Window boxes are a type of container gardening that offer the potential to really enhance your curb appeal and add value to your home. They tend to signal that this is a very well-cared for home with wonderful attention to detail. That’s because, by their nature, window boxes need to be well maintained. After all, nobody is going to want to show off a haggard, straggly bunch of weeds on their home’s façade!
The basics of window box gardening are fairly simple. You need a strong planter box that’s firmly attached to your window with wall brackets. It should have drainage holes, be lined and the base filled with rocks or stones to further help with drainage. Add high quality fast-draining potting mix, and fill with plants suited to the amount of light the space receives. Regularly water and fertilise, and prune occasionally as this helps plants living in a restricted space.
The best window box ideas give your home exterior a touch of class and beauty. They add texture to flat surfaces, and create little eye-catching pieces of drama. Below, I’ve hunted down a bunch of window box ideas that would look amazing in a contemporary home, including coastal luxe or Hamptons homes.
1. Thriller, filler, spiller
Gardeners talk about the classic ‘thriller, filler, spiller’ contents of a window box display. For instance you might have a dramatic focal fern with spiky-looking foliage. Then add a base of soft round pastel flowers and a cascading, tiny bloomed ‘spiller’. The result is a visually pleasing mix of texture and colour that appears random but has been carefully thought out.
2. The layered look
Most window boxes aim for a variety of plants of different heights, widths and forms to create a beautifullylayered, bouquet effect. Ensuring you add evergreens into the mix means you’ll be able to enjoy colour and vibrancy through the seasons when other plants are dormant.
3. Exuberant colour
If you love bright flowers, a traditional boldly coloured window box may be more up your alley (or rather, façade). Contrast a white flower box with a mix of fuchsia impatiens, a shade lover, and dichondra, glorious trailing foliage.
4. Sun-loving plants
It’s important to choose your plants according to the amount of sun your boxes will get. If you have a sunny window, choose sun-loving plants. For example, plants like Senecio, verbena and sweet potato vine, all plants that love lots of direct light.
5. The bouquet look
A classic window box arrangement is to create a ‘bridal bouquet’ effect, which look gorgeous especially against a white façade. Feature a pretty array of tiny and mid-sized blooms in white and purples, and set against velvety green foliage. It’s a good idea to seek out blooms that are fragrant, too, so you can enjoy the scent of perfume through your window!
One reason people love window boxes is that they add visual interest and texture to an otherwise plain house façade. A classic look is to pair your window boxes with shutters, like this. You can modernise a traditional window box with Corten steel boxes which have a lovely weathered patina.
7. Simple design
There’s an endless choice of plant colours, textures and sizes. But you can narrow it down to a combination of plants that need the same amount of light and water. Work with the traditional window box ‘recipe’. That is, a focal plant at the centre and the spaces on either side filled up with so-called ‘spillers’ or cascading plants.
8. Soft colours
Perhaps you would love a window box but don’t necessarily want something too bold? A gentle mix of interesting textures and soft colours may be the way to go. I love a simple white wooden box against a white weatherboard exterior with an array of pretty blooms and trailing plants.
9. Inside window box ideas
Not all windows are able to incorporate a window box, for example windows with handles that would get in the way of a window box. But if you think laterally, you can construct timber boxes and hang them from sisal rope. Then simply fill them with cascading vines to create unique indoor window boxes with a striking effect.
10. Black and white
A black window box against a white window frame like this has a striking high contrast effect. You could go for a simple, single flower arrangement in the box that’s equally stark and unfussy. Perfect for those who prefer a minimal, Scandi style look.
Another option is to go for a window box design that showcases an intentionally overgrown look. Enjoy vibrant blooms cascading down your wall. They really pop against a pale-coloured wall and pastel painted shutters.
12. Tiny and neat
If you prefer a more restrained look, consider just a tiny little window box with delicate flowers. For character, opt for a weathered metal window box.
13. Cedar window box
You could have a beautiful minimal window box made up for you out of cedar, going for clean lines. It’s an easy-to-build DIY or you could find someone to knock it together cheaply for you. Timber flower boxes always look lovely, especially in a modern farmhouse setting.
