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.