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"A Cheerful Hello" - WindowBoxContest.com Entry

Results of the 2013 Window Box Contest Are In!

Love to admire gorgeous railing and window planters teeming with botanicals? You’re not the only one! It’s this appreciation for the best window boxes and flower arrangements that makes Hooks & Lattice so proud to sponsor the nationwide Window Box Contest each year.

Today, we congratulate the 2013 contest winners across four categories. Additionally, to all entrants, we warmly thank you for participating. Each contestant serves to grow our online community of passionate container gardeners. And it’s our belief that the more beauty and inspiration there is to go around, the better.

Now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for – it’s time to announce the victors!

 

Winner #1 – Window Planters On A Wall

"Seeing Red"

“Seeing Red”

Our first category was ripe with competition last year. But in the end, Stella Anastasia’s Seeing Redarrangement proved simply irresistible. Tapered Copper Window Boxes provide the ideal contrast against bright white siding. And the whole presentation pops beneath a noteworthy red roof.

 


 

"A Cheerful Hello"

“A Cheerful Hello”

 

Winner # 2 – Railing Planters Category

And the prize goes to: A Cheerful Helloby Joe McGarvey. This green thumb knew what he was doing with texture and color, layering in dimensional vine and floral combos. And making the whole display possible is two affordable railing planter boxes – beautiful and budget friendly. Couldn’t be any better if we’d dreamt it.


Winner #3 – Most Creative Window Box

"Marvelous Mandevilla"

“Marvelous Mandevilla”

Our winner is “Marvelous Mandevilla” submitted by Joanne Ahern. Can you believe this was once an unremarkable greenhouse riddled with exposed valves and eyesores? Joanne really outdid herself using a pair of window planters and cleverly placed mirrors to finish her space off in gorgeous fashion.


Winner #4 – Before & After

Sweet, sweet curb appeal is the real winner in this category. Along with contestant Stefanie Meyers and her “Summer of Abundant Colors” entry. Talk about a transformation! This clever homeowner used our Presidential Vinyl Window Boxes in red to match her front door. And by adding flower arrangements for shade she capitalized on a tricky environment, resulting in a spotlight on her light grey home’s exterior.

"Summer of

“Summer of

Abundant Color"

Abundant Color”


You Could Be A Winner in 2014!

All you have to do is enter by uploading photos onto the contest website.

This year we will feature three exciting categories of competition. Along with bragging rights, winners will receive garden-centric prizes to delight their taste for outdoor living. Let the container gardening games begin!

How to Add Curb Appeal with Outdoor Planters

Group outdoor planters together for a welcoming burst of color on the deck or patio.

Group outdoor planters together for a welcoming burst of color on the deck or patio.

Admit it: your house might not be the dumpiest on the street, but it could probably use a little pick-me-up. It doesn’t take much to spruce up your house and add a little extra curb appeal, especially through container gardening. Outdoor planters are a fantastic and easy way to add a little extra oomph and increase your home’s curb appeal.

Flank front entrances symmetrically with vinyl planters for a curb appeal knockout!

Flank front entrances symmetrically with vinyl planters for a curb appeal knockout!

Entryway

The front door can speak volumes about a house – it’s where visitors get their first impression of your home and the people inside. Outdoor planters can add a touch of life to the entryway to make your home more inviting and warm. When decorating around the front door, symmetry is key. Add a tall planter box, like the Doral Terra Cotta Half Round Planter, to either side of your front door with bright flowers or tall leafy plants. Line the walkway to your front door with smaller planter boxes in coordinating plants and flowers. A great option is the neutral but stylish Palo Alto Redwood Planter. Choose plants that fit with the overall style and feel of your home, such as papyrus for a modern home or impatiens for a more traditional style.

Driveway

An often forgotten part of the home, the driveway and garage doors have a huge impact on curb appeal. Not only is the driveway one of the largest parts of a home’s outdoor space, but it is virtually a blank canvas full of possibility. To spice up an often bland area, place outdoor planters between the garage doors. Tall planters, such as this Tall Tapered Patio Planter, can add height to a space and break up the monotony of multiple garage doors. Add plants such as verbena or alyssum for a pop of energy-just make sure the planters are far enough away from the garage door that you won’t hit them with your car! To define the driveway with more than just concrete, place large planter pots along the edges. For these planters, it is better to opt for lower plants like coleus or white licorice that will define the space but still allow you to see into the front yard and entryway.

entrance-planters

Deck

Just because a deck might be on the backside of the house doesn’t mean it can escape a curb appeal improvement. Instead of allowing your deck to turn into a yard furniture wasteland, add some large planter boxes. The color and life will work wonders on the space and create a more defined outdoor entertaining area. A grouping of large planter pots full of coordinating plants is an easy way to add a sense of style and personality to your deck.

Low planter boxes around the edge of the deck set off the area but still allow view into the backyard and surrounding areas. A great option is the versatile Hampton deck planter, which looks great on its own or lined with others.

Ready to start your own container garden?

Shop outdoor planters now for the best selection of the season!

Photo Courtesy Brenda B.

