Lakeside Flower Box Deck Railing Planters

Faux flowers for upper story window boxes and deck railing planters are one way to add color to a home’s exterior. Fake florals don’t require any maintenance – no watering, pinching or weeding all season long. Plus, how to help preserve the flower color from fading.

House deck railing before adding deck railing flower box planters.
Lake Side of House Before Adding Flower Box Railing Planters

This is a photo taken from the lake side of my house where I am standing in the yard with the camera angled up to show the second floor deck. Since getting the house painted, I have been wanting to add deck railing flower planters or flower boxes to the second floor railing to add a pop of color to the exterior of the house.

The previous owners had planted many green shrubs when landscaping, but not much in the way of color, except for one hydrangea on the right side of the steps up to the deck.

The railings on the lower and upper deck are stained wood. I wanted to add contrast both in color and material for deck railing style planters. I knew I didn’t want to add more wood, so I searched for pre-made, metal deck railing planters since I didn’t think I could make metal ones on my own.

Vigoro English Horse Trough Railing Planter

I looked for simple and the longest railing style planters I could find. I was happy to come across these English horse trough steel rail planters that come pre-lined with coco matting. They come in two sizes. I bought the 36″ long x 9.5″ high and 9″ deep size.

AFTER: Added Deck Railing Flower Planters

View from the water of lake house

Here is how the planters look installed on the railing filled with pink and white flowers. I decided I didn’t want real flowers, so I used fake flowers. I took this photo while out floating on the lake over the weekend. :-)

Why Use Fake Flowers in Window Boxes and Railing Planters?

Window box flower planters with fake flowers on deck railing.

Why did I use fake flowers instead of real flowers in the railing planters?

The main reason was not to have to take a watering can upstairs every day. I knew it was something I would never do and even from my planning stage, I knew I would be filling these planters with artificial flowers.

More reasons why I chose to use fake flowers outside:

  • When hanging window boxes or deck railing planters up high on the exterior of a home or upper floor windows, passersby won’t be able to see the flowers up close to be able to tell if they are fake or not.
  • A flat of annuals comes to about the same price of fake flowers at the craft store when you buy the fake flowers for 40% sale. If the fake flowers fade by the end of the season they will be just like annuals that die and need to be replanted each spring.
  • No or low maintenance. No watering, pinching or weeding needed.

Window Box and Railing Planter Flower Arranging

Two window flower box planters hung from deck railing on house.

Flower boxes either for under windows or along deck railings look best when full and lush with one type of flower. Another option is to use a mix of plant types that fill the box and spill out or cascade over the top edge of the box/planter to add a little softness.

For my railing flower planters, I went the en masse route. One type of flower with a smaller amount of a filler to make an impact.

In the fall, I would like find fake flowers or fall plants that spill over the top edge. It will all depend on what the craft stores have in stock.

That is the fun of styling flower boxes/railing planters with fake flowers – you can swap things on a whim or for the seasons into new and interesting arrangements without even having to get down on your hands and knees or your hands dirty. :-)

How to Fill an Outdoor Flower Box Planter with Fake Flowers

Window box flower arrangements in English horse trough planters.

supplies needed:

  • Window box or railing planter
  • Styrofoam blocks saved from packaging that comes in appliance boxes or bought at a craft store.
  • Fake flowers. I used 9 bouquets of pink flowers and 4 white for each planter from Hobby Lobby.
  • Black or dark green trash bag
  • 12″ Zip ties or florist wire
  • UV Resistant Clear Spray in Matte
  • Optional – wood skewers

Time needed: 45 minutes

Filling Window Boxes and Railing Planters with Artificial Flowers

  1. Spray Flowers With UV Protection

    Before filling flower box planters with the faux flowers, you can spray each bunch with UV Resistant Spray. This will help lessen fading. Let dry.

  2. Hang Boxes/Planters on Railing or Under a Window.

    The Vigoro English Horse Trough railing planters were a cinch to hang. They come with brackets that are easily adjustable to fit your railing. I simply screwed the brackets to the railing.

