A Cottage-Style Window Box

Dress up your home with vibrant blooms
Our arrangement includes salvia, Dusty MillerĀ and verbena. Photo courtesy of Saige Roberts.

This do-it-yourself window box is easy to make and is the perfect container to fill with herbs or flowers, then hang from a deep windowsill or porch ledge.

For a truly eye-catching sight, paint the box a color that complements the color of your home, then fill the box with blooms of a vibrant, contrasting color. Just make sure you pay attention to how much sunlight will fall on the window box and select your flowers accordingly. For full sun, try geraniums. For partial sun, go with begonias. Impatiens do well in the shade.

How to Build a Window Box


  • Power tools: table saw, miter saw, drill with 3/32” bit and Philips driver bit, electric sander
  • Quarter-inch plywood, half-sheet (2’ x 4’)
  • ¾” wood screws (#6-style), two dozen
  • Measuring tape
  • Exterior paint, any color
  • Paintbrush with angled tip
  • Clear-coat waterproofing spray
  • Clean seashells (about 6 cups, all sizes)
  • Potting soil
  • Flowers or herbs

Photo courtesy of Charles Bakofsky

Mark and cut the plywood (see illustration for dimensions), and then assemble and add the finishing touches to the window box:

Step 1: Screw the top edge of the Back piece into one of the long edges of the Shelf Lip piece, forming an upside-down-and-backwards L-shape.

Step 2: Screw the Brace into the center of the Base piece, so it’s perpendicular to the Base. The Brace should hang over one side of the Base by 1/4” on one end and should be flush with the Base on the other end.

Step 3: Screw the Back piece into the Base, first ensuring that the Base is Brace-side up (facing the interior of the window box), and that the overhanging portion of the Brace is situated in the front of the window box.

Step 4: Move the Sides into place inside either end of the box, with the shortest side of each Side piece facing the bottom of the box. The angled side should touch the Back of the box. The sides will appear a tiny bit too large for the box on the front edge, but that’s for drainage purposes. Screw the Back into the Sides, and then screw the bottom of the Sides into the Base.

Step 5: Screw the Front piece to the Sides and the Brace.

Step 6: Sand and paint the window box and seal the box all over with waterproofing spray.

Step 7: Fill the base of the box with seashells, placing the largest shells over the crack that is between the base of the box and the front. This will allow water to drain out of the box while also keeping the soil in the box.

Step 8: Fill the window box with potting soil and plant your flowers!

Categories: Ideas