Hanging Year Round Containers

Photo Courtesy Brenda B.

Year-Round Gardening Tip: Rotate flowers throughout seasons for uninterrupted splashes of color!
Photo: Brenda B.

There is something about a hanging basket that is simply magical – the overflowing branches, the bright flowers, and the charming containers make for a perfect combination and a great addition to a yard or garden oasis. Add some height and pizazz to your home with beautiful hanging baskets in year round containers. You don’t need a lot of space to instantly increase your curb appeal and green thumb credentials.

Find the Best Basket

Photo Courtesy Brian W.

12 inch Hanging Baskets are the perfect size for this small shed. The decorative wall brackets are a nice touch!
Photo: Brian W.

Start at the beginning by picking the right basket. Outdoor hanging baskets come in lots of styles. An important factor is the size. A too-small basket means watering more often and a too-big basket can get heavy. For beginners, opt for a medium sized basket that will allow room for your plants to grow and also retain moisture. The biggest piece of the basket puzzle is picking the right liner. This English Garden Flat Steel Hanging Basket comes with a coconut coir liner to keep plants moist and promote lush growth. Other liner options include burlap or moss. For a truly unique look, combine the liner with the basket for a show stopping moss planter, like this Ashton Moss Vine Hanging Basket.

Pick the Perfect Plants

Now that you have your year round containers, what should you put in them? Hanging baskets can be used year round with a variety of plants. For a longer lasting look, go for hardy classics like pansies or cyclamen. Otherwise, you can rotate through flowers with the seasons or choose plants that will bloom during your favorite part of the year. Popular spring and summer options are fuchsias, geraniums, and trailing lobelia. In the fall and winter, viola ochre and other solanum plants are great choices. For a colorful look year round, go for an evergreen plant like buxus or ivy.

Photo: Darrell N

This lamppost and 22-inch hanging flower basket combination are truly a curb appeal home run! Brackets are custom-made for the perfect fit!
Photo: Darrell N

A typical outdoor hanging basket features trailing plants, mid-level plants, and tall plants. Pick a few blooms for each section so you don’t overwhelm yourself or your planter. Match the look of your plants to the style of your hanging basket. Earthy colors and textures are a great compliment to a moss planter.

Put It All Together

Dressing up a boring wall is easy with a decorative scroll bracket and a hanging basket with trailing vines.

Dressing up a boring wall is easy with a decorative scroll bracket and a hanging basket with trailing vines!

Once everything is in place, you are ready to plant your hanging basket. Fill your basket half full of potting soil and mix in a quarter cup fertilizer. This ensures your plants have nutrients even after the water drips out. Press the base layer of soil to create a solid foundation for your plants. If using a deeper basket like the classic Scalloped French Wire Basket, make sure your plants have enough room to grow roots. To maximize space, place hanging plants around the outside of the container, then work your way towards the middle with the taller plants. After the quick and simple process is complete, your outdoor hanging basket is ready to be hung anywhere around the yard and enjoyed all year long!

Early Spring Flowers and Window Planters that You Will Love

hayrack-window-box-purple-flowers

Shown: Mariposa Hayrack Trough Window Box with Coconut Liner and beautiful purple flowers; sent in by Alissa D.

Spring is just around the corner and with the change of seasons comes the opportunity to spruce up your spring garden. Whether you plan on planting a flower bed or are looking for other alternatives, learn more about your available options before spring finally arrives. Keep reading and you will discover early spring flowers and window planters that you will fall in love with.

Planning Your Landscaping

Before you start picking out your early spring flowers, it is a good idea to come up with a plan. Take a moment to think about the layout of your yard. For those with a patio, add life to your yard by placing standing planters around your patio. A tall tapered patio planter and other planters will brighten up your patio. To match wrought iron fences and other black trim around your yard, a standing planter with a metal frame is both elegant and convenient. There are plenty of ways to decorate the outside of your home, make sure that you consider some of the following options:

  • Window boxes and planters
  • Flower stands
  • Hanging planters
  • The flowers that you would like to plant
xl-catalina-pvc-window-box-BettyG

Betty G. painted her XL Catalina PVC Window Planters to match the exterior house paint. Her container garden continues to flourish!

When planning the arrangement of your flowers and garden, do not forget about the outside of your house. Window sills are a great way to add charm to your home. Planting a flower bed is one thing; though, why not work your way up your home by installing planters along your window sills.

Choosing Where to Place Your Flowers

medallion-decora-pvc-liners-KaraC

Kara’s successful balcony garden of early spring flowers has Medallion Decora Window Boxes to thank!

Just because you have a small yard does not mean that you are out of options for your spring garden. Many people forget about decorating their actual house when planning their home gardening projects. Planters and flower boxes will hang on the outside of your windows, requiring no yard space. This is a beautiful way to add to the appeal of your home. No matter what style of home you have, there is sure to be flower boxes that will match the look of your house. For example, for a modern home, consider purchasing contemporary window boxes.

