The great thing about winter window boxes is they don't require anywhere near as much care as window boxes in the growing season. They need not be geared towards a holiday theme, but if you do that you can always remove some decorative items in January and change the design.
Design is a very personal thing, but the trend in recent years is towards using natural objects and greenery in winter container displays. When designing your window boxes, consider the overall look and style of your home. You may want to choose a neutral or traditional color palette, or experiment with bolder, more unusual colors. Consider that this decor may be a focal point in the winter landscape, which in many places lacks color.
Looking for inspiration? Here are our favorite 13 winter window boxes worth recreating.
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Draping Evergreen Boughs
Evergreen boughs come in many shapes and textures. Some branches are tight and dense, some loose and floppy. Include some longer, more flexible cut boughs to create a draped look, with the branches spilling over the edges. Long-needled fir boughs look especially good this way. The round wicker orb and snowflake balance the long shapes of the boughs.
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Formal and Symmetrical
These free-standing rectangular planters contain a simple arrangement that could easily be adapted to window boxes. The fullness and neutral colors of the evergreen boughs is a dramatic contrast to the spiky red-painted twigs and glossy leaves in the middle: a classic "thriller, filler, spiller" design!
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Weathered Wood and Wicker
If you don't have window boxes, a wooden planter box or raised bed will suffice. The weathered wood here is echoed beautifully in the unusual wicker cloche, accenting the rustic look of fresh greenery and berries. A couple of glass ornaments give it more vintage appeal.
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This design has simple elements: greenery, thin white branches and a few sprigs of red berries. The excitement comes from the use of golden candles in tall class holders. The soft glow of candlelight is a charming look, especially for special occasions like holiday parties. Depending on how long you keep them lit, large candles may last a few days for repeated lightings. Always extinguish flames before leaving the house or going to bed for the night.Continue to 5 of 13 below.
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Rustic Fall Colors
This vibrant arrangement includes some autumnal colors that contrast nicely with the evergreens. The pine cones, twigs, dried flower heads and brown magnolia leaves add a slightly autumnal feel, and is a good choice for climates where snow is not as common in winter, or the first snowfall may be a ways off yet.
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Branches for Height
A bit of vertical appeal adds dramas to your window boxes. Red dogwood twigs add vivid color to this arrangement, while the thicker birch branches draw the eye even after dark. Be sure the branches are long enough to secure them firmly in a few inches of sand. This all-natural assortment also includes pine cones, juniper berries and various evergreens.
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To give some brightness to a colorful natural arrangement, adding some white-painted twigs is easy. You can use acrylic paints or spray paint. The white twigs help draw the eye to the pale silvery artemisia foliage in here, which accentuates the variety of colors (green boughs, brown pinecones, red berries, purple sedum). Placing the taller twigs in the middle gives fullness to this design.
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Autumn into Winter
Maybe you don't want to wait until December to get your winter window boxes together? This transitional look adds dried brown stems with pods (normally a look we'd associate with an autumnal or Halloween arrangement) with lush evergreens and pale eucalyptus, a minimal but somehow lush color palette. A classy, striking, all natural look that moves gracefully from fall into winter. Bonus idea: placing these planters beneath your windows makes them look like: window boxes!Continue to 9 of 13 below.
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Creative Color Palettes
Tired of the familiar white, red and green color combos? Liven things up a bit with pastel or jewel tone palettes. Greenery has a neutral effect in these arrangements, so you can choose virtually any color way you want, even greens (olive, spring, teal, forest). Pinks and purples are striking with evergreen boughs. Metallic and glitter surfaces add glamour and sparkle. The cut stems here add a bright spot of apple green, and the glass ornaments add some whimsy and delicate shine.
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A Little Bit Christmasy
This design has some silver glass ornaments that can be added for a bit of extra Yuletide flair, and then removed to take you through the rest of the winter season. Virtually any color ornaments can be used, though the silver is a nice neutral that balances the greens and reds. The pinecones have just a touch of white paint to accentuate their texture. There's some tiny golden fairy lights, too!
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This glorious arrangement can be easily adapted to a window box. The bushy shape and textures are eye-catching, as is the subtle color gradation from dark blue green in the evergreen boughs to pale blue in the eucalyptus fronds to silver-white in the artemisia foliage. There are a number of silver foliage plants that can provide beautiful materials for your displays.
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Red is always eye-catching in the garden, and in a winter landscape it's doubly so. Bright sprigs of winterberry lend some visual interest and a pop of color to this box which also had red dogwood twigs, arborvitae, Douglas fir, pinecones, cedar boughs, and some trailing vinca.Continue to 13 of 13 below.
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This balanced arrangement is striking and built to last the winter season. The red glass ball ornaments say "Christmas" but can be removed after the holiday to make this a more neutral winter decoration. The assortment of greenery includes fir, spruce and boxwood; winter berry twigs add bright red color, and the mix of pine cones (some touched with white paint) add texture.
How to Make Winter Window Boxes
If you're lucky enough to have window boxes, readying them for decorating is easy. Many people like to use sand as a base, as this allows for easy re-arranging and removal of greenery or stems. Using soil in planter boxes that you regularly rearrange and replant in means you risk having the soil freeze around your decor. Or instead of sand you can also use florist's foam blocks to secure things. But sand is easiest, and lets you focus on design instead of engineering. If you don't have window boxes, most of these designs can be adapted for containers.
Although lighting isn't necessary, adding a light element can really create a magical vibe after dark. There are battery-powered lights to make this easier (they can be switched off as desired to save battery life), and even solar-powered outdoor lights that are easy to use. If you want to use candles, battery-powered flameless candles that flicker are the safest option.
Choosing Plants for a Winter Window Box
The variety of evergreens out there is astounding, and all of them can be used in making your window boxes. Popular choices for the season include spruce, fir, pine, juniper, yew, arborvitae, boxwood, privet, and vinca vines. Many nurseries sell cut boughs at this time of year, as do some florist shops and farmers' markets. But if you're a DIY type, maybe ask your friends who own some rural property if you can explore their woods and cut some greenery yourself. Or if you or someone you know has large evergreen trees or shrubs, do some pruning! Place the stems in a bucket with a bit of water in the bottom until you're ready to use them. Some plant materials last longer than others in these displays. Holly tends to dry out quickly, for example, while most conifers stay fresh outdoors for weeks.
In addition to greenery, don't overlook dried or dormant vegetation that might be just the thing for a dramatic design. Sedum stems can be a good sturdy addition. Cutting young twigs from trees can also provide good color and texture. Fallen pine cones are great in window boxes; leave them as is or decorate with craft paint or glitter. Spraying with fixative keeps glitter from falling.