  3. Find Long Pieces of Styrofoam to Fit in Bottom of Planter

    To help keep the fake flowers from blowing away, I placed a long piece of wrapped Styrofoam into each planter and made sure it was snug.

    Long pieces of Styrofoam in a deck railing planter.

  4. Attach Coco Liner

    To keep the coco liner from slipping down into the planter, use black Zip-ties to attach the liner to a few of the metal rungs on the planter. I used 3. One in the front and one on each end of the planter.

  5. Optional: Attach Smaller Pieces of Styrofoam Together

    I didn’t have one long piece of Styrofoam to fit into the planters, so I used wood skewers to fit a few smaller pieces together to make one long piece.

    How to secure fake flowers in a window box. Styrofoam attached together with skewers to make one long piece.

  6. Wrap a Plastic Garbage Bag Around Styrofoam

    I didn’t want to see white through the coco liner in the planter when viewing the planter from the lower deck or yard, so I wrapped the foam in a garbage bag and used wood skewers to hold the bag onto the foam. You could also use toothpicks.

    How to secure fake flowers in a window or deck railing planter box.

  7. Optional: Place Covered Styrofoam in Box/Planter and Secure

    If you live in a windy area. Use a Zip tie or wire to make sure foam is securely attached to the planter. I did this by pushing the pointy tip of a Zip tie or wire through the styrofoam and then around one of the metal rails on the planter. Then tightened the Zip tie.

  8. Add Fake Flowers

    To begin adding the fake flowers, figure out spacing first. I started in the middle and worked out to each side to keep the fullness of the flowers, even across the box/planter. Spread out each stem or flower bunch and press the tip of the stem into the foam so it is secure.

    Faux flower box fillers

  9. Keep Adding More Flowers to Fill In the Box/Planter

    Keep adding more flowers until you like what you see.

    How do you anchor fake plants and flowers in a window box planter? Styrofoam.

  10. Add Fillers If Needed

    Evenly space and then add an accent flower or plant in box, pushing the tips of the stems into the foam.

    Filling window boxes with artificial flowers.

Flower Deck Rail Planter UPDATE:

How to fill outdoor flower boxes with fake flowers.

Since adding these 2 deck rail planters, I decided the deck rail needed more impact. I added 3 more flower boxes for a total of 4.

Fake pink flowers in deck railing planters on house.

By adding two more planters right next to the first two I added makes the flowers look like they are in one long planter on each side.

Fake pink flowers in deck railing planters on house.

Can I Put Fake Flowers Outside?

Faux flowers in deck railing planters

When you use craft store variety fake flowers outside, the color should last for a season even if they are in full sun all day long. If you live in a shady area, the color will fade slowly over time and last longer.

Once you have the fake flowers arranged the way to want them, you can spray them with UV Resistant Clear Spray to help keep the flower color from fading too fast.

How to Clean Fake Flowers

If the color of the fake flowers doesn’t fade too much after a season, you can clean the flowers to remove dirt and mildew to ready them for another season of use.

  • Fill a bucket with warm water and a squirt of dish detergent. Remove the stems and swish them in the bucket. Use a rag to gently wipe mildew stains. Rinse in a bucket filled with clear water or simply hose them off. Let dry .
  • If possible, store them in a large vase with a loose fitting plastic bag over them until ready to use again.

I am so happy to see pops of pink up high on the house now. Next year, I think I may add flowers that cascade over the edge of the planters. :-)

Pink Flower filled deck railing planters along deck. Text overlay says Outdoor Planters how to keep Fake Flowers from fading.

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  1. I love your ideas for your artificial flowers.. neat idea..I use artificial flowers in the spring but never thought of using the Fade resistant spray.. I love real flowers but I can see why you use them on your upper legde. This way they always look beautiful 😍

  2. Fantastic! Do you have any concerns about your guests staying on the second floor being right next to the fake flowers? I’d love to do this on my front porch- it doesn’t get nearly enough sun to keep real flowers alive.

