Think Outside the Window Box

Oklahoma garden designer Linda Vater creates an easy-to-maintain miniature fall garden filled with color.
Article: Linda Vater, Produced By: Gene B. Bussell

A traffic-stopping window box requires more than a few red geraniums. It demands the same design and attention to detail as any other container garden. For an incredible display that transitions with the seasons, follow these tips. First, remember that size does matter! Make sure the window box is big enough to hold lots of plants. Think of it as a mini-garden with plants of varying sizes and forms. When choosing the style of the box, keep your home's architecture and color palette in mind. A proper window box should be the same width or extend beyond the window by a few inches. Finally, don't overlook the basics: Good soil and drainage are key. Use a quality soilless potting mix to reduce the weight of the container. A liner of metal or heavy-grade plastic will help extend the life of the window box, especially if it's made of wood. Drill generous holes in the bottom for drainage. The result: guaranteed, attention-grabbing charm.

Linda's Easy Container Formula: 

Thriller: Consider this the focal point of your small garden. Usually the tallest element in your planting, it provides vertical interest and drama. Don't hesitate to use small evergreen shrubs or perennials, which last throughout the seasons.

Filler: Here's your chance to use your favorite colors and textures. Try mums, kales, pansies, violas, and snapdragons for fall. Add a few daffodil or tulip bulbs for a pop of color next spring.

Spiller: Bring on the romance with trailers to spill out over the edges. Plant vines, flowers, or ground covers (such as English ivy, winter creeper, and Asiatic jasmine) to cascade over the sides and soften the display.