The first question often asked is, "What is a hayrack"?  Just as the name implies, they are racks for hay and were used years ago in English barns to supply hay to farm animals.  They were placed up high and the animals could reach up and pull a mouthful of hay to eat between the widely spaced bars.

Old hayracks became treasured antiques and came to be used outside buildings as attractive planters for flowers.  Our window hayrack planters are a beautiful alternative to the traditional window box.  

  • Offered in lengths ranging from 24" to 80"
  • Hand-welded steel that is thickly dipped in black polymer for permanent corrosion protection
  • Made-to-fit molded coco liners
  • Even the smallest 24" hayrack is deeply proportioned so that plants grow big

Before you Plant...decide where you will install your hayrack - a shady spot or sunny spot.  This will help you to have a successful planting.

Next you will need to decide how best to install the racks at your desired location.  Fasteners for our hayracks are not supplied, since different uses require different types of fasteners.  Options vary from inexpensive lag bolts to hayrack mounting hardware specific to your situation.

Lag Bolt Install:

Wood Siding: Use plated lag bolts at least 2-1/2" long with 1-1/4" o.d. washers. Hold empty hayrack in position and drill pilot holes at the "bumps" in top rear bar, which are designed to be gripped by the washers. For larger hayracks and extra security, install a third bolt and washer in center of lowest bar.

Masonry: Same as on wood siding, but make the holes in the masonry with a masonry drill bit, large enough to install plastic or lead anchors for masonry bolts.

Hayrack Mounting Hardware:

J-Hooks – use on fences, all types of siding – just choose the correct screw as indicated above

Hayrack Wall Brackets - mount your hayracks away from walls or fences allowing for air circulation and preventing stains 

Hayrack Adjustable Railing Brackets – perfect for wooden deck railings 

Cable Tie Kit – perfect for an iron railing

Iron Railings: There are so many different iron railings, your choice here is varied.  Many customers use coated wire and pliers to install hayracks. It's easy and inexpensive and the plants soon hide the arrangement.   We also offer heavy-duty steel hayrack rail brackets.

Designing your Planting & Choosing your Plants


The definition of proportion is the relation of one part to another.  So if you have chosen a very large hayrack, you will need to choose plants that will look i proportion to the hayrack.  For immediate impact, choose plants that are already large enough to not look dwarfed by the hayrack.

Plant Needs - Water, Shade and Sun

It is best to choose plants that have similar needs.  For instance, you would not want to plant Impatiens with the sun loving Zinnia.  So look for plants with like needs.  For sunny locations and some shade solutions, herbs are your perfect plant.  Adding herbs will add texture, scent, and good edge fillers and, depending on the herb, can offer a trailing effect.

Color, Shape and Texture

Color affects us psychologically.  Warm colors (yellow, orange and red) stand out at a distance, give the impression of warmth and create excitement and urgency.  Cool colors (blues and greens) tend to disappear at a distance, create a cool feeling and will calm and soothe.  Warm colors are often used as accent plants while the cooler colors are used as backdrops and fillers.

Designers generally use one of four color schemes:  analogous, complementary, monochromatic or polychromatic.  

  • Analogous - consists of two, three or four colors that are neighbors on the color wheel, such as blue-green, blue, blue-violet and violet.  This will create a mood that is peaceful and gentle.
  • Complementary - uses two colors that are directly opposite on the color sheele, such as yellow-orange and violet-blue.  This will be dramatic and stimulating.
  • Monochromatic - is a color scheme using only one color plus its own shades and tines: i.e., blue plus blues with various amounts of black and white added.  Touch to create in a garden but easy in a container.
  • Polychromatic - includes colors from all around the color wheel using green foliage as a harmonizer.

Shape or Form is the habit of a particular plant.  Is it round, conical, weeping or trailing, upright or spreading?  It is the shape and habit that help you create a strong framework for your planting.  In any garden - and the container garden is no exception - you need a focal point.  An upright plant will give you vertical interest and your eye will be drawn to it first.  Trailing plants off the edge of your planter will soften the edges and create a more finished look.

Texture of plants is divided into three categories:  fine, medium and course.  Textural contrast can be even more effective than color contrast.  Plants that are described as fine in texture are those that are quite soft and easy on the eye, often having many delicate flowers such as lobelia or baby's breath.  Medium-textured plants tend to have some distinct shape such as geraniums or flowering tobacco.  Coarse plants are those with very distinct textures such as ornamental cabbages or large begonias.

Create a bold display by combining trailing blues and yellow with columnar spires and feather foliage.  Use your accent plants in the center with complementary plants surrounding it and trailing herbs or lobelias softening your edges.

Important note:  If your desire is to create instant impact with your hayrack or hanging basket, pack it full of plants.  Leave no room in the planter and you will have a very dramatic planting.

There is no rule about which plants are for containers and which are not.  As long as you provide the basic needs for plants - enough room for its roots, water, nutrients and sun or shade - any plant will work in a container.  So be creative!  Plant what you like.  And remember, your local nursery will help you with what plants will thrive in your area.

Planting Time

Choose your planting medium.  For containers, you will want to use a light potting mix with good drainage.  Often a soil-less mixture is best; they offer no  nutrient value, but the "soil" will not become compacted strangling the roots.  Plus, you have the added benefit that they are lightweight and free from soil-borne diseases and weed seeds.

Now you need to think about water and fertilizer.  It is good to mix a slow-release fertilizer into your soil.  Osmocote is a well-known slow release fertilizer.  We also offer the Algoflash Basacote 6-month slow release fertilizer as well as AlgoPlus liquid fertilizers to keep your planting going throughout the season.

If you are planting in a sunny location or are worried in any way about keeping your hayrack watered, consider adding Rain-Gel to your soil or Rain Mats.  These products will absorb water and make it available to your plants when they need it.

Insert your pre-molded coco liner and fill your hayrack with soil-less planting media to one inch below the coco liner.

Now let the fun begin.  Arrange your plants to your liking and enjoy!  And remember, the fun does not end in spring.  Decorate your planters for fall and holidays as well!