Creating a Period Style Window Box

Creating a Gothic-Style window box
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In this article, we will be discovering how to create exciting period-style window boxes that can brighten up any home. To some, traditional window boxes are a little bit boring and they want to have more elaborate and stunning designs in their window boxes.

It is very easy to achieve and you can have Gothic and Victorian-styled window boxes and in this article, you will find out how this can be done.

Creating a Gothic-Style window box
Creating a Gothic-Style window box

All you need to do is construct a window box to your own design and dimensions to fit over the plastic trough that will be used. This has been described in a previous article and so will not be reiterated here. To make it gothic, you will need to paint the box outside a midnight blue to start the theme off. You should now have a complete box that is an attractive colour but still can be improved on by the use of metal stencils. The stencils that you need to use, should be able to be bought online or from craft stores.


For a classically Gothic style, you will need to use two stencils –a fleur-de-lis and medieval stars. They will complement each other.

At the same time but some special stencil paint that makes application to stencils easier.

To add to the patina, apply the gold paint unevenly to make it appear to be weathered and worn.

To achieve the desired look, shake the stencil paint and then tip a little onto the lid. Dip a 5cm wide paintbrush lightly on the lid whilst removing excess paint on a piece of paper.

For a stippled effect lightly tap the paint on the wood via the brush. Overlap the stencil (which should be attached to the box using some temporary tape) as you work and keep the brush perpendicular. For a more solid coverage keep the brush in contact with the wood but do so lightly, whilst making small circular movements.

If you do a combination of stippled and solid painted stencil outlines, it will create contrasting light and dark and aged 3-dimensional look. Your box will now be painted midnight blue and covered in golden designs of fleur-de-lis and medieval stars.


The gothic-style window box that is created above will make you reminiscent of the golden days. The box created should be filled with roses, double primrose and ivy that have a long history as garden plants.

The biggest problem is that you will not see roses and primroses in bloom at the same time, but this can be overcome as the houseplant section of the garden centre often have miniature roses that have been forced onto bloom early.

They prefer to be grown in a cool, airy situation and then they can be acclimatized to outdoor conditions quite quickly, provided that frost protection is given to the plant.


First, you need to create a wooden container (see my previous article for this) and then paint it midnight blue and cover it with a gold-painted design of fleur-de-lis and medieval stars.

Protect the wooden container that you create from rotting by placing a plastic liner inside. It should have enough room to grip the ends of the box with your fingers, so when it is removed you will not trap your fingers. It may be best to design the box to fit the liner and not the other way round.

Cover the holes in the liner with some plastic gauze as this will prevent any compost from being lost. This is important and must be done before adding any gravel.

The outer wood box needs to be 1cm higher than that of the plastic liner so that from the outside it cannot be seen. Into the liner add a 2.5cm layer of gravel to improve drainage. Fill the remainder of the box with a good quality multipurpose moisture-retentive multipurpose compost near to the rim of the liner.


Fill at the back of the window box with 5 miniature roses which should be sufficient for the standard box size. It is advised to use a monochrome colour scheme such as pink to give the most impact. Remember to feed the roses with a liquid fertiliser suitable for flowers and remove dead blooms regularly.  Make sure the roses are planted firmly.

In front of the roses plant a row of Primula ‘Miss Indigo’ at equal spaces. In a standard window box, 4 plants will be sufficient. They will last all spring but in summer these can be replaced with any summer bedding plants such as red busy Lizzies.

Fill the gaps between the primroses in front with a Hedera helix cultivar. It is best if you use a small leaf variety that is variegated if possible. Use about 5 plants to give the most impact. The long stems of the ivy need to be trimmed to avoid the design in front of the box from being obscured.

You will need to regularly remove any fading flowers and yellowing leaves, especially from the roses and the primroses. Make sure that the window box is watered regularly and fed with a suitable fertilizer. Look out for any pests especially for aphids.


This is a formal garden system, where symmetry and good architectural form will feature strongly. This is why in Victorian-style window boxes geometrically shaped topiary hedges should be used as a central focal point. A ball is recommended as it is easier to keep the shape, but you can use cones, spirals, and pyramids can be used. Dwarf Buxus semperviren ‘Suffruticosa’ is the best specimen to use as it is densely packed and can be kept in a window box permanently.

You can create a Victorian-style Window box
You can create a Victorian-style Window box

Instead of a box, you can replace that with a leaf statement plant like a Cordyline australis, which provides a spray of purple-red leaves. The only problem is that they are not as hardy and they grow too quickly creating a partial screen for a window

First, you will need to create your own window box. You will need to apply mouldings on it anything you can find and used inside the home and made from wood. This can add to the window box and be glued down using waterproof wood glue. Use a number of these at the front of the window box. The completed window box along with the moulds need to be planted white using a water-based stain.

It may need 3 coatings to reach the desired level of coverage and remember to paint in line with the wood grain.

Like in the gothic style window boxes, place a plastic liner inside the wooden container and add a plastic gauze to prevent loss of compost. Add gravel to the liner to the depth of 2.5cm and then add enough multipurpose compost up to the level to which the tallest plant’s roots will be hidden. Leave a gap of 2.5cm to allow the plants to be watered without it splashing out.

Place the clipped box sphere or Cordyline australis at the centre of the liner. At each end at an equal distance plant two Ayrgranthemum frutescens (Marguerite) to fill the gaps there.


To soften the edges of the box with two trailing Plectostachyus serpyllifolia at front of the box. This should be allowed to trail over the front of the window box.

At the corner in front, plant a couple of Hedera helix, one for each corner. A fine needle-like ivy that is variegated will look the best in this situation.

Deadhead and prune back the Marguerites and Plectostachyus to keep them productive and neat. You will now have a wonderful Victorian–style window box.


In this article, we have discussed how to create period window boxes. You will have to make your own wooden box, but this has been described in another article.

To this, you need to paint and add your own design via paints and stencils, or mouldings.

Use medieval stars and fleur-de-lis along with midnight blue to create a gothic style window box or you can use a window box painted white with moulding to give Victorian-style window boxes.

Using these designs, you can fill them with plants recommended to give your window boxes a period style. They are a bit more labour intensive but if you are good at DIY you can create your window boxes.

If you have any questions or any comments that you wish to make on this article please do so in the comment box below.

Happy period window box creating.


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