How to Build a Window Box

Video Transcript

Video Transcript

RON HAZELTON:    Well, here we are in East Grand Rapids, ready to help the Alietta family with some window dressing.

KERIN ALIETTA:    We’d like to put a window box in right under the picture window in the front.  I thought it would jazz up the front of the house.

RON HAZELTON:    You know, if I’ve ever seen a window that was made for a window box, this is it.  (MUSIC OUT)  Where are we going to put it?

KERIN ALIETTA:    Well, I thought the box would look great right under the brick there.

RON HAZELTON:    Uh huh.  Going the full length of the sill.

KERIN ALIETTA:    Yeah.  Yeah.  I think it’s about 10 feet long and, you know, I thought it would be a good mother/daughter project here.

RON HAZELTON:    You two are mother and daughter?  I thought you were sisters!

KERIN ALIETTA:    Yes.  Well, bless you!

RON HAZELTON:    This is the stock or wood that we’re going to be using for our project right here.  It’s all pressure treated lumber.  I’ve asked Mandy and Kerin to go ahead and put a coat of paint on this before we put this together.  It’ll save us some time.  Come over here, guys, and let me show you what we’ve got here.  This is... this 2x8 is going to be our bottom.  This is a front and a back, 1x6.  And over here, a shorter piece of wood out of which we’re going to cut the ends.


RON HAZELTON:    From the short piece of 1x6, I measure and lay out the end pieces.  (TALKING IN BACKGROUND - INAUDIBLE)  Now we could cut these using a power saw, but because Kerin and Mandy were new to power tools, I decided to give them a lesson using one of my favorite Japanese hand saws.  Let me just get this started for you and then I’d like you to just saw right on back down that line.

KERIN ALIETTA:    All right.

RON HAZELTON:    Okay.  Just start it... that’s great.  Great.  Okay, Kerin, I want you to dirll some pilot holes in this end piece for me.  Have you ever used a drill before?

KERIN ALIETTA:    No, I haven’t, Ron.

RON HAZELTON:    Ah, the premiere performance.  Okay, let’s go!  (TALKING IN BACKGROUND - INAUDIBLE)  Drilling holes in the end pieces will keep the screws we’ll be using from splitting the wood.  Like her mom, Mandy is a quick study on the drill.  While I hold the end pieces in place, Mandy replaces the drill bit with the screwdriver bit and attaches the ends to the bottom.

MANDY ALIETTA:    I’m getting to be a pro at this.

RON HAZELTON:    Push, push, push, push.  Beautiful, beautiful.  All right.  One more and we’re done here on this end.  Flip this over.


RON HAZELTON:    Let’s use that to support our wood.  (TALKING IN BACKGROUND - INAUDIBLE)  Next, we get ready to attach the front and back to the bottom.  First we do a test to make sure that everything fits properly.  It should be flush with the end.  You’re pretty close to it.

MANDY ALIETTA:  It is.  That’s good.

RON HAZELTON:    That’s good.  Then we once again pre-drill the holes to allow the screws to go in more easily.  Now rust proof screws are ideal for planter boxes, but they can be unsightly.  The problem is, I don’t want the screw heads to show.  So what’s the solution?  Countersinking!  Countersinking!  That’s what we’re going to do.  Okay?  And to do that, this is a special... this is called a countersink bit.  See, it’s sort of shaped like a cone?  We’re going to put this in the hole we’ve just drilled and create a little depression here.  A little more.  About like that, okay?  A little cone shaped depression.  Then we drop the screw in.  Now the screw head is below the surface of the wood, so we can come back over and spackle this.  You’ll never know these are here.

MANDY ALIETTA:    That’s great.

RON HAZELTON:    There you go.


RON HAZELTON:    So we won’t rely on screws alone to hold the planter together.  We’ll also apply a bead of waterproof construction adhesive before we attach the front and back.  Perfect.  Okay.  Kerin, this is the front now.  Okay?  Just lay it right on top of the glue.  There you go.  We’re going to drive these screws in.  Now these are two and a half inch long, rustproof screws.  Right in here.  So we’re going right down that countersink and we won’t see the heads of these because we’re going to fill that up.  Look at this girl go.

KERIN ALIETTA:    Yeah, very... very good, Mandy.

RON HAZELTON:    Very good.  Okay.  This is our back.  We’ve got to glue in place.  Guys, just make sure that it’s flush with the ends.  So push or pull it, whatever you have to do.  (TALKING IN BACKGROUND - INAUDIBLE)  We use exterior spackle to cover the screw holes, making sure to press the spackle firmly into the hole and remove the access.  Now we’ll let everything dry overnight.  Oh, what a beautiful morning to install a flower box, huh?

KERIN ALIETTA:    Hi, Ron.  How you doing?

RON HAZELTON:    Okay, guys, come over here, if you wouldn’t mind.  This is going to be a power operation.

KERIN ALIETTA:    Thank you.



RON HAZELTON:    What we want to do right now is we’re going to drill some drainage holes in the bottom of the box right here.  Now, remember, this window box is going to be filled with wet soil for maybe years.  So I don’t trust the pressure treatment on this lumber to keep this from rotting out.  We need something else.  Now, I could use a plastic liner like this, but I couldn’t find one that really would fit this.  So another alternative is roofing compound.  You can buy this in any home improvement center.  You simply apply this with a wide putty knife, just like you were frosting a cake.

