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Marian Parsons, Mustard Seed Interiors


Materials Needed

  • 3/4" thick cypress or cedar boards
  • 2" x 4" pressure-treated lumber
  • electric drill
  • drill bits
  • 2-3/4" concrete screws (for mounting to brick or stone)
  • 1-1/4" exterior wood screws
  • 1-1/4" rust resistant nails
  • hammer
  • clamps (optional)
  • wood filler (optional)
  • medium-grit sandpaper (optional)
  • tape measure
  • 2-1/2" sash brush
  • 1 quart primer (oil or latex)
  • 1 quart exterior grade paint (oil or latex, but same as primer)

Step 1: Cut Boards

Cut 3/4-inch-thick cypress or cedar boards to following dimensions:
8" wide x window length (3)
1 1/4" wide x window length (2)
1 1/4" wide x 5 3/4" long (3)
8" wide x 11" long (2)

Cut 2" x 4" pressure-treated lumber to following dimensions:
8" long pieces (3)

Step 2: Secure Cleats

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Once full of plants and soil, a window box can be very heavy. The best way to mount it is to properly secure it to the exterior wall using cleats. To create cleats, cut three 8-inch pieces of pressure-treated 2x4. Hold the 2x4 tightly against the exterior wall and drill two pilot holes where you'd like screws (Image 2). Drive 2 3/4-inch concrete screws through pilot holes to secure cleat to wall (Image 3). Repeat process on other cleats.

Step 3: Assemble Front and Back of Box

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Place bottom of window box flat on work surface. Stand front of box on end and press tight against side of box bottom. Clamp or hold in place, then drill pilot holes every eight inches using 1/8-inch drill bit (Image 1). Insert 1 1/4-inch screws into pilot holes (Image 2). Remove clamps (if used) and repeat on back side of box.

Step 4: Assemble Sides

When measuring dimensions of side panels, allow an extra 1 1/2-inch overhang on back side to cover up exposed cleat on house. Attach sides to planter using 1 1/4-inch wood screws.

Step 5: Attach Trim

Cut two 1 1/4-inch-wide trim pieces to exact length of front panel of window box. Make sure that each trim piece is flush with top and bottom of front panel, then tap into place with nails. Position three 1 1/4" wide x 5 2/4" long pieces on left and right side of box and one centered. Tack into place with nails.

Step 6: Prime and Paint

Using a sash brush, apply primer to window box. If using a dark color like red or black, start with a tinted primer coat for better coverage. Allow primer to dry, then apply one to two coats of exterior semi-gloss paint. Tip: For a smooth finish on the window box, fill nail and screw holes with wood filler before painting. Allow to dry, then sand entire box with medium-grit sandpaper. As this is an exterior project, this finishing step is optional.

Step 7: Hang Window Box

Holding window box in place against cleats, drive four screws through back panel into each 2x4 block. Tip: If you wish, decorative brackets can be added under the window box for additional support and architectural detail.

Step 8: Create Drainage

Using a 3/8-inch drill bit, drill holes straight through bottom panel to allow for drainage. Drill one hole roughly every six square inches.

Step 9: Fill Window Box

Add a 1- to 2-inch layer of gravel in the bottom of window box, to allow excess water to drain. Cover gravel with potting soil, filling box to about an inch from top. Add plants and thoroughly water.

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