Hayrack Planters: From Boring Barn to Vintage Cottage Charm

Hayracks are one of the oldest and most traditional window box styles. According to ancient lore (and a quick Google search), hayrack planters have their origin in Victorian England, when farmers would use them in barns to—you guessed it—fill them with hay so that livestock could feed themselves. Over time, hayracks became antique window boxes known less for their utility and more for their “vintage charm.” Now, hayrack planters are one of the most popular window basket designs.

Antique Victorian Hayrack

House Styles That Look Great with Hayracks

Now, I’m not saying that the Window Box Police (or your HOA) will ding you for hanging hayrack planters if your house doesn’t have the “right” architectural style. However, there are some style homes that better lend themselves to the old cottage look of hayrack planters than others. To illustrate, let’s talk about homes that likely would not look good with these wrought iron trough planters: a mid-century modern home probably wouldn’t complement country-style hayracks. However, farmhouse-style, Mediterranean, and cottage homes are the perfect provincial backdrop for hayrack window boxes.

Use Hayracks to Create That Antique Farmhouse Look

When it comes to going all “English cottage” with your home décor, whether it be an apartment patio or a sprawling porch or gardenscape, there are countless ways to do so with hayracks. They can be mounted on a wall, installed on a fence, or perched as a charming, down-home window accent. You can mount several hayrack window baskets, making a quaint vertical garden. You can line them with plant- and bird-friendly coco coir planter liners or natural, preserved sheet moss to keep plants hydrated and the soil aerated.

For the kitchen

Not only are these antique trough planters beautifully rustic, they are also great for use on your kitchen windowsill or just outside your backdoor, where you can plant a gorgeous (and fresh!) edible garden of herbs perfect for pinching off and throwing directly into a boiling pot just feet away. A mixture of mint, chives, parsley, and thyme is the perfect hayrack recipe for home-grown herbs, though you can grow almost anything you desire.

As an art piece

If you fancy yourself a DIYer, find a reclaimed door and attach one or more hayracks to it and hang or prop it up in your back patio.

In a vertical garden

These hayrack wall planters are the perfect vehicles for creating a lovely, earthy vertical garden. Not only do these lovely wall planters add visual interest to your deck, patio, balcony, or front door area, but they are also a great way to garden without breaking your back bending over to tend to low-growing plants. Plus, they are kept safe from rabbits and other animals, and provide a nice, comfy home for a variety of beautiful bird life to place their nests.

Perfect Plants for Hayracks

Which plants go well in these classic window baskets? The truth is, you can plant virtually anything and it will look good in these timeless beauties. Some plants tend to be more popularly picked for these bucolic baskets than others, including:

  • Sweet potato vine (sun or shade)
  • Lobelia (full or partial sun)
  • Begonias (sun or shade)
  • Petunias (full sun)
  • Coleus (full or partial sun)
  • Johnny jump ups (partial sun)
  • Hosta (shade)
  • Impatiens (shade)
  • Fuchsia (sun or shade)
  • Snapdragons (full sun)
  • Trumpet vine (full sun)
  • Marigolds (full sun)
  • Ornamental pepper (full sun)
  • Rosemary (full sun)
  • Artemesia (full sun)
  • Sweet marjoram (full sun)

When selecting your plants, use the thriller, spiller, and filler rule of thumb. Flower combinations look best with no more than three color combinations; consider sticking to colors that “harmonize,” like red, orange, and yellow, or blue, purple, and mauve.

More Hayrack Gardening How-To’s

  • Learn how to use hayracks to build your own mini English Garden here.
  • Get some great “hayrack hacks” for easy window boxes here.
  • Check out some fall window boxes and hayracks here.
  • Find hayrack and more cottage window box inspiration here.

Explore Your Country Style with Hayracks!

Check out your hayrack options, including window boxes of all sizes (including oversized), wall planters, and natural coco coir and moss planter liners. For more info, or to place your order, call us at 1-888-427-3362 or visit us at www.windowbox.com.

Photo credits (top to bottom, left to right): Windowbox.com (two images), @mnswick (two images), Windowbox.com,  Little Greenwoods, Windowbox.com (two images), Saxon Holt, and Robyn Bridges. Featured image: Ralph Anderson for Southern Living.

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