KERIN ALIETTA:    As Ron says, just like spreading frosting.

MANDY ALIETTA:    It sticks really easy.

RON HAZELTON:    Next, we place small squares of weed cloth over the drainage holes.  This will prevent soil from washing out.  Okay.  Let’s... let’s attach this planter to the wall now.  I’ve got us set up over here.  We’re going to use these angle brackets right here and we’re going to mount them in this direction.  The first thing we’ve got to do, though, is drill some holes here.  And I’ve got a half-inch carbide tipped bit in here.  And this is a hammer drill.  It’s actually... it looks like a drill but it sort of hammers as it turns.  You’ll see it’s going to make this drilling go a lot faster.  This is called a lag shield or sometimes called an anchor.  It’s made of lead and it’s going to go right in this hole that we just drilled here.  Just tap it in with your hammer.  There you go, just...  The L brackets are held in place with 2 inch long lag screws.  Using a socket wrench, Kerin and Mandy tighten them snugly.  All right.  I hope this fits.  I’d hate to have to re-do all this, guys.

KERIN ALIETTA:    The big moment is here.

RON HAZELTON:    Okay.  There we go, right on the brackets.


MANDY ALIETTA:    Looks great, Ron.  That’s terrific!

RON HAZELTON:    Underneath, we use additional lag screws to attach the window box to the L bracket.  With the planter complete, it’s time for us to add potting soil.

KERIN ALIETTA:    That’s... that’s great.  There, that should do it.  It’s ready for the plants.

RON HAZELTON:    Oh, I love this.  I like the way some of these come down and you get flowers going up here.  Very, very nice.  You know, (MUSIC IN) this was a beautiful window before, but this really completes the picture and you guys did almost all the work.

KERIN ALIETTA:    It looks like it’s always been here, but it certainly dresses it up.

RON HAZELTON:    It does!


RON HAZELTON:    Fits right in with the shutters.

KERIN ALIETTA:    Yeah.  Thanks so much.

RON HAZELTON:    You’re welcome.

Build a Full-length Treated-lumber Window Box Planter to Add a Little Window Dressing to an Eye-catching Window

Build a window box planter gauged to compliment your home and the window sill dimensions. Container gardening of any size and shape lends a little eye-candy to a house and a little green to the environment. Coats of paint can color-coordinate it with the house, while an interior layer of roofing compound will extend the life of the pressure-treated lumber.

Paint Treated-lumber Planks for the Window Box
Step 1

Paint Treated-lumber Planks for the Window Box

Save time by pre-painting the planks for the window box: a two-by-eight, 2 one-by-sixes, and a shorter one-by-six to cut for the ends. The wood is all treated lumber, but is being dressed to coordinate with the existing house trim.

Measure and Cut End Pieces for the Window Box
Step 2

Measure and Cut End Pieces for the Window Box

Measure and mark the shortest plank for two rectangular end pieces for the window box. Their length will match the width of the large bottom plank. Cut with any saw that makes a straight cut, such as a Japanese handsaw.

Pre-drill Pilot Holes and Secure Ends to Window Box Bottom
Step 3

Pre-drill Pilot Holes and Secure Ends to Window Box Bottom

Drill three countersunk pilot holes at the lower edge of both end pieces for the window box. Pre-drilling prevents the wood from splitting. Secure both ends to the bottom of the container with rust-proof screws.

Add Construction Adhesive to the Window Box Edges
Step 4

Add Construction Adhesive to the Window Box Edges

Confirm the front and back fit and pre-drill countersunk pilot holes on their bottom edges. Add a bead of construction adhesive and then position the components individually on the window box planter assembly.

Secure the Window Box's Front and Back with Rust-proof Screws
Step 5

Secure the Window Box's Front and Back with Rust-proof Screws

Drive 2.5 inch rust-proof screws into the pilot holes to secure the front and sides of the window box to the bottom. Fill around the screw heads with exterior-grade spackling compound and a putty knife. Let it dry overnight.

Waterproof the Interior of the Window Box with Roofing Compound
Step 6

Waterproof the Interior of the Window Box with Roofing Compound

Sand lightly to smooth the window box. Drill drainage holes in the window box bottom. Apply roofing compound to the interior with a putty knife, and then cover the holes with landscape fabric to prevent soil from washing out.

Drill Holes for Angle Brackets to Support the Window Box
Step 7

Drill Holes for Angle Brackets to Support the Window Box

Mark bracket locations under the sill to evenly support window box weight. Use a bar level to ensure that the holes are level. Drill holes in the masonry with a .5 inch carbide-tipped bit on an electric hammer drill.

Mount the Window Box Brackets with Lag Screws
Step 8

Mount the Window Box Brackets with Lag Screws

Hammer lag shields/lead anchors into the holes for the window box brackets. They should be flush with the wall. Mount the L-brackets with 2-inch lag screws, tightening them snugly with a socket wrench.

Position and Secure the Window Box with Additional Lag Screws
Step 9

Position and Secure the Window Box with Additional Lag Screws

Center the window box planter on the mounting brackets under the sill. Secure the box to the brackets with additional lag screws underneath the planter. Tighten the lag screws with a socket wrench.

Fill the Window Box Planter with Potting Soil and Plants
Step 10

Fill the Window Box Planter with Potting Soil and Plants

Add potting soil to the window box in a generous layer. Position plants and fill in around them with more soil to cover the roots and anchor them in the planter. Finish your container garden by watering the plants.