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Carpenter Nathan Gilbert and landscape contractor Jenn Nawada help a homeowner tackle a curb appeal upgrade. Nathan offers the solution of adding some custom-made window planters, made from low-maintenance PVC. After building them, Nathan mounts the boxes directly to the home for worry-free style.
Skill level: ⅖
Cost: $75 to $150 per box
Time: 3 hours per box
Where to find it?
Nathan used stock 1”x10” Azek and stock Azek band molding and base cap molding (https://azekco.com/) to build three identical window boxes. To cut the materials to size, Nathan used a sliding compound miter saw which is manufactured by Dewalt (https://www.dewalt.com/). To secure the front, back, bottom, and side pieces together, Nathan used 2 part PVC glue, 1 ¼ – inch brads, and 2 ½ -inch stainless steel trim head screws, which can all be found at home centers. He secured the molding with 2 part PVC glue and 1-inch brads. To allow for drainage, Nathan created drainage holes on the bottom of the window boxes. He used a ½ inch spade bit to drill holes every 8 inches along the centerline of the bottom piece of Azek.
Nathan mounted each window box directly to the house’s siding. He pre-drilled pilot holes, added caulk into each hole, then used 4-inch structural screws to secure the box to the clapboard through the pre-drilled holes.
Jenn lined the window boxes with one layer of landscape fabric, which can be found at garden and home centers. On top of the landscape fabric, she added handfuls of Hoffman Volcanic Lava Rock (https://goodearth.org/) to cover the drainage holes. Jenn used a combination of annuals and perennials to fill the window boxes, which get morning sun and afternoon shade. Plants and flowers used include Northern Maidenhair Ferns, Pearly White, Glacier Ivy, begonia, bush violet, and vinca, which she planted in Fox Farm Ocean Forest potting soil (http://foxfarm.com/).
In addition to regular watering, Jenn suggests using a slow-release fertilizer like Osmocote [https://amzn.to/3DlGZAA]—made by Scotts Company LLC. (https://scottsbrands.com/) once every three months to help keep the window boxes healthy.
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1×10 PVC stock [https://thd.co/3wNiP0u]
PVC band molding [https://thd.co/3qQS8UP]
PVC base cap [https://thd.co/36Kwmez]
PVC glue [https://thd.co/3rdJNLh]
Trimhead screws [https://thd.co/3IPiMne]
4-inch structural screws [https://thd.co/2YiboiO]
Tape measure [https://amzn.to/3LmgCx4]
Speed square [https://amzn.to/3v2FBPB]
Miter saw [https://amzn.to/3iP5vQY]
Table saw [https://amzn.to/3tWdnqn]
Brad nailer [https://amzn.to/3iO2Ln0]
Power drill [https://amzn.to/36HcA3u]
Twist drill bits [https://amzn.to/3LrsOww]
Spade drill bits [https://amzn.to/3LtACO9]
Impact driver with right-angle attachment [https://amzn.to/36OqC3k]
About Ask This Old House TV: From the makers of This Old House, America’s first and most trusted home improvement show, Ask This Old House answers the steady stream of home improvement questions asked by viewers across the United States. Covering topics from landscaping to electrical to HVAC and plumbing to painting and more. Ask This Old House features the experts from This Old House, including general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, landscape contractor Jenn Nawada, master carpenter Norm Abram, and host Kevin O’Connor. ASK This Old House helps you protect and preserve your greatest investment—your home.
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