Northern Exposure

Triumphs and failures on a window ledge.

Fixtures and Fittings January 16, 2009

Filed under: Accessories — northernwindowgardener @ 3:10 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,
Improv Bracket

Improv Bracket

I should have titled this entry something like: Hammer Drills – The Greatest Invention Ever? or something along those lines.

Being the fearful type and having no wish to cause serious harm or be sued I wanted to make sure the window boxes weren’t going to accidentally slip from their ledge, many feet up in the air, and land on some poor unsuspecting passer-by, postman or criminal damages lawyer (I can guarantee with my luck it would be the latter).

Having done a quick recce of the area I was surprised by how many planters were just sitting on their ledges without any support. Was I being a little paranoid? Perhaps, but as I was using plastic troughs and I didn’t have any idea about their weight when full of soil I wasn’t willing to take the chance. I also knew that every time the wind got up I would be looking on with slight trepidation.

So with safety in mind off I went to the DIY Store/Garden Centre to see what my options were. Surely I wasn’t the only one to want something to secure my prized plastic specimens? Hmmm!

After a fruitless search for an off-the-shelf solution is was clear that this was going to require some simple improvisation, especially with my limited DIY skills.

After some time trying to use logic I did what all good thinkers do and, ahem… borrowed, someone else’s good idea. Seeing that someone had fixed brackets to the ledge to create a pen for the boxes to sit in, it just seemed a matter of buying the brackets, drilling a few holes and screwing them in. Easy, yes?

Well, no, as it turned out. I’ll spare you the tedious detail but needless to say I had to learn about brackets, raw plugs, the difference between different types of masonary screws and finally how bloody impossible it is to drill through stone with an ordinary hand drill – even with proper masonary drill bits.

Ater struggling for a couple of days, and suffering with sore shoulders, knees and hands, I literally jacked it in. One trip to the tool hire shop, the rental of a serious, grown-up hammer-action drill and about twenty minutes later the holes were drilled, the plugs were in, the brackets aligned and the screws screwed. Never has the phrase, right tool for the job, seemed more appropriate.

Because of the amount of brackets I used and the size of the troughs I felt there was enough room for them to slip out the side. Even though this was a pretty remote scenario I figured a bit of garden wire, which I’d bought in a rare outbreak of foresight, would give me the piece of mind I was looking for. And it didn’t require a week of thought and a trip to the tool shop either.

In hindsight the bracket choice could have been better as I suspect these might need replacing sooner rather than later. Some kind of outdoor, weather protected or galvanized efforts would have been better. And it wouldn’t have hurt if they had been a bit thicker as this would have raised the bottom of the trough higher up off the ledge and improved the drainage and air flow. As it is I got round this by propping the boxes up on bits of polystyrene.

If I’m honest, it’s probably in a more dangerous state than those who just stick terracotta or stone pots out on the ledge by themselves!


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