    Thanks again!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kat – I don’t worry about the fact that the flowers are not real as the view of them from the guest rooms look nice. No one has said anything negative, only how smart not to have to water or take care of the flowers. I do remove the planters/flowers in the fall and place them back out in the spring. Most of the flowers are the original and I do fill in a few spots every year with the same flowers, but brand new ones I buy at Hobby Lobby.

  3. We lived in California for many years and as empty-nesters we downsized and moved up to the Pacific Northwest 3 years ago. I’m struggling with the changes in gardening up here and I really like this idea. I’m definitely going to get some fresh garden color using this method!

  4. Lisa Montgomery says:

    Wonderful tips especially the UV matte spray. We had a weekend place and since real flowers would have died during the week the fake ones were the way to go!

  5. Beautiful! Such a simple and cost efficient way to add a pop of colour to your upper landing!

  6. Rachel Perry says:

    This is such a great idea! I’m guessing if you can do this with planters, it could also be done with hanging plants on the patio? We just moved into a new home and I’m trying really hard to be better in the home decor/outdoor decor areas. Also, when you say to spray with UV spray – are you talking something like the sunscreen UV block we use (sorry if that is a silly question, but really totally out of my skillset here:)).



  7. Peggy McDonald says:

    Just a wonderful idea. I like others have empty window planters this year. I will use your great idea and go out and buy some artificial flowers, spray to save the color and enjoy. My cape cod style home has high window boxes which seem to be a real issue with watering. Love it! You made my day. Thanks, Peggy

    1. Mary Ruvolo says:

      Great ideas. I was referred to your site. It is great !

  8. Donna Estevez says:

    Fantastic idea! I have two balconies and this will be perfect, for at least two reasons, 1. my track record with live plants is dismal and 2. No one will be able to tell they are fake, unless they are Florida savy and know what flowering plants can actually survive a summer.
    Thanks, I love all your posts.

  9. Looks wonderful!!!! Will do that on my front porch railing!!!!! No watering necessary!!!! Yippee!

  10. Marilyn Holeman says:

    Hi Diane,

    Another great idea! I’ve got some empty flower boxes on my balcony, because I couldn’t keep the plants alive in them. :-) May I ask what kind of “flowers” these are? Roses?? I can’t really tell, and I think they look great. What about the white fillers–what are they? I’m not going out yet, so will be shopping online, and knowing what you used would be helpful. Do you happen to know where you got each of them? I did click over to your link for your other tips, too. Thanks for continuing to share your great ideas with us.

  11. Crystal Brown says:

    They look gorgeous from the yard and lake, no one would know they’re faux. I used to use faux florals as well, but started feeling guilty that they end up in the landfill at the end of each season, and do not decompose so I stopped, with the exception of my winter greenery and holiday greens, some of which I’ve had for 20 years. I know what you mean about not carrying the watering can up to that level tho. Have you thought about a smallish rain barrel? Or keeping a pitcher to capture the water from your shower while it’s warming? Over the years I’ve decreased the amount of stuff that ends up in my trash can and I compost and recycle as much as possible. I wish there was a solution to this problem, it sure would make life easier than toting water up a flight of stairs! And we could still enjoy colorful plants

    1. I have a watering can in my shower just as you suggest, Crystal, so that I can water plants on the ground below my bedroom window. They’re too far from my outside tap and I save some waste water – win, win.

  12. Deanna Rabe says:

    The planters look great on your upper deck rail and are a great pop of color! I think you could easily add a few more! Using the artificial flowers in that space is a great idea!

