blend seamlessly with charming rustic homes or up against natural products like stone or rough cedar.

Louvered shutters are the shutters that usually spring to mind when people think about shutters. These delicate-looking panels are made from a series of slatted boards that allow air and light into the home no matter the position of the slats. Most modern louver shutters are merely decorative, but they continue to have a universal appeal across architectural styles. “Operable” louvered shutters are also available – that is, shutters where the louvers really move.

A white house with Bahama shutters

Bahama shutters are perfect for coastal homes.

Bahama shutters are the iconic shutters of the tropics. When hurricane weather threatens, these top-hung shutters can be swung down and latched in place to protect glass windows from high winds. On beautiful days, the top-hung, slatted design of Bahama shutters allows tropical breezes to blow through open windows without inviting the heat of the sun. Bahama shutters add a little splash of tropical flair to any home while protecting flooring and curtains from direct sunlight.

Raised panel shutters were brought to Colonial America from Western Europe to help keep the cold out during those long New England winters. Unlike other types of shutters, paneled shutters can completely block outside light, making them ideal summer energy savers for homes with little natural shade. Raised panel shutters really stand out on a colonial or saltbox style home.

Combination shutters combine the delicate look of louvered shutters with the sturdy construction of raised panel shutters to create a truly American feel. Combination shutters have a quiet dignity that won’t overwhelm even the most delicately detailed home, making them the perfect complement to nearly any style structure.

Add character to your shutters with a cut-out design.

Add character to your shutters with a cut-out design.

Cut-Out shutters allow you to add a customized touch to your home with designs and geometric patterns cut from raised panel, combination or board and batten shutters. After choosing the style of shutter that best compliments your home, these shutters are further enhanced with your choice of design. Cut-out shutters enhance many homes, but were most popular from the 1920s to 1950s.

How should you decide which style of shutters to add to your home? That depends on your personal style and the look you’re going for. Board and batten shutters are appropriate for a country home, raised panel shutters fit in on a classic brownstone, and Bahama shutters complement a coastal beach house. Cut-out shutters let you express your whimsical side, while louvered shutters are more traditional. The material used to manufacture the exterior shutters might also play a role in your decision. Vinyl shutters are the most affordable, and it’s easy to find vinyl versions of the most popular shutter styles. Super durable fiberglass shutters, however, may not be available in every design.

Hooks & Lattice features an online showcase of these popular shutter styles with many options to complement your home’s design. Check out our handy guide to measuring your windows for the best shutter fit!

How to Decorate with Hanging Glass Terrariums

A grouping of hanging terrariums with air plants.

Fill glass terrariums with air plants for a low-maintenance hanging garden.

Hanging glass terrariums are everywhere these days, popping up in florists’ shops, homes and even on the web. These delicate glass ornaments are an attractive design element on their own or when decorated with small plants, sandy shells, or mosses, but when grouped and played against one another they can really make your living space chic. How can you add some stylish terrariums to your home? Here are some helpful tips.

What can you use to fill your terrarium?

Although you can fill hanging terrariums with just about anything, some elements are pretty common: plants, water, flowers, candles, rocks, shells, and tiny statues top the list of go-to fillers. Some of these things work better than others, if you’re planning on keeping your terrarium stocked for the long haul.

Plants: Air plants, members of the genus Tillandsia, are far and away the best plants for hanging terrariums. They require little care and are adapted to living in environments where deep rooting isn’t possible. These plants bloom in many colors, and best of all, many remain very small throughout their lives. Small aquatic plants and live mosses can be good choices if you remember to water them regularly. Colored sand, water and clean soil are common mediums for plants in globe terrariums.

Candles: Use small glass globes to easily suspend candles in midair. Glass catches the light in lovely ways, and tea lights are always inexpensive. There’s no need to worry about wax dripping anywhere or a fire hazard (as long as you securely hang your terrarium globes).

Other Decorations: If you opt out of live plants, the world is your oyster. You could fill your terrarium with dried mosses, pebbles, marbles or glass beads as a base for your soon-to-be original designs. Rocks, dried plants, tiny statues, shells and glass sculptures do well in globe terrariums intended for long-term use because they can tolerate the humidity that may build inside these glass balls when plants are included in your design. Dry terrariums may benefit from the addition of preserved plant materials like lichens, dried flowers or seed pods.

Cut flowers in terrariums at a wedding

Glass globe terrariums filled with cut flowers can add to special event decor. Image from Isari Flower Studio.

 

Combining multiple terrariums

Glass terrariums are flexible decorating pieces, useful for both short-term and long-term projects. Imagine the fun of a holiday party punctuated with themed terrariums sitting around a decorated buffet table or how a single, planted terrarium would brighten your office. Even outdoor weddings are enhanced by glass terrariums with floating candles when they’re strung as a background to the bride and groom.

People are making some cool things out of glass terrariums for their everyday lives, too. A plain light fixture with a wire frame can be upcycled into a unique, personalized chandelier with the addition of about 10 small terrariums hung at varying lengths all around the light. The same concept, applied to a grid structure, creates an interesting piece to hang over your dining table, kitchen island or in the middle of a living room.

You can take the concept further and create curtains from dozens of floating glass terrariums hung from a horizontally-mounted wooden or metal support. Open floor plan homes are great for flexibility, but it can be difficult to differentiate between the spaces. A divider made from a floating glass terrarium curtain will allow you to feel like each space is clearly defined while leaving the brightness and openness of your home intact.

Tabletop or wall-mounted tree branches make a great place to display just a few small hanging terrariums. You can even reuse old multiple pane windows by removing the glass and hanging terrariums inside each section and wall-mounting or hanging your creation from the ceiling.

The design possibilities are endless with globe terrariums, whether you choose just one for a small project, or a whole case of assorted sizes and shapes for something much bigger. Check out the wide selection of ready-to-fill hanging terrariums available at Hooks & Lattice.