The 4 step guide to planting a window box or container*

 * 5 steps if you include stepping back to admire your work 🙂


If you’ve got a little spare time and access to a good nursery, it’s really easy to plant a beautiful window box or container.  Just follow these simple steps. 


You start by adding something chunky to the bottom of the planter for drainage and to stop the soil falling through the drainage holes.

Most books suggest broken terracotta pots or ‘crocks’. They’re great, as is chunky gravel. They also have the benefit of adding weight where stability is an issue.

My favourite thing to use for window boxes is chunks of polystyrene, which I get from breaking up the packs that bedding usually comes in. It’s nice and light so helps to keep the overall weight of the planter down, it doesn’t ever get too cold to the touch, so it is a little bit of warmth for the plants in winter, and it’s recycling. Bingo, what’s not to like?


Then you add your compost to about half way up. Firm it down well.


Then you add your plants. Try them at different angles and arrangements to get the best possible display. A symmetrical layout suits most situations. It’s really the only thing that will do for a formal style of property and it will bring a sense of order and balance to a more rustic setting.


Then you top up all the little nooks and crannies with more compost. There will be loads and this will take a while because you’re now working around your precious plants. Water well, check for gaps, and add more compost if necessary. You can a add a bark or slate topping to the soil for aesthetics if your planting is minimalist, but if you’re going for a fully leafy look then this isn’t necessary as it will all soon be covered up anyway.

5. (Optional but recommended)

Step back and admire your work!

I really hope that you’ve found this guide useful, but I love to dish out gardening advice, so if there’s more you’d like to know or you’ve got a specific question, do just drop me an email to or via the form on our contact page.  


Chloe's signature, in her signature colour pink

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