Window boxes have been around since Roman times and became really popular during the heyday of gardening in the early 1900’s.
There is a lot more to window boxes than people think. It’s not just a matter of going to Walmart and buying a plastic container and planting a nice flower arrangement. Sorry to disappoint you.
As with everything window boxes should be planned out and done with care. Too many times I see window boxes with beautiful flowers only to be distracted by the a price sticker left on by a careless homeowner. Yes – seriously – even in a restaurant.
Window boxes are only good for certain type of houses too.
Can I Put a Window Box on Any Type of House?
Absolutely not – at least if you care how your house looks. Window boxes work wonderfully on small informal houses with smaller properties such as Craftsman Bungalows, Dutch Colonials, cozy cottage style homes with sloping roofs and wood shutters. Some Spanish and Mediterranean houses too. Window boxes should NOT be used on larger and more formal homes. If your home has a grand feel to it then the answer is no. If cozy and cutesy, then yes. The window box will not create a cozy feel but only enhance it.
Basic Design of a Window Box
As with everything relating to a house, size and proportion are important. The general rule is that the box should be the width of the window(s) and 1/4 the height of short windows; 1/5 the height of tall windows. Brackets in proportion to the size of the box provide a nice appearance of support. Brackets should match the box color in most instances.
For color, a window box should never be the body color of the house. Your window box should be the trim color, sash-shutter color, or sometimes the accent color. Never paint your window box a new color that is not already on your house already for it will stand out as a separate feature not one that is part of and harmonizes with the rest of the house.
Boxes should be wood with a plastic liner and holes for the water to drain. Please no tacky plastic boxes.
Window boxes look great during the summer but in the winter they look pretty bad. If you do not have winter plantings or greens please take the boxes down and reinstall them in the spring. There is nothing worse than empty window boxes cheapening the look of a house.
For more detailed information on Window Boxes go to:
But Do Window Boxes Provide Curb Appeal?
You wouldn’t believe the number of emails I get from people that are not happy with the look of their house and think window boxes are the miracle cure to give their house curb appeal. The answer is NO. Window boxes will NOT give your house curb appeal. However if your house already has curb appeal a window box will surely improve it. This is of course providing you install a well designed window box and have a house that is right to have a window box.
Many of the people who try the hardest to make their house look good are the ones that fail the most.
A common problem I see is a homeowner that is trying to improve curb appeal will be blind to the root of the problem. Many seldom think that there could be an existing issue with the architecture that makes them not feel at ease with the look of their house. They will not see the problem so they keep buying and buying: New light fixtures, new landscaping, new door color, window boxes, etc. They don’t realize these are merely distractions from the fundamental issues they and their home remodeling contractors have created. After all this expense they finally but temporarily convince themselves their house looks good and has curb appeal. This look of fake curb appeal usually only looks good to the UNTRAINED eye.
The Dutch Colonial house above was once a beautiful house but sadly a rabid homeowner enclosed the porch. Now this homeowner may have good reasons such as living in a buggy area, a cold climate, the need for more space , etc. Still they are merely poor excuses if the homeowner really cares about curb appeal. The house was not designed to have an enclosed porch and by enclosing it you are altering the architecture thereby disfiguring the house. The enclosed porch or similar modifications to the architecture that do not belong are called Architectural Warts or Architectural Tumors.
So this house is damaged. The architecture has been remuddled. This house does not and can not have curb appeal in this condition.
Look at this circa 1970 Plymouth Fury (if you know the exact year please email me). It is damaged yet the owner put a Rolls Royce hood ornament on the car. The hood ornament does not make the car look any better. Don’t you think it would make sense to fix the damage first? Additionally a Rolls Royce hood ornament does not belong on a Plymouth Fury.
So if you want to improve the curb appeal of your house, make sure any damage to the architecture is fixed first before you add a hood ornament or window box.
Curb Appeal versus Personal Taste
Aesthetics is not just another word for beauty. Aesthetics is the science, philosophy, principles, and theory of beauty as it relates to and stimulates one’s inner senses – the subconscious and emotions.
There are a lot of simple people that will fight to their death defending their beliefs in their personal taste, but there is science behind it to take into consideration. Here is more information about Aesthetics and the Psychology of Architecture .