Wednesday, August 6, 2014

DIY: How to Secure Window Boxes to Wide Balcony Railings

This post could also be called "How to Keep Planters From Falling on your Neighbours During an Evening Wind Storm". Or It could be called "You're Probably Just Paranoid, but Hey, Let's Tie This Thing Down" or even "I Don't Want to Damage my Rental Balcony, So No Screws Allowed". But whatever it's called, I'm not even sure it's a problem many people have. But I figured, I had this little problem, so why not post it, just in case.

These are the particular window boxes I have. Your average, home improvement store pick-up. They were perfect at the last apartment we lived in which had a tiny and thin wrought iron railing. The hanging device it came with just looped on the railing like it should, easy as pie! Not the case over here!
The first month my planters just sat, pathetically on the floor, full of flowers which were not getting nearly enough sun down there.
 I spent a lot of time online and scouring the local home and garden stores trying to find window boxes that would fit on the massive railings we have on our balcony. There's nothing out there! I also spent many hours online looking for a solution that used the window boxes I already have, again I came up with nothing. But I was determined to figure this thing out without damaging our rental. What made the most sense was to tie them down, but still look ascetically pleasing. I wanted them to look like they were supposed to be that way.

How to do this:

  • polypropylene cord
  • Jute
  • Scissors
  • Window Box
  • electric drill or a nail and a flame
I chose a cord in green because all our outdoor furniture is green, and Jute because it looks more outdoorsy. Then we got to work!

First, measure how long you'll need each piece - each side of the window box will have 3 equal pieces. Meaning each window box will need 6 pieces of string.
Measure from where it will be tied off to the top of the hand railing - multiple that by 2 (because you're coming down the other side), the length the cord that will run along the top of the box, and from the bottom corner of the window box to the opposite-top corner - multiply that by 2. Then add a generous amount (at least 6 - 8 inches) so you have plenty of string left to tie off at the end. Your way better off with more than less, you can cut it later.
where knot will be to where box will rest + side of box diagonally(2) + top of window box + 8 or so inches = length of each cord
don't you love my pathetic attempt at an equation? Maybe just pull out some sting and give it a go. Get crazy.

To put holes through your window box you can either drill a hole on either end that will fit the size of your 3 lengths of cord, or you can heat a nail over a flame (like a candle) and melt your way through the plastic on the window box. That's what we did. Just be careful not to burn yourself! Use pliers or something else to hold the nail if it's short. Then clean up the edges.

Now stand the window box on your balcony, decide where you want it to stay and thread the strings through all at once from the top down. (Side note! This part is much easier with a helper.) Criss cross them along side the window box. This makes the cords a bit more appealing, as well as adds much more stability. Tie it off as tight as you can at the bottom. All done! Whoo hoo, and celebrate that your balcony just gained a ton more curb appeal, AKA street cred.
I braided the extra cord at the bottom of the knot to make things a bit cuter. You could cut it short, tassel it, do whatever you like really! In spring, I'm going to plant some crawling vines to tangle around the rope so you won't really even see it!

I give you, Visuals!

Honestly, this is a very easy DIY, and the pictures will probably speak for themselves. Even better than my silly instructions! These Window boxes have been up no problem for about 3 months now, and we live near the ocean so it gets mighty windy round these parts! 
You don't need to necessarily use 3 pieces of rope - I had originally intended to braid them, bad idea. That took hours... You could use one heavier piece of cord, whatever you like!

Hopefully someone can find this little outdoor how-to helpful!

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