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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!

Flower Box Holders for Railings

We all know that flower boxes are a great way to add life and color to any home. No matter how dull the walls might look, window boxes will add an element of cheerfulness and freshness to the image, significantly improving your home’s appeal. Moreover, you can also increase your house’s curb appeal by placing window boxes on railings, thus embellishing stairways, balconies or terraces.

This is done with the help of flower box holders which, as the name suggests, allow you to attach your flower box to railing and support the weight of the planters. There are different kinds of holders, and they differ in terms of size, design and, most importantly, the type of the railing they are compatible with and the way in which they attach themselves to the railing.

Wrought iron railing brackets suspend a beautifully planted Fiberglass Supreme window box.

Wrought iron railing brackets suspend a beautifully planted Fiberglass Supreme window box.

Holders for wood railings

Railing brackets for wood decks allow you to attach planters securely without having to drill any holes in the material. This is very practical, as it allows you to rearrange planters whenever you feel like making a décor change, without worrying about any unaesthetic holes. These planters use either adjustable railing hooks which allow them to fit on railings of different width, or a clamp system that utilizes an adjustable screw so that it can be attached to any wooden railings, regardless of their thickness.

Holders for wrought iron railings

Many homes use wrought iron railings, which require less maintenance and have a longer lifespan than their wooden counterparts. Rail planters are attached to the deck through brackets similar to the ones for wooden railings. You can choose either adjustable deck railings or metal brackets for your specific rail width.

You can find a great diversity of models of metal brackets for your specific needs. Make sure that you know the measurements of the window box you want to mount on the specific railing, as some types of holders are compatible with window boxes up to a certain width and/or length. And, if you are not opting for an adjustable holder, don’t forget to measure accurately the width of your railing before placing your order. Click Here to contact us for consultation.

All holders on the market are coated with a special finish which makes them impervious to water and humidity, and thus less prone to rust.  This ensures a long life expectancy of these products, making them a cost-efficient purchase which can help you add to the curb appeal of your home for many years to come.

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!

Upgrade Window Boxes with Decorative Corbels

XL Hampton Premier PVC Window Box

XL Hampton Premier PVC Window Box with Elegant Faux Brackets attached. Note: Decorative faux brackets are attached using PVC adhesive.

Window boxes bring a burst of color and personality to any home or garden. They are a great feature on their own, but to kick it up a notch, why not add a decorative corbel or two? Corbels are faux brackets placed underneath the window box to create the look of a more supportive planter. They don’t necessarily serve an architectural purpose, but they add something special to your window planter. Here are the top 3 reasons to upgrade your window boxes with decorative brackets.

Corbels Add Style

Decorative Corbel

Decorative corbels are lightweight, so there’s no need to worry or account for that when adding them to your window boxes.

Corbels give window planters an extra boost of style. They can transform something ordinary into something extraordinary with just a little bit of wood. The Elegant Standard Faux Bracket adds an extra dose of class and sophistication and will instantly increase your curb appeal. Decorative corbels come in styles to match virtually any window box, such as the versatile Classic Bracket. Use two corbels for smaller window boxes and up to three or four for larger boxes-corbels are easy to customize and create a unique look to match your home or garden.

Corbels Increase Property Value

Aside from aesthetic qualities, corbels can add money to your home as well. The completed window planter look attracts homebuyers and adds desirable architectural detail to your home, both of which can add to your bottom line. Corbels also add a little something extra to your home and make your window box look like it was built for the house, instead of being a recent addition. They bring together classic details in a modern style for the best of both worlds.

Coronado Composite Window Box

Elegant faux brackets transform this traditional Coronado Composite Window Box into smooth and sophisticated.

 Corbels are Easy to Install

A corbel may look like a complicated piece, but they are very simple to install. The Laguna Premier Window Box comes with an “easy up” mounting system that makes installation a breeze through an integrated mounting system. The Solera Simple Flower Box features a direct mount system, so all it takes is a few simple screws for window box success. Corbels can connect directly to a window box, making for seamless installation and ease in removing the window box for replanting. All it takes is just a few more minutes for an entirely new look on your window box and home facade.

This small piece may seem like a small addition to your window box, but the results are definitely noticeable and worthwhile. For an extra boost of style, value, and sophistication, you can’t go wrong with window box corbels.

Decorate your Home with Beautiful Spring Wreaths

Spring is just around the corner and after a long, cold winter, there is nothing that sounds or feels better than welcoming its warmth and cheerfulness into our homes and hearts. That is particularly true in the beginning of the season, when pretty much everything around us looks dull and still reminds us of winter, as under or above the muddy ground, most plants are just waking up from their lengthy sleep.

But, How?

The Rustic Rose Wreath is a favorite for kitchen doors and Mother's Day gifts.

The Rustic Rose Wreath is a favorite for kitchen doors and Mother’s Day gifts.

