We have a small window on the side of our garage that I rarely think about, however, I really should give it more attention because it is street facing.
As much as it always pains me to show our embarrassing before photos, I feel it is necessary in a world of picture perfect online photo streams. So there you go. Overgrown yard, neglected window, Craigslist items piled in the garage...
There were two goals for this little window; the first was to add shutters that match the ones installed on the front of our home, and the second was to install a bulkier planter box filled with more blooms.
We no longer had the specific details on the shutters that were installed when we built 16 years ago, so I searched around online and found some that were almost identical on this website here. After measuring the garage window, I placed an order for two gray shutters that were a total of $35.00, and held my breath until they arrived.
In the meantime, I also began looking for window planter boxes that were as wide as the window and had some sort of decorative detailing. Sticker shock set in and I knew we could whip some up on our own vs. buying new and custom. We decided to start with this garage window, and if we liked the outcome we would also eventually build more for the front of our house as well.
Window measurements in hand (our window is 48" wide), we went to our local home improvement store to look at wood options. Knowing we would ultimately be painting the wood with exterior grade paint, we decided on some inexpensive 1" x 8" x 8' common boards. Two to be exact. We also purchased some decorative trim pieces, this one for the top of the box and this for the bottom and corners.
To create the box, we built a simple "u" shape that we capped on each end.
We cut the two common boards with our sliding miter saw and nailed them together using our brad nailer and some 1 3/8" nails. We also used wood glue to be sure everything was nice and secure.
We get a lot of questions about the type of compressor we use with our brad nailer and it is just a small 2-gallon option that we purchased quite a few years ago. Ryobi now offers a cordless/compressor-less brad nailer that we are considering, but in the meantime, we are OK toting this small compressor around as we work on our home projects.
Once the box frame was built, we moved on to trimming it out with some decorative moulding.
Measure and mark...
Nail (this time with 5/8" nails)...
Same steps were followed for the corner trim and some lattice trim we added as a strip down the front center.
Once everything was assembled, we caulked all of the holes and edges. We did this twice in spots to be sure everything was sealed and moisture resistant.
After sanding it down smooth, I gave the window box three coats of exterior paint in Behr's Marquee Ultra Pure White.
To mount the planter box below the window I used some brackets found at Home Depot. They came in a black finish so I spray painted them white so they would disappear under the box.
Above you can see that I also added a couple of decorative corbels to the bottom of the planter. I had been saving these specifically for this project from our previous laundry room shelves. We had a total of six corbels which means we can still do two more window boxes on the front of our house to match. I painted the corbels in the exterior white paint and we affixed them to the bottom with some screws. They are not for structure, just for looks.
My biggest concern was drainage when we water or there is rain, so we did two things. First, we drilled small drainage holes in the bottom of the planter near the front half. Secondly, we mounted the box angled in a way that the water would drain away vs. toward the house and down the siding. However, the angle is minimal enough that it isn't noticeable unless you are very up close and personal.
Although, up close and personal is just what I want to be! I absolutely love the planter box and all of the bright and colorful blooms now growing inside.
The shutters ended up matching almost perfectly; there are some very slight and minimal differences but no one would ever notice unless they were held side by side, and even then the variations would be challenging to spot. And considering this is on a completely different side of the house, that will never happen. I couldn't be more thrilled that we were able to find something so inexpensive to help add some oomph to the little window.
The tools and paint were items we had on hand, as were the corbels, so the window box was the cost of the wood ($10) and some detail trim ($12) and the mounting brackets ($10). For under $70 we were able to add shutters and a large decorative flower box! Two small changes that really took this side of the house to a new level. It is almost good enough to distract from the fence that needs staining nearby. Almost...
To be fair, removing the broken screen, washing the windows and mowing were also helpful updates.
So many more projects like this that I would love to get crossed off of our list this summer, including building two more of these guys. Fingers crossed we still have a few more months left before the frost starts covering the ground again.