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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle - The Second Window Box

My oh my, it certainly cooled down. We are probably 20 degrees cooler than yesterday. It is 71 degrees in Wisconsin today! It is cloudy and damp and humid but at least the temperature has dropped.

That crazy 90° stuff of the last for 5 days has just been insane for May in Wisconsin.

Steveio scavenged through the leftover treated wood from our fence project last year. He figured he'd have enough to design and make four sturdy brackets to hold up our window boxes.

I love it that we are recycling from the storage area of the garage and not using any new materials to build these window boxes boxes and brackets. Recycling at its finest!!

He looked at the design of our bracket that holds up the rear shaker porch on the second story. Using that same Craftsman Design he manufactured his own heavy duty planter box brackets.

These will be mounted directly through the siding into the studs, using five heavy lag screws on each bracket. They should easily hold the weight of the window boxes.

I stained them with the white solid colored stain, just like our fence, and Mr Antsy-Pants had to get the first ones mounted up on the house before they were barely even dry. He made sure that the brackets were level and straight and true and got them secured into place. Before I could even snap a pic, he had the box lifted up and set into place!

Locating the studs on the front of the house was a little tricky. He actually had to offset the window box a little bit from from centering it underneath the porch windows overhead. But on the other hand, with the hydrangea bush being so full on the right, it really is centered in the space. With a 6 ft long window box, I don't think it needed to be exactly symmetrical under the windows anyhow.  In the winter, I leave the hydrangea up with the dried heads being a feature.  And I plan to lay pine boughs and bows in the window boxes too.

Then we went to the store... $68 later we came out with enough materials to fill two window boxes!!! In all fairness, $30 of it was the special potting soil. It's a moisture control soil with fertilizer in it that helps to keep the roots moist for longer periods of time.

Because these window boxes will be located under the eaves, I will be watering them from my rain barrels with a watering can, probably every other day. I divided the flowers in half, so we could fill the first box up in the front of the house.  Love using our little red wagon for this purpose.

After the inner rubberized coating was dry in the boxes, we covered the drain holes with pieces of mesh tape, used for seaming drywall. This will help prevent the dirt from leaking out with the excess water.

Again, keeping with our Recycling and Reusing theme, there were five old styrofoam rose cones from up in the attic of our garage. They were left there by the previous sellers. So we chopped them up into little pieces, enough to fill the bottom of each window box for the first layer. This way I'm not filling the first inch or two with heavy pea gravel. It will help the boxes drain if we get a downpour rain angling in from the east.

NOTE- be careful if you decide to use packing peanuts to do this,
 because many of those new ones are made to dissolve.

Once that was all in place we carefully filled each portion with the new dirt. I love getting my hands dirty and feeling it between the fingers and smelling that earthy musty smell of new dirt. Steve dumped in the bag and a half while I spread it around and broke up the clumps.

Now it was time to arrange the plants. I put the taller plants to the back and the shorter plants to the front. I clumped them in groups of three in various colors. I tried to balance them from side to side so it will be somewhat harmonious from the edges to the middle.

I hope it will look interesting as they fill in and grow up. Along the front edge I put white alyssum and scopia that looks like tiny daisies that will cascade over the front. In each corner I put an interesting dangling vine called lysimachia in a bright chartreuse green.  The rest is filled in with colorful versions of petunias,pansies, marigolds, impatiens, and some small variegated coleus.

I topped off the dirt around each plant and we gave it a careful watering for the first time. I was trying not to disturb any of the fresh plantings but trying to get the potting soil to settle around each plant.

That was enough for Tuesday night. We were both soaked to the gills with sweat and what we needed was a nice cool shower.

The rest of the evening was spent out in our front porch because the temperatures were starting to drop. It was still humid, but the temps were dropping fast over an hour.  It's been the first evening in a week that we could sit in the front porch with the windows open and enjoy the fragrance of the lilacs blossoming outside on the front corner of the house. We stayed out there until almost 11 p.m. I was reading a good book and Steve was relaxing, with the dogs curled up at our feet. Very, very peaceful.

Wednesday morning, Steve had to leave early to do his driving job. It was raining outside so I had some time to work on my quilt. I'm almost done with the blocks--- soon it will be assembled and ready to be loaded onto my quilting frame.

He came home at noon while the rain drops stopped long enough for him to mount the other two brackets on the side of the house. This is on the south side located underneath the windows to my loom room. He located the studs and this time and they lined up exactly perfect underneath the window.

Once he had the brackets into place, then we could figure out where the box would set so he could cut the little notches and drill the drainage holes.

Those are crank out windows on each side but we only put them out a couple inches. The windows are not able to crank out too far or otherwise they bind and cannot be cranked back in anyhow. We normally just crack them open a bit for some fresh air.  Someday I would like to restore them back to the three double hung windows that were on the house originally.

Before he left to go back to work, he gobbled down his lunch, and then he helped me lift the second window box up onto my rolling cart. From there I was able to start filling the box with the styrofoam bits, the dirt and the rest of the remaining plants from last night.

It's almost 4 p.m. now and he will be home soon. 
Then we can lift it up and put it into place. 


It's a bit dreary in the pics,
due to the cloudy skies and 
rain on and off all day. 

I think it really starts to dress up this south side of the house.
Next, I think all the windows need either shutters,
or some other blue trim around the windows? 

As an added P.S. Speaking of dressing up the house--- earlier in the week, we removed the painted green squares of soffit material that had been put across the front of the house between the windows and the porch roof.  It was probably done the same time they did all the vinyl siding. Five years ago, I had painted the green squares on every other section, to cover up the textured areas that would trap dirt and look icky,

Now Steve removed them all....  it unearthed the old imprint of the house numbers from many years ago. We didn't know what we would find underneath, or why it was covered up with the tin soffit material?  Other than just not wanting to have to paint the wood, it didn't make a lot of sense to cover it up.  The frames and windows on the porch are all wood and need to be repainted every so often, so why not the flat header board above them?

I painted across it all fresh new white on the nice flat wood underneath. Back to the way it was originally.  I would love to go back to all natural wood siding on the whole house, but for now the vinyl siding will have to stay.

Steve took down the light fixture that we put up five years ago. There had never been a front porch exterior light before.  This one had such pretty leaded glass when we bought it.  It had a black frame and top which I had painted green, and now I painted it blue!   Then he put it back up again in it's proper place.

We added a trim strip of thin wood (also from the attic of the garage that I painted blue too) where the soffit meets the newly exposed white header over the windows.  Ahhhh that looks better!

Soooo I wonder what our next project will be??? 


  1. Oh my, those flowers boxes will be beautiful both inside and outside. I’m jealous!

  2. Crikey ... how good will those window boxes look? My Mum looks vex window boxes. They remind her of Germany. You sure did a great job with yours. Can’t wait to see what they look like when they grow a bit.

  3. Third time's a charm? Tried to leave a comment twice before! Love the recycling project! Steve is such a handy guy- any chance you would rent him out? My hubby has good intentions but....


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