Make a Rustic Window Box from Salvaged Metal

Turn a simple barnyard find into a sweet window box—it's that easy!

planted window box

The mix of elements—galvanized pails, a calf bucket, a galvanized hen nester—gives this project its funky flair. The pails and hen nester all came from a farm, but the galvanized finish offers a contemporary appeal. If you don't have easy access to pails or a hen nester, simply customize the project using what you have on hand. Instead of a hen nester, for example, use a galvanized tray available at home improvement centers. Look for one about 36×12 inches with 2-inchtall sides, or make a tray out of plywood. Whatever type of tray you use, drill several 1/4-inch drainage holes in the bottom. Finish the window box by stocking the pails with flowers and planting succulents, such as hens-and-chicks, in the tray.

What You Need

  • Tape measure
  • Galvanized hen nester or other tray approximately 36×12 inches with 2-inch-tall sides
  • Pencil
  • Drill
  • 3 galvanized shelf brackets to support a 12-inch-wide shelf
  • 2 1/2-inch wood screws (The type of mounting hardware might vary depending on your home's siding.)
  • 3/8×3/4-inch bolts with washers and nuts to fit
  • Burlap to cover bottom of tray
  • Potting soil
  • 2 galvanized pails
  • Galvanized calf bucket
  • Vintage outdoor faucet handle
  • Instant glue
  • Plants
  • Succulents

Step 1: Measure Tray

measuring window box

To start off your project, measure the length of the tray or hen nester. Mark the locations for the brackets on the siding.

Step 2: Pre-Drill Holes

drilling hole for window box

With a drill, use the previously marked spots to pre-drill holes for the brackets. The bracket supporting each end of the shelf should be 3 inches from the edge of the tray.

Step 3: Attach Brackets

attaching window box bracket

Using the drill, attach each bracket to the siding using three 2 1/2-inch wood screws.

Step 4: Attach Tray to Brackets

attaching window box

Place the hen nester or tray on the brackets and attach it to the brackets with bolts, washers, and nuts.

Step 5: Place Burlap

add burlap to window box

Blanket the bottom of the tray or nester with burlap to prevent the potting soil from washing out of the tray's mesh or drainage holes.

Step 6: Fill Tray with Soil

adding soil to window box

Cover the bottom of the tray with a 2-inch-thick layer of potting soil. Be sure to choose a quality potting mix (we suggest anything organic).

Learn how organic matter helps your soil!

Step 7: Drill Holes in Each Pail

drilling pot drain holes

Drill three 1/4-inch drainage holes in each pail and calf bucket bottom. For extra curb appeal, attach a vintage faucet handle to the calf bucket handle with instant glue.

Step 8: Plant in Containers

adding pot to window box

Fill the containers with potting soil and add in your favorite annuals or perennials. We used Shasta daisies, Vinca major, and dwarf gerbera daisies.

Step 9: Fill Tray with Succulents

adding foliage to window box

Finish off your beautiful project by filling the planting tray with a selection of succulents. We used hens-and-chicks, Echeveria, sedum, and Bacopa. Establish the plants with plenty of water. Voíla! A beautiful, rustic window box that will have your neighbors jealous!


Be the first to comment!

Better Homes & Gardens may receive compensation when you click through and purchase from links contained on this website.