If you are wondering what could help you make your home look warmer and full of life, part of the answer is spring wreaths. There is hardly anything as cute and lively as a beautiful wreath embellishing the walls or front door of your home in spring. Flower wreaths evoke this season, and remind us in the cloudiest of afternoons that sunnier days are just around the corner.

Wreaths are often overlooked when it comes to decorating our homes, one of the reasons being that people sometimes think that they will last for only a few days and that afterwards they will need to get rid of them and replace them. Well, for those of you that think so, you should know that many types of wreaths, including dried floral wreaths can last for years – and therefore be reused. You can keep them up for as long as you like and, after taking them down, you can simply store them somewhere dry until next year, or whenever you feel like using them again.

Transport yourself to Provincial France with a dried lavender wreath. Breath deeply and relax into the sweet scent of lavender fields every time your front door opens.

Transport yourself to Provincial France with a dried lavender wreath. Breath deeply and relax into the sweet scent of lavender fields every time your front door opens (also repels insects).

Styles

Traditionally, wreaths were made of plants – herbs and flowers, delighting us with their colors and smell. Nowadays, people also make them from fabrics, plastic, or anything else that looks colorful and cheerful enough. There are countless styles of wreaths that you can get or make for your home – all you need to do is choose one of the designs that you like best, and go for it.

Placement

Although usually used as outdoor décor, wreaths are becoming more and more used as indoor décor as well. Their freshness, as well as their expressive combinations of colors makes them easy to like and an increasingly preferred method of filling empty spaces in houses everywhere. These year-round wreaths can be used anywhere, from terrace to kitchen or even living room.

For a modern spring wreath, try this succulent garden decoration. Remember - Echeveria can be transplanted and are drought tolerant plants.

For a modern spring wreath, try this succulent garden decoration. Remember – Echeveria can be transplanted and are drought tolerant plants.

Instant Curb Appeal with Spring Wreaths

Spring wreaths look delightful in a variety of settings and are an easy way to add curb appeal without breaking the bank. They are inexpensive, and their apparent simplicity combined with their beauty probably explains why they are liked the way they are by people everywhere.   So, next time you’re thinking about making a small change to your home, consider using spring wreaths.

Wrought iron juliet balcony

What is a Juliet Balcony?

Wrought iron juliet balcony

Adding a wrought iron Juliet balcony can improve your home’s curb appeal.

Whether you’re looking for a way to spice up your plain, unassuming home or you’re afraid someone may take a tumble out of an upper story floor-to-ceiling window, Juliet balconies are exactly what you need.  Unlike a traditional balcony that takes up outdoor space, requires frequent maintenance to ensure safety and can be expensive to install, a Juliet balcony allows your floor-to-ceiling windows or patio doors to open fully, bringing the feel of an outdoor patio to an interior space.

Juliet balconies are essentially just railings that mount to the exterior of a home, either directly to the siding or between columns or along ledges, creating the illusion of a fully functional balcony from afar.  There are loads of styles to choose from, adding curb appeal to any style home or building.  Small apartments and businesses benefit from the addition of Juliet balconies, especially when rail planters, hanging baskets or shutters are added to the picture.

What’s in a Name?

Juliet balconies go by a plethora of names, including “faux balcony” and “balconet.”  The name “Juliet” gives a nod to the Shakespearean play, “Romeo and Juliet,” and appears in architecture catalogs from the 1920s.  Even then, the idea of opening up interior spaces and bringing lots of fresh air indoors was appealing where space was limited.  Many of the buildings from that era still have their original iron Juliet balconies, especially those with French and Spanish influenced architecture.

Today’s Juliet balconies are made from a wider range of materials than those in the past, running the gamut from traditional wrought iron to lightweight, durable aluminum or steel.  Some modern buildings have turned the Juliet balcony on its head by removing the bars in favor of thick pieces of glass – it just goes to show that no matter your architectural flavor, there’s a Juliet balcony perfect for your building.

Juliet balconies with plants

Installing window boxes and hanging baskets on faux balconies makes them even more appealing. Image from balconette.co.uk.

 

Safety with a Juliet Balcony

Not only do Juliet balconies look nice, they can help keep your family safe both during and after construction.  Floor to ceiling windows and large doors that open to nothing are potential fall hazards for children and adults alike.  Juliet balconies typically reach about waist-high on adults and have tightly spaced bars, ensuring that no one accidentally stumbles into a broken leg during a party.

Replacing a second story deck or building one from scratch can take a lot of time if you’re just working on it over the weekend.  This is a great reason to install a temporary Juliet balcony.  With the upper story door secured by a metal railing, there’s no more worrying that someone will leave it unlocked or open it without thinking – now you can take your time designing and building the perfect upper story deck.

No matter your reasons for installing a Juliet balcony, durable aluminum, iron and steel options will give you many years of service for much less money than a standard balcony and without the hassles.  Many companies, like Hooks & Lattice, will even work with you on a custom design to give your home a unique touch.

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!