Thursday, October 22, 2009

Best window-boxes in Morningside

(Please see the update at the bottom)

I want a window-box planter for our triple window. So I've been scouting around the neighborhood, checking out the Internet. Now I "see" them when I'm out. Here is the best in Morningside; it's not even close.


It's a teardown that didn't try too hard to blend. I think it turned out great. The window-boxes are a big part of it.


Those things are way up there. How do they water them?


Aha! A drip system:


I think these are metal lattice with matching planting pans. I guess you could use individual pots instead of the pans.

Here are a few more from the Duck Pond Tour. This one contains more plants that my whole yard. It's wood in a very straightforward rustic style, probably my style.


This one too. It also has a drip hose.


Here it is in context with your umbrella toting host. This is like our house (stone, white brick, sage trim) but kicked up by orders of magnitude:


So where do you get them? Smith and Hawkin is gone but there are plenty of ready-mades. They have several standard sizes but our triple window isn't a standard size.


Ideally we'd get a custom design and thus custom built boxes. They'd cost more than furniture. Well as Tara says, they need to look great when empty and they have to survive in the rain and sun.

The Atlanta architecture firm, Spitzmiller & Norris, offer professional plans on their website, a very good thing from a very good outfit.

Here is an actual Spitzmiller & Norris window box in one my favorite homes/yards in Atlanta. This house has been on "Homes Across America."


This house:

Windowbox, gravel, dovecote, and everything else by Spitzmiller & Norris.


Seen any good window-boxes? Tell where I can fix some pictures and plans.


Update: Thanks much for Pam Kersting at the GardenDesigns & More for the comments, please read them. She's a pro and raises the questions that magazines can't answer:
  • Is there a higher priority than a window box?
  • A style and size of box that compliments the house?
  • Boxes for one window our how many windows?
  • The right plants in context with the house and landscaping?
  • The right plants by seasons?
Here is the triple window from the street:


Here it is at Thanksgiving


Not long after the famous front yard drainage and sewer massacre.



  1. Terry,

    I don't know much about window boxes. I guess I'd worry that they might leak and damage the house where they are attached.

    The architecture firm you linked to for this post has a fantastic portfolio. I'm going to have fun looking at their work.

  2. Terry, I loved this post. I am a fan of window boxes. My step-mother in Madison has one window box, but she is a master gardener so it is always gorgeous. But I have no photos!

    I had the most fun with the Duck Pond Tour post you provided the link to. Those photos were amazing, and what a fabulous looking, albeit wet, spring day with all that green.

  3. I had my contractor build mine because I could never find some I loved. But I love these. They seem to give a home so much personality... both inside and out.

  4. I love window boxes--thanks so much for this tour!

  5. Window boxes, ayy? Well Terry, we must first ask what is the purpose of the window box? In my opinion, it is to break up or soften a large expanse or vertical facade while bringing color into the indoor environment. In the first few photos, this is clearly what they are doing. Imagine that big vertical wall without them? Great job there, although you must be careful not to have too many color schemes and plants competing with each other. I love, love, love the fact that they are on a drip system! Smart owners!

    In your next example, with the hydrangea, the plants in the window box are competing with the plants in the ground in front of them. Not a good use for a window box to compete with the bed in front. If it were mine, I would have kept it filled with plants that added color only, and left the greens on the ground. Because as it is now, it blends in with the garden in front and is obscured by the garden in front. The window box adds very little to this composition.

    Next photo of the window box on the white-painted brick house is my personal favorite. It does the job that it was intended to do here and is not obscured by any planting in front of it. You can tell it is a window box for shade because it is filled with ivy, heuchera and fern (all shade lovers). I also like how the color of the window box matches the trim of the house. Very nice.

    Last one by Spitzmiller & Norris, I still have the issue with the plantings in front both obscuring AND detracting from the window box. The plants in the box really aren't doing anything that the garden in front isn't doing. They need to take a lesson from the Swiss or the Germans in how to plant a window box -- they need to contrast with the garden in front by adding color, imho.

    I have just finished a design for a historic mansion in Wilmington where I have specified two window boxes. I'll have to photograph them when it is finished to show you my take on the issue!

    Terry, go out and borrow a friend for a day and make yourself the window boxes! Take your cues from your home! I wonder if Walpole Wood Products has any? You may look them up online and see. Good luck and show us your boxes when you are done!

  6. Terry look up Walpole Woodworkers online. They do have windowboxes and they could most likely make the custom width for you. Or at the very least, you could get some good ideas from them.

    Good luck!

  7. No suggestions yet, but to say that I love window boxes and had no idea those drip irrigation systems even existed. I'll be on the lookout!

  8. Hello Pam, Here is the link to Walpole Woodworkers Window Boxes (a tongue twister).

    Thanks so much. I added some pictures of our propose triple window box location.

  9. Now that I've seen your beautiful house Terry, your solution is so easy!! The window box color should match the trim color of your windows. In summer, I would suggest that you plant the same type of impatiens used at the front of your driveway (as in the first photo you showed). This is called linkage! Your eye will see the impatiens at the front of your driveway and then link to the same flowers beyond in your window box adjacent to your entrance! It is a no brainer! Word of warning -- keep the plantings in front of your window box low so they won't compete with the window box. Have fun!

  10. I love the look of window boxes and always admire those houses who have them and can keep them looking lovely. I know myself well enough not to try it.
    Have you ever been to the countryside of Switzerland? Almost every house seems to have window boxes full of red geraniums - so pretty!

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