Window Boxes are a great way to add curb appeal to your home. It’s a great way to blend a nicely landscaped yard with the home. There are many things to consider when trying to make your selection. Questions include: How much does it cost? Can it be painted? How long will it last? Can it be installed into the home? Are custom lengths available? What does it look like? How long will we be living in the home? These are all very valid questions and to help you make your decision I will discuss the pros and cons of each of the different styles currently being used in the industry.
Window boxes come in a variety of materials. Wood window boxes are the traditional standard and can be directly mounted to the home to add value. Disadvantages to wood window boxes are that they will rot, it’s just a matter of when. Wood is not ideal for moisture prone applications and once water seeps into the material and generally last about 2-3 years before rot sets in and five years before they begin falling off the house. The advantages to wood are that they can be custom made to fit almost any size and are usually the most affordable for custom windows.
The next choice is vinyl. Vinyl window boxes can be affordable and are often made from thinly molded material that usually is vulnerable to cracking over time. The pros to vinyl are that they are very light in weight and they will not rot like a wooden window box. The disadvantages to vinyl flower boxes are that they cannot be directly mounted to the home, but will need to sit atop brackets. The advantages to vinyl are that they resist rotting and work well for small windows. The disadvantages are that they tend to have a shiny, plastic finish to them which can be a turn off for some people.
Additionally, wrought iron is an often used choice for flower boxes. Wrought iron window boxes achieve a distinct look that is nowhere to be found with any other material choice. For many people who want this look, wrought iron is the only choice for them. Disadvantages to wrought-iron are rusting. You may need to spray the boxes with a primer and with black spray paint periodically to keep chipped paint from being exposed. This will keep the box looking new for a long time. Additionally, wrought-iron window boxes often act as more of a holding cage than a true window box. Often potted plants are placed inside of the cage or a separate window box all together. The advantages to wrought-iron is that they add a distinct look of class, they can be customized, and they can be maintained to last a long time. Aluminum is considered a potentially better alternative to wrought-iron, because of its ability to never rust and lower maintenance as well as it’s light weight. Nowadays, many aluminum window boxes can be fabricated and painted black to look like wrought-iron with less maintenance.
Next, PVC is a newer material choice for flower boxes. PVC window boxes are ideal for those who are in it for the long haul, otherwise they may be out of your price range. Unlike vinyl, PVC window boxes made from solid material that will not crack and can be bolted through the back for strong installation. And unlike wood and vinyl, PVC window boxes are low in maintenance and hold paint for 15-20 years without fading. They are impervious to water making them good for this type of application. Disadvantages to PVC window boxes are that they can be expensive, sometimes twice the cost of wood or more.
Keep in mind that each material will offer its own advantages and disadvantages. By knowing what look you’re trying to achieve you can decide if wood, vinyl, PVC, or metal is the best choice for you. Good luck and happy gardening!