Fixing and Improving Old Greenhouse




Welcome back!

This is the second part of the automatic garden project.

Water system can be found here:

In this Instructable I will show the process and the thoughts behind the restoring/fixing and upgrade of the old greenhouse that was in our backyard when we moved here.

Let's get started!

Step 1: Getting an Overview of the Damage.

First of all I took a look on the damage I had to repair.

Moved everything out and started removing the glass... with a hammer...

Step 2: Sawing the Pieces for the Garden Beds.

For the garden beds, I took some old floor planks and measured out the possible length and height of the beds. I made sure I only had just enough wood. nothing to waste!

Then proceeding to saw out the pieces.

Step 3: Assemble the Pieces.

I then screw them together with stainless steel screws. (A2)

Step 4: Hammer It Into the Ground!

I placed them in the position I wanted them.
Wide enough from each other to have room for a wheel barrel between. And they are level!

Step 5: Making the Finish Touch.

I made some bird protecting covers from some scrap wood I had laying around, and some net from ebay

Step 6: Cleaning the Greenhouse.

After removing the glass.. with a hammer.. I cleaned up the glass shards.
the glass was glued to the frame so it was not easy to remove without breaking it anyway.

I then dug up some of the dirt and placed it in the garden beds.
The removed dirt made room for some new fertilized soil. and separated with a wooden plank I first laid some weed protective sheets. and then sand to lay tiles on.

I then placed the concrete tiles on the sand.

Step 7: Take a Break.

laying tiles is hard work so we took a break.

Step 8: Cut and Insert the Thermoclear Roofing.

I then calculated how much I needed to cover the entire greenhouse, and then bought it.

I then cut the plastic with a jigsaw with a metal blade. I chose this because the blade is with small teeth, and wont rip the plastic.

Step 9: Connect Water.

in the Water system Instructable ( where I show how I made this.

Step 10: The Control Center.

I bought a small garden table in the local hardware shop. I then cut a hole in it with my jigsaw with wood blade. in this hole I put an old sink I had laying around. I also installed the Tap.

Step 11: Making the Electronics.

I made an arduino system with relays that can activate water pumps and control the

But this will be more specific in a future Instructable! so stay tuned!

Step 12: Installing the Electronics.

I installed the electronic box and the water pumps. shopping list will be in the electronic Instructable.

Step 13: 3D Printing Brackets.

I then bought some fittings and 3D printed a bracket to mount the fitting with.

Step 14: Feel Like a Plumber.

I then installed the tubes, I used air tubes cause I had them from another project, but you can get some on Ebay. just make sure they fit on the pumps.

Step 15: Final Touch and Then Done!

Finaly I made a second bird cover for the second gardenbed, gave it some paint and installed the lights in the greenhouse.

Then i plated some plants. (tomato, cucumber and chili) and it was done!

I added a 3D file for a bracket that can be used in most greenhouse frames to attach wires and other stuff to.
feel free to used it! :-)

That was it for this time! The electronics was working great over the summer and I have some ideas for improvements to next summer. it's gonna be great!
I hope you enjoyed the Instructable and if you did, don't hesitate to give it a Vote or subscribe for future Instructables!
I am tying something new!
If you have something you think I should make please leave it as a comment and I will pick something out and try to make it! no matter how crazy the idea is!

See you next time!

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    15 Discussions


    Question 9 months ago on Step 8

    This is fantastic! I am wondering what type of plastic was used and how it was adhered to the greenhouse frame? Also, is there any difference/benefit between glass vs. plastic as far as growing plants? Thank you!

    5 answers
    Don BarthelSusanS337

    Answer 9 months ago

    Photo of greenhouse panel clip attached.

    I think that removing the glass panels to replace with the twin wall polycarbonate is a big waste of money. It would have been cheaper to buy a second brand new greenhouse with the polycarbonate panels included.

    Pros of polycarbonate: insulating, unbreakable.

    Pros of glass: longevity, ultimate clarity, cheap to buy, not adding plastic to the environment.

    I have an aluminum and glass greenhouse that I bought used twenty years ago. It was probably twenty years old already then. I replaced two broken glass panels at low cost. Glass is readily available. I have cracked one since which I covered on the inside with an old mirror. If I break another, I'll start swapping the panels with the north side and add bits of scrap plexiglass or plywood or metal road signs to shore them up on the north side. I don't care about the clarity of the panels on the north side.

    In the winter I throw a large sheet of greenhouse plastic over the whole greenhouse and clip it on. That totally waterproofs the structure. Greenhouse plastic is UV resistant. After twenty years of winters that sheet of plastic is still holding up.

    I have in the past bought a large roll of clear bubble wrap and pasted it to the glass panels before throwing on the greenhouse plastic in an attempt to further insulate the greenhouse. It worked except the ends of the greenhouse were still not insulated and that plastic deteriorates after a few years. I don't plan on doing that again.

    TueBjørnDon Barthel

    Reply 9 months ago

    Hi! Thank you for comment.
    To be fair, the glass had to be replaced, many was broken and some were completely missing.

    It is true it could have been a little cheaper in the end if I had just bought a new greenhouse with glass. A new greenhouse with plastic windows would have been more expensive. :-)

    I wanted to use plastic as this will not break over years. In Denmark it is often quite windy. Therefor normal glass will break over years. The choise was regular glass, plastic, or hardened glass. Of these three plastic was the most affordable compared to no cost of renovations it over the next many years :-)

    I hope it answers some of the questions :-)


    Answer 9 months ago

    Yes Thebomberman and Dart70ca answered correctly, It sticks with metal clips design for glass. and the plastic it Thermoclear roofing. it has to face the correct way to isolate but still let the suns arrays get trough. It works just as great at glass but adds the effekt of isolationg in the evening :)


    Answer 9 months ago

    Not op, but I used polycarbonate sheeting to replace the glass in mine, it attaches to the frame by metal clips. Just make sure you get the sheeting the right way round!
    No idea if glass has any thermal benefits, but I had no choice but to replace the glass as I have a four year old running around!


    Answer 9 months ago

    He said it was called Thermoclear Roofing. I see it in our local plastic shop and it's structure looks like thick cardboard; two Lexan panes with ribs separating them and forming insulative air chambers. Available at Home Depot in various sizes and colors for about $100/sheet.


    Question 9 months ago

    I am wondering why you would remove the glass? I'm very concerned about glass shards in your yard, as well. What did you do to make sure you collected them all?

    1 answer

    Answer 9 months ago

    No need to worry :-)
    we got it all, and the ground where the shards may have fallen was covered with dirt and sand. afterwards we laid tiles on top. so if there was some left, it is buried :-)

    Kink Jarfold

    10 months ago on Step 15

    This was so well done it almost made me want to build a greenhouse. But sadly, I'm not into gardening.


    4 replies
    Kink JarfoldTueBjørn

    Reply 9 months ago

    My dad emigrated from Norway in the early 1920s and came to America knowing trades--not gardening. Somewhere along the line I picked up a love of woodworking. I shall leave pros like you to do the greenhouse thing.

    TueBjørnKink Jarfold

    Reply 9 months ago

    You flatter me ;-)
    I love your "Royal Game of UR" it's very nicely done!

    Kink JarfoldTueBjørn

    Reply 9 months ago

    I appreciate the 'nicely done" for my rendition of The Royal Game of UR.