How to Design a Window Box


Window boxes are a bit of the garden at eye level, adding interest to the front of a house and a bit of greenery and color to brighten an uninteresting façade. These miniature landscapes can be seasonal, reflecting the flowers of spring, summer and fall, or help celebrate holidays such as Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Every window is lovelier with a window box, both for those gazing out and those looking in.

Step 1

Choose which windows you would like to decorate. South- and west-facing windows get quite a bit of direct sunlight and in summer months become dry and hot. North- and east-facing windows are cooler in summer but may be too cool for early spring and late fall flowers.

Step 2

Select the style of window boxes or containers that match the architectural style of your house. An informal wooden box looks great with a cottage-style house but would look out of place on a Victorian mansion. Contrast the color of the box with the house colors or let it blend in so it's unobtrusive and the plantings in the box are highlighted.

Step 3

Combine colors of plants to complement each other and the colors of the house. Red geraniums, for example, would get lost against a red brick wall. However, white petunias would pop. The colors can reflect the season such as pastels in spring, primary colors in summer, and oranges, russets and gold in the fall. Or compose them within their own palette of cool colors such as blue and purple; hot colors like red, orange and cream; or a monochrome of all shades of one color such as pink.

Step 4

Select plants that have similar requirements of light, heat and water since they'll be living shoulder to shoulder in a confined space. Plants that thrive in the hot sun such as zinnias, marigolds and cosmos won't be happy if they are in the same container with begonias, impatiens and pansies, which prefer cooler shade. Plants should have the same bloom time as well if a burst of color is desired.

Step 5

Plant taller plants in the back with shorter plants in front and trailing plants near the edges. Contrast bushy plants with tall-stemmed flowers and vary the types of flower blooms. Try small blossoms of forget-me-not, accented by purple pansies and tall yellow snapdragons. Or put blue lobelia with red geraniums and white daisies.

Tips and Warnings

  • Secure fastenings are a must. Window boxes can be heavy when filled with soil and water. The fastening or brackets should be sturdy. A teetering window box is a safety hazard.

Things You'll Need

  • Window box container
  • Fasteners
  • Potting soil
  • Plants


  • Garden Ideas; Carol Spier and Warren Schultz; 1996
  • At Home in the Garden; Becke Davis; 2001

Who Can Help

  • Window Boxes
Keywords: window boxes, container gardening, design window box

About this Author

Katie Rosehill's first book was published in 2000. Since then she has written additional books as well as screenplays, website content and e-books. Her articles have appeared on various websites. Rosehill holds a Master of Business Administration from Arizona State University. Her articles specialize in personal finance, weddings and gardening.