Backyard Greenhouse From Reclaimed Windows




Introduction: Backyard Greenhouse From Reclaimed Windows

The backyard green house has been a great addition to our way of gardening, it is a great place for us to store our potted plants from around the pool in the winter and a great place to start plants before the growing season. I created the initial design in Tremble Sketchup and a number of my initial green house scale drawings can be found in the Tremble 3D warehouse. The greenhouse measures 12' X 12' and is almost 12' tall at the highest point.

Step 1: Begin With a Plan.

A plan is critical when trying to use reclaimed Windows. Determining a plan, a layout and the utilization of the materials was the most difficult part of the construction process. Luckily I found that the windows with a 2x4 frame work was almost 12' and was the determining factor in the dimensions of the greenhouse.

Step 2: Determine the Proper Window Angle for the Most Solar Collection During the Winter Months.

The next stage in planning was the angle at which the primary window wall should be. There is a basic rule of thumb in greenhouse construction that the proper southern facing wall angle should be 10 degrees greater than the latitude of your location. My latitude in Tennessee is 35 degrees so the angle of my primary southern facing window is 45 degrees. This provides the optimum angle for both summer and winter months.

Step 3: Final Framing, Ridge and Roof Assembly.

This is the final framing stage before the beginning of window installation. The rear / northern roof section will be covered in a corrugated translucent poly material from a local hardware store. It was constructed in such a way as the corrugated material will sir flush on the lath and seal out any drafts. I will insulate the inside of the northern roof section with clear plastic.

Step 4: Preparing the Windows, Doors, and Trim Pieces for Installation

Step 5: Window Installation Begins

The east and west windows are three panel crank out windows that I acquired from Craigslist and they work excellent. The positioning was determined after I got the windows and figured out how I could use the smaller Windows below. The main front windows were installed in the framework with screws and about 15 tubes of silicone caulk. I opted to paint all the frame work white before installing the Windows.

Step 6: Final Exterior Close Out, Painting and Assmbly

The front corners were filled in with the same poly material used on the ceiling. The side and rear close out is 3/4" plywood.

Step 7: Flagstone Floor Installation - Heat Storage Device.

Step 8: Interior Growing Tables and Porch Installation.

Step 9: Things Are Growing!

A fan installed in the top of the roof pitch with a vent at the floor line for cross ventilation. Also, installed a 220v electric heater for the cold months in Tennessee as well as an automatic irrigation system to keep it all moist.

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    32 Discussions

    Where can I find a blue print plans?

    looks great. Especially the decorations on the rooftop

    Very nice. I'll be working on my one this fall. I guarantee it will be much more "rustic" than yours!


    2 years ago

    Absolutely gorgeous--love the addition of the Victorian fretwork! While I doubt mine will be as large or as beautiful, I hope to start collecting windows soon. Ideally freebies from the curb in my old neighborhood now that I have a vehicle to transport them in, but if nothing else from Habitat ReStore.

    1 reply

    thanks! Good luck on yours! Habitat store and craigslist are great places for this type of project.

    It looks great!


    2 years ago

    ."proper southern facing wall angle should be 10 degrees greater than the latitude of your location."

    In your case of 45 degrees it doesn't matter, but is this from verticle or Horizontal???

    2 replies

    The horizon is 0º

    Straight up is 90

    I believe that is from horizontal. The idea here is to capture as much of the Sun's radiant heating during the day in the winter and less (due to the Sun's angle) in the summer months.

    Nice job

    I didn't read all of it, but did you use sealed glass units or just the frames?

    Twinwall polycarbonate roofing works well and insulates. Arduino controlled ventilation and watering next. Fill it with stuff that really does need the heat - peppers, blight-free tomatoes, basil etc.

    This is perfect,I've been wanting a greenhouse,and this is actually affordable.Thanks!


    Great concept!

    If you found a 60+ watt solar panel and a small car electric radiator fan you could have a cheap reliable passive vent system on the greenhouse. just a thought :)

    1 reply

    I have a thermostat controlled exhaust fan and a 220v greenhouse heater for winter... Great idea though, thanks!

    Nice work! I love all of your thoughtful design details that pull all of the reclaimed elements together. It looks great! thanks for making such a great Instructable!

    1 reply

    I love the adds a nice touch! You said it was 12x12 but didn't look that big until I saw the pictures with people in it as well which provided some dimensional comparison. This turned out great. I have someone I would love to build this for and can get all the windows pretty inexpensively. I may build this soon. Thanks for the great instructable.