With hundreds of options to choose from for your plants and flowers, spend some time browsing your options to match the aesthetics of your home. To go along with your black shutters, you can purchase wrought iron flower cages. Using simple curves, an iron flower cage makes a beautiful showcase for the plants that you have chosen. Other options include wooden boxes, such as red cedar plantersNo matter what you choose, you are sure to add to your curb appeal.

Another spring flower success story thanks to Royal Vinyl Window Boxes.

Another spring flower success story thanks to Royal Vinyl Window Boxes.

Your window sills are not the only location that you can install bases for your flowers. They can also be installed along fences and even the side of your home. When you are deciding on your planters or boxes, think outside the box and consider the outside of your home one large canvas.

While the flowers that you plant may not last through the winter, the durable window planters that you install can be used year after year. Always choose quality material that can resist weather conditions. Being outdoors, they will have to deal with plenty of rain and wind. Once you start populating your garden with your selection of flowers, you will truly enjoy spending more time with your family outdoors.

Hooks & Lattice now offers consultation for those of you who aren’t sure what to get. Call toll free 888-896-0978 to speak with our Design Department today about which window boxes fit your home’s architectural style.

Container Gardening for Vegetables

Carrots growing in a flower pot

All kinds of vegetables will grow in flower pots, including carrots! Image from Pernaculture for Renters.

Vegetable growing can be a lot of hard work – between the beating they get from tilling the garden and the back breaking bending to place each seed or plant in the ground, many gardeners give up and go shopping at the Farmer’s Market. Although this is certainly a viable solution, you still can’t be sure how your veggies and fruits were handled, or what kinds of chemicals might have been applied to them.

There is another way: container gardening! Containers simplify the labor intensive preparation required of vegetable gardens in areas with troubled soil and even allow apartment dwellers to grow a surprising amount of food in a very small space. With careful planning and the right containers, you can grow almost any type of vegetable in a planter pot, flower box, or hanging basket.

Choosing a Container and Medium

Before you plant your first tomato, pepper, bean, or onion, think about the spaces around your home where a planted container might fit. Small plants with upright growth like bush beans, carrots, beets or lettuce may fit nicely into an extra wide window box. A mixed planting of veggies can be every bit as pretty as flowers. Big hanging baskets are great for vining or tumbling plants like peas, small squash, cucumbers or runner beans.

Lettuce plants in a window box

In the city, grow veggies like lettuce in window boxes. Image from Dig Home Designing.

The selection of potting medium is vital to your success with container gardening. Starting with a sterilized, premixed general potting soil with slow release fertilizer is ideal, though experienced gardeners may choose to mix their own from a variety of sterilized mediums. Worm castings are a common addition to a basic soil mix, helping your container garden retain moisture and improving soil structure.

Caring for Container Veggies

Veggies in containers don’t usually need to be weeded and soil-borne pathogens are rarely problems, but they do require some special care. Since your plants are growing in a very small, limited area, they are going to need you to give them everything it takes for them to survive. Watering, fertilizing and careful pruning will ensure that your plants are all they can be.

Every plant needs water, but a container plant may need to be watered as much as three times a day in the summer. Check the soil a few times a day by sticking your finger in as deeply as you can. If it feels dry below the first knuckle, water the container evenly until water runs out the bottom. Try not to get water on the leaves, since this can invite problems with fungal disease.

Tomatoes growing in a hanging basket

You can even grow vegetables in hanging baskets! Image from Love Apple Farms.

All that watering will drive the nutrients from the soil, which is why a slow-release fertilizer in the mix is a nice bonus. If your plants are starting to produce lighter colored leaves, or just don’t seem quite right, a half-strength dose of water soluble 10-10-10 fertilizer mixed into the watercan may help. Don’t fertilize more than once a week, unless your plants are obviously struggling, and then only do so after performing a soil test.

If frequent watering seems like a challenge, consider a self-watering planter. You can turn any planter into a self-watering one by adding a reservoir. It will hold excess water at the bottom of the planter, and the thirsty plants will pull it up into their roots when they need it.

Some plants, like tomatoes, do better when they’ve been pruned heavily. It may seem counter-intuitive, but if you want big, fat tomatoes from your containers, limit the number of secondary shoots and pinch out excessive growth. Thin other plants, like carrots and lettuce, after seeding to give the strongest plants a little more room.

Recommended Container Size for Common Vegetables

Vegetable Minimum Container Size Spacing
Broccoli 14-inch pot 1 plant per container
Bush Green Beans 10-inch pot or basket
Extra deep window box
2 to 3 inch spacing
Carrots 5-inch pot or basket
Extra deep window box
2 to 3 inch spacing
Cucumbers 10-inch pot 1 plant per container
Leaf Lettuce 8-inch pot or basket
Regular window box
4 to 5 inch spacing
Green Onions 6-inch pot or basket
Regular window box
2 to 3 inch spacing
Peas 6-inch pot or basket
Regular window box
2 to 3 inch spacing
Peppers 10-inch pot or basket 1 plant per container
Summer Squash 14-inch pot or basket 1 plant per container
Cherry Tomatoes 10-inch pot or basket 1 plant per container
Standard Tomatoes 14-inch pot or basket 1 plant per container
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!