  13. They look just great. But darling, faux flowers, not fake!!!!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Faux does sounds better, but when people search on Google for faux flower ideas, they type in the words fake or artificial more. Same with Pinterest. If I want people to find my post, I have to use the words used in the search engines. One of the SEO tips I learned over years of blogging. :-)

  14. I have the same window boxes! Two on the front of the garage and one on the porch by the front door. No one walks by the garage planters and the flowers look real from a distance. I use real by the front entry planter supplemented with artificial. I have geraniums for summer, sunflowers for fall and pine boughs for winter. If you take care of the, they last for years. Yours are beautiful.

  15. When I first started reading your article I thought fake flowers would be a major cheat and, as I’m having window boxes installed this summer, it just sounded like a huge shortcut. I have to say that you very quickly changed my mind! One of my concerns is hanging so much weight on my new siding. A planter full of soil & flowers can weigh a ton and I don’t want to cause damage. Additionally, the water running down the front of my siding and stone will eventually leave a mark due to our hard water. Finally, even annuals that bloom constantly over the season will fade and at times can look tired. Especially if you’re like me and can’t always water as frequently as plants need. My flower box will be in full sun so come August they’ll require twice daily watering. Your idea will solve all these problems! Thanks so very much. I NEVER would have thought of this as a solution. Then again, as you regularly share such wonderful ideas with us I shouldn’t be surprised, right?

  16. Sue Bauman says:

    Simply perfect Diane!

  17. K Barnett says:

    This is a great idea for hard to reach places. What will you do with the planters over the winter?

  18. Your arrangements look amazing. What a super way to get instant color for the summer. I’m an avid flower gardener but one chore I don’t enjoy is dragging the hose around the yard everyday to water my containers. I appreciate your honesty about probably not watering real plants in that location. How are your hydrangeas doing out front?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Vikki – Thanks – that means a lot coming from you – a master at gardening. :-) The three hydrangeas I planted in the front of the house are doing great. They are blooming like crazy with pink blooms. We have gotten a lot of rain which has helped. Every time I drive down my driveway, I smile when I see the color.

  19. These is a terrific and stunning addition. Would you be able to see over the flowers if there were a box in front of each sliding door? I think it would be so pretty to look out and see the flowers and the lake…but you may need to move the exiting boxes. Just a thought!

  20. The flower baskets came out pretty!! I can see why real plants/flowers would be difficult to care for ☺️
    Some Asparagus Fern to hang over would also be attractive. Nice and bright green…maybe for Fall ?

  21. Sally Perdue says:

    Absolutely B.E.A.U.TIFUL Diane! Thanks for the tip of the UV spray! Never would have thought about that.

  22. The flower boxes are beautiful! I LOVE your practicality…we are kindred spirits in that. Silk flowers are SO much better than the plastic artificial ones of the past, I think they need a marketing campaign to show everyone just how amazing they can be. I like to seek out local florists who do amazing silk arrangements, and then I send them in sympathy to funerals. I have heard of families arguing over who gets to keep them…wasn’t my intention, but shows you that attitudes are changing and silk flowers are being appreciated for many reasons. Your lake house and grounds are beautiful, I always enjoy your blog and look forward to seeing what you are up to next! Thank you!

  23. What a pop of color – I love it.

  24. Fantastic! What a great idea. Love the pop of color!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Cyndi – My husband usually doesn’t say much about most of the smaller projects I do around the house. He did however notice the planters and liked them. The color really helps give the neutral color house a little color interest. :-)

  25. Gail @Purple Hues and Me says:

    Your faux flower boxes look quite real and fabulous, Diane! I love the look so much that I would add a couple more! One year I added fake spike greenery to the center of my urn planters to give them height and wouldn’t you know that a neighbor who has never visited me before came over to compliment the look and actually grabbed the fake center to my embarrassment. Do you think she knew? They looked real to me! Who actually touches plants that way? Needless to say, I’ve used real plants ever since, but she has never come back to visit.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Gail – I agree that most people will never know. As long as they look nice, it doesn’t really matter. :-) I plan to add more planters and flower fill. I hope that the craft stores get some new stock in soon as they were pretty low last week from not getting any new shipments in.