Boom! Flower boxes are complete and planted! (See part 1 right here.) We couldn’t be happier with the results. Feast your eyes on this:
…But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Here’s a quick reminder of the sad state of our patio just a couple short weekends ago. We like natural wood tones as much as the next person, but this is a little drab, no?
And here’s how it looks – on the outside of the railings at least – with two 4′ planters and one 2′ planter (for our baby herb garden) right about now:
As you can see, we still have a lot of work ahead of ourselves. Notice the sad, empty hanging basket on the hook over there? It’ll be dripping with lush greenery in no time (well, we hope). We’ve also got a table to lightly refinish, some chairs to source, a rug to lay down and a few pillows to cover. And a few more plant surprises on the way.
Now, enough about the future. Back to the boxes.
We do have a couple of construction changes to mention. First, we nixed the idea of covering them in a final coat of polycrylic, since the semi-gloss paint we chose was meant to withstand the elements. Second, we returned over $30 worth of “L” brackets and modified our design to include a simple, sturdy french cleat. This also helped us achieve our goal of keeping the project under $100. Yay for budgets!
If you’re not familiar with a french cleat, here’s a simple photo to show how it works. The top piece mounts to the box, the bottom piece mounts to the wall (or railings in our case) and gravity holds them together.
We purchased one pressure treated 8 foot deck board and I ripped it long ways on a 45 degree angle with my circular saw. I then cut the pieces down to fit inside the trim of the box backs. I then simply screwed the bottom part of the cleats on to our railings with two coarse thread screws per railing for security.
After all the cleats were mounted to the deck, I made sure to caulk all of the gaps and unsightly joints on the trim and panels of the flower boxes. Just remember to buy paintable caulk suited for outdoor use.
Check out our sweet hot pink spray-painted drop cloth. (Remember this sexy fella?) The next step was a simple application of about a coat-and-a-half of Zinnser primer.
After the primer had thoroughly dried, we moved on to Behr exterior semi-gloss paint in ultra pure white – straight from the shelves (no tinting or white-color-picking. Easy!).
This is also pretty straight forward. We made sure that all of the narrow gaps were filled, and painted about one brush stroke down the inside to seal up the area above where our plastic lining was going to hit.
The plastic then got stapled to the insides of the boxes to prolong the life and keep them from rotting from the inside out. It’s a little tough to see in the photo, but before we laid the plastic on to the bottoms, we circled each drainage hole with caulk to keep the plastic from shifting and to seal up the gaps.
Then, holes were poked. Remember, too much water can be just as bad as not enough water.
As we mentioned over in part 1 of this tutorial, these big honkers – 9″ deep x 9″ tall – turned out a little larger than we had initially envisioned. We decided to lighten the load a bit by taking up some space in the bottoms before we filled them with potting soil. We used aluminum cans, plastic soda bottles and the plastic cups that the flowers came potted in to aid in drainage and to allow us to utilize less soil.
Then just fill ‘er up! We like Miracle Gro Potting Mix, as our plants seem to grow like gangbusters with it. Our deck gets a combination of partial sun and filtered sun over the course of the day, so we try to plant accordingly.
We also moved in the edible direction this year. Our small box got planted with Mint, Rosemary, and Sweet Basil. Here’s to tasty mojitos soon!
All said and done, we couldn’t be happier with how things worked out. The plants are already growing, and we’re looking forward to cooking with the herbs.
Things are also working out to be very water-tight (in addition to the rain fall we’ve already had), and the drainage holes are working just as we planned. The above photo is the view from outside our bedroom window. Not a bad way to wake up in the morning, eh?
As we said, we’ve got a few more improvements up our sleeves, but enough about us. How are all of your patios and outdoor spaces turning out so far?