14. Stand out
Monochrome window boxes can look amazing. Especially when paired with a statement container like a stunning metallic one. If you decide to go with a single colour planting, a mix of plants of the same colour will create more texture and a lovely layered effect.
When it comes to modern exterior window trim ideas, black trim is strongly contemporary. Or you could go for a solid black window box. It looks fabulous contrasted with a planting in hues of chartreuse, mid-green, white and lavender.
16. Succulent window box
Try a striking mix of spiky succulents and interesting foliages. Succulents are a great low maintenance choice for a window box but they do need sun. Alternatively, if you have low light, you could plant something like sansevieria, philodendron, pothos or ZZ plants.
17. Classic colourful blooms
Love the showy, overflowing cascade of colour of a traditional window box? Opt for classic window box flowers like petunias, begonias or geraniums for a bright colour pop. These look lovely against darker window frames and walls, especially if you harmonise the flower colours with your wall tones.
18. Abundant ferns
Does a window box absolutely have to feature flowers? Not at all! There are so many beautiful types of foliage you can use to create a stunning window box display. For example, a mix of bushy ferns which completely hides the box and appears to just be growing naturally out of the wall.
19. Lattice box with potplants
An alternative to planting directly into a window box is to simply pop potplants into a frame of some kind. Creating a window box in this way means you can easily switch out the plants when you want a change.
20. Single flower arrangement
A striking look is to have a single flower arrangement, like tulips prettying up a modern farmhouse exterior. White timber boxes look fresh and clean and set off dark foliage and deeply hued blooms perfectly.
21. Window box with shutters
The city of Charleston in America is renowned for its lovely window boxes dating back centuries. English-style homes were very popular at the time, and the concept of window boxes was likewise imported. And now, modern farmhouse decor has now claimed this style of window box + shutters as its own.
22. Farmhouse timber
As mentioned, shutters + window boxes strongly bring the modern farmhouse vibes. Consider especially board and batten ones. And using a utility wood like poplar can give that practical, rustic flavour to both your shutters and the matching window box. A very simple planting adds just a little burst of greenery to the look.
23. Faux foliage
Probably the best thing about faux flower window boxes is the no-maintenance factor. And hey, if your window boxes are high up enough, no one will be close enough to see they aren’t real.
24. Pretty farmhouse window box ideas
There are so many beautiful flowers that you can combine to create a vibrant floral mix. Flowers like petunias and pansies, daffodils and azaleas are classic window box flowers. But you can really go with any of your favourite blooms. Add a vintage wooden bench and a jug below the window for a romantic vignette.
25. Oversized window box ideas
A well-established window box featuring both trailing and climbing plants can result in your entire wall becoming covered with blooms and foliage! A lavish display will likely take a little maintenance, particularly pruning in front of the window. If you have a very big window, you might consider having a custom-sized window box built to fit your space.
26. Lush window box
Overplanting is a good thing when it comes to window boxes as this creates the full and lush effect that is often desired. But having said that, it’s best to allow at least a little room for growth and so that plants can breathe. I love the bridal bouquet look, with a nice mix of structured and trimmed plants and trailing vines below. Pale pastel shutters can be added to further beautify the space and give the window definition.
27. Burst of colour
For a dazzling, colourful display against a white house exterior, go for darker plants which will really pop. I love a mix of purple and pink tones, with upright growers combined with gently cascading blooms. And a black timber box can provide a nice base for intensely coloured flowers.
28. Edible window box ideas
Finally, window boxes aren’t just for flowers—you can of course also grow edibles. Herbs are perfect for growing outside a kitchen window, and compact veggies (like cherry tomatoes) are also ideal. For even more colour, try purple and red edibles like purple sage, purple kale and red sorrel. When planning an edible window box, do keep in mind most herbs and veggies like full sun (ie at least six hours a day).
And there you have 28 window box ideas that are guaranteed to enhance the aesthetic value of your home and provide the perfect finishing touch to your home exterior. Do you prefer a rainbow assortment of blooms or are you more in favour of a simple monochromatic planting? Let me know in the comments! And if you’re thinking of adding a window box but aren’t that fond of DIY? You can always find an expert local carpenter who can build you a custom window box to fit your design and space.