Window Boxes and Technology

Although technology often provides a better solution, in the realm of design it has to look good too.

Outdoor “rock” speakers are a good example of this. They are an awesome solution to bringing music out into the landscape, but the technology still has some work to do on how authentic they look.

With outdoor planters we’ve seen some great technology in the materials they use.  Some of these synthetic planters look just like their stone and cast concrete counterparts, but they’re lightweight and durable. Some, however, are pathetic looking and I’d never use them.

Recently I came across what I now call the modern day window box (See picture above). It’s made of fiberglass so it’s very durable and light – key factors for something that hangs outdoors. Equipped with a “drainage mat” and weep holes, it’s designed to drain properly without gravel on the bottom.

You can even get these window boxes with integrated watering systems.  One type has a water reservoir built right into it that you must fill occasionally.  Alternatively they offer a drip irrigation system that you can set up.

The company offers colors, although you can paint these window boxes if you’d like.  There are various sizes available, but custom sizes can also be made.  In fact, the ones I used on this deck railing are 12 X 12″, which is a custom size.

The Project

The wood deck on this home was approximately 15 years old and the years had not been kind to it. Its infrastructure, however, was made of treated lumber and was in fine shape.

The carpenter suggested redoing all the exposed features, such as decking and rails, in composite and vinyl materials.

At first the homeowners reacted negatively, but once they saw some of the better products in this “other than wood” category they became interested.

Once the carpenter mentioned benefits such as longevity and ease of maintenance, they made their selections and gave the go ahead. I, like many of you, prefer authenticity, but the advantages to composite & vinyl materials are compelling and the look…not bad at all.

So don’t rule out new technology and substitutes until you give them a good amount of consideration.  The benefits you potentially can gain can be amazing. There are times, however, when nothing can take the place of the “real deal” and that’s okay.  There will always be admiration and respect for authenticity.

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