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Think inside the box with under-window flower container
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Think inside the box with under-window flower container

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Window boxes are a blank slate for you to design and plant in.

Window boxes give gardeners an affordable outlet to do what they love most: experiment. Known as one of the first living walls, window boxes have been a longtime favorite of gardeners.

Window boxes continue to be a popular landscape element today and often stand in for front yards at homes that open to the sidewalk. Although there is a lot of creative freedom with planting window boxes, there is a right way to do it.

Window boxes show off the range of possibilities a few feet of soil can offer, so use our tips to create a floral creation of your own.

How to get started

The first step is to choose your box and where you want to hang it. Don’t underestimate how heavy a window box can be — it is filled with soil and plants, and it gets even heavier when watered.

We recommend buying a sturdy box made of a hardwood like redwood or cedar rather than pine (which rots quickly) and then securing the box with a window-box bracket.

Always make sure your window box has drainage holes. To aid drainage, place 2 inches of nonbiodegradable packing peanuts or old wine corks in the bottom of the box, and then cover with landscape fabric to prevent soil from seeping out.

Next, fill the box halfway with potting soil, and add your plants.

Make sure your plants are placed a few inches apart to give them room to fill out. If you want immediate impact, you can plant closer, of course, but know that you will need to pinch or prune your plants to prevent overcrowding. Once your plants are in place, fill in the gaps with more soil, and lightly pat down around the plants.

As with all container plantings, choose plants with similar water and light needs, and expect to water them more often than those in the ground. Water thoroughly once the soil has dried out.

Keep in mind a few basic design principles, then unleash your creativity.

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