Window Box

Scott built a fabulous window box to give a kitchen window some old-world charm. Don added the finishing touches with decorative houseplants.


tape measure
carpenter’s pencil
power or hand saw
power drill and drill bits
tin snips
paint brush

5.1m pink primed H3 Losp finger jointed pine
40mm galvanised bullet head nails

40mm galvanised screws
galvanised heavy gauge mesh
waterproofing membrane
exterior low sheen acrylic paint

Building the box

1. Measure the size of the window, as well as the pots you are going to put into the window box. Determine the dimensions of the box accordingly. Scott’s window box measured 1500mm x 230mm x 270mm. (Tip: make sure the window box doesn’t obstruct external passages.)
2. Cut timber to size. (Note: end pieces should be less the thickness of the two side pieces, in this case, 230mm wide.)
3. Measure and mark the positions of the decorative cut-outs. Cut out the squares using a jigsaw. (Tip: start by drilling a hole big enough to insert the jigsaw blade). Each hole in Scott’s window box measured 100mm x 100mm.
4. Join (preferably glue and screw) the sides and the end pieces to create the box. Fit the base of the box (in this case 230mm wide) on the inside for a neater look.
5. Use tin snips to cut out strips of heavy gauge mesh to cover the feature holes. Nail the mesh over the holes on the inside of the box.
6. Drill some drainage holes in the bottom of the box.
7. Sand the box and then apply 2 coats of exterior low sheen acrylic paint to the outside. Paint the inside with a waterproofing membrane.
8. Scott cut wedges to fit on the sloping sill, to level the box. The wedges were glued to the sill using construction adhesive, then the box was screwed to the wedges through the bottom of the box.


The window box faces north so Don chose plants that are drought hardy and can tolerate the harsh summer sun. The plants were simply popped straight into the box, still in their pots. This will prolong the life of the window box and make maintenance easy – pots can simply be changed whenever required.

Don showed how to change the plants to suit your mood and style. First he put electric pink zonal pelargoniums (Pelargonium x hortorum ‘Jana’) in the window box. He then swapped them over with bright fire engine red pelargoniums (Pelargonium x hortorum ‘Sassy Dark Red’). For a completely different look, he removed the pelargoniums and replaced them with fashionable succulents (Echeveria ‘Mauna Loa’ and Aeonium arboreum ‘Schwarzkopf’). Both zonal pelargoniums and succulents store water in their stems, enabling them to survive on the hot window sill. A very shallow saucer was placed under each pot, to provide a small reservoir of water in dry times.

Further information

This window box cost about $120 to build.
Pelargonium x hortorum ‘Jana’ and ‘Sassy Dark Red’ cost about $8 for 140mm (6″) pots.
Echeveria ‘Mauna Loa’ costs around $8 for a 140mm (6″) pot.
Aeonium arboreum ‘Schwarzkopf’ costs $12 for a 140mm (6″) pot.