When we first moved into our fixer upper, the outside of the home looked like a haunted house—the limestone in front had blackened, the front door had rotting wood, and weeds had run amok in the yard. We had worked very hard to renovate the inside, but It was a great endeavor to get the house looking lovely, cheerful and welcoming on the outside. We began by replacing the front door, cleaning and repairing the limestone, weeding, and sowing native grass and wildflower seeds everywhere. But to add even more inviting curb appeal we decided to add window flower boxes. Is there anything more delightful than seeing a home with window boxes overflowing with well cared for flowers? I think not!
The origin of window boxes dates back to ancient Rome. Urban living in small homes, one on top of the other with no yards, a window box was an economical way to grow food with limited space. Eventually flowers were added to the growing of herbs and food, or replaced entirely. In the Victorian Age, terra cotta and metal planter boxes became very popular for displaying flowers and herbs, and eventually the boxes came to the United States. Many cities are still known for their colorful displays of window flower boxes attached to Victorian homes and older buildings—New Orleans’ French Quarter (Louisiana), Charleston (South Carolina), and Savannah (Georgia).
Would you like to add lovely, inviting flowers to the front of your house? Here are few things we learned when adding our own window flower boxes:
1. Purchase or build your own window box. There are many varieties of window boxes available for purchase online. We found ours on etsy. A window box hanging below the window with minimal house contact and ease of water draining is best and will prevent any damage to your home.
2. We lined our wood window boxes with plastic to prevent the boxes from rotting.
3. Fill with organic potting mix soil.
4. Choose your flowers! We have varied ours every year—all one type and color, a mix of only purples and pinks, cascading plants to hang over the edge, and taller plants in the back with shorter plants in the front. It’s so much fun to try new things every year and see what makes you happy!
5. *BIG TIP!* Pack your flowers in! (Throw away the spacing requirement tags!) Do not worry about leaving space for growing. Plant for it to look good now, not later.
6. Water often. Because the flowers are hanging outside they are more apt to dry out quickly. In Texas, our window boxes needed to be watered every morning!
7. We left our window boxes out year round. In the winter we replaced the withered flowers with cut evergreen boughs for a whimsical holiday look.
Well cared for flowers in your window boxes will create the cheeriest welcome for you and your guests! They are well worth their initial effort and the hanging flowers will make you feel happy every time you see them. Find the perfect boxes for your home and get planting! xo