Plant a Colorful Mailbox Garden

Plant a Colorful Mailbox Garden

Transform a curbside mailbox into an enchanting little garden. By Karen Weir-Jimerson
By Karen Weir-Jimerson

Do you have a mailbox on a post? If so, you also have the beginnings of a tiny garden that will enhance the view of your home for visitors who walk, jog, or drive by.

Mailboxes can look like lonely sentries on a block. So why not dress up this tiny area with some festive flowers and give your street a little curb appeal. You might be surprised how many of your neighbors follow suit when they see how pretty a small street-side garden can be.

Plant UP the post
The posts for your mailbox can be used as a climbing support for a vine. Add tropical appeal by planting a mandevilla at the base of the post and it will rise and climb the post, dressing it in a cloak of beautiful pink, red, or white trumpet-shape flowers.

Or try an easy-care perennial vine, such as clematis, which offers a wide variety of flower colors and shapes, from big pinwheel blue, pink, or purple blooms to small pendulous or star-shape flowers.

You can disguise the post by planting a trio of tall-growing feather reed grass. These erect clumps offer green waving grasses in spring and summer and wheat-colored tops in late summer.  

Plant AROUND the post
Build a bed around the base of the post to create a beautiful small-scale street-side garden. Use the post as the focal point in any shape bed. Choose a design that best fits your area: a circle, triangle, square, or rectangle. Get small-space garden ideas here. 

You can make the bed as large as you want. For example, some homeowners may plant a border garden that spans their entire lot to add a flowery face to their property. Try small ornamental grasses that are low growing yet colorful. 

To keep the lawn from encroaching, use an edging option such as plastic, metal, or stone. Or choose a natural edge by planting a low-growing groundcover. Keep the bed weed free by mulching with bark, gravel, stones, or shells. The bed, left, features pansies and flowering kale plants for early-spring color. If you are looking for quick coverage, try Drop and Grow plants.

Plant IN a mailbox planter
Some mailbox designs feature a small planter on top of the post. This space is ideal for small perky annual flowers such as marigolds, ageratum, or sweet alyssum. Create visual continuity by repeating one of the flowers in the planter box from those in the garden below. In the example at top, marigolds and dusty miller pair up at the base of the post. Marigolds also fill the post planter. Keep in mind that planters at the top of mailbox posts are small, so use potting soil with water-holding sphagnum peat moss to help preserve soil moisture (small containers will dry out faster than larger ones).  

If your mailbox is far away from a water source, consider drought-tolerant species, such as succulents. Or, since you collect your mail everyday, just bring a watering can with you when you collect your mail and give your planter garden a drink.

Column posts
Some mailboxes are embedded into a brick column or wall near a front gate. Create a vignette of flowering and foliage plants near the mailbox or address plate to give your entry a beautiful focal point.

Keep foliage clear of the mailbox opening so that your mail carrier doesn’t have to use pruning shears to deliver your mail.

Follow USPS regulations
When creating a mailbox garden, follow these instructions by the USPS.

Height: Your mailbox should be positioned 41 to 45 inches from the road surface to the bottom of the mailbox.

Curb setback: The mailbox post needs to be positioned 6 to 8 inches back from the curb.

Post type: Use a 4 x 4 inch wooden support or a 2 inch-diameter standard steel or aluminum pipe.

Do you want to see more mailbox garden ideas? Check out these 13 gardens from The Spruce.