Build a Greenhouse with Upcycled Windows

Repurpose old windows to create a beautiful greenhouse and save money while going green.

| February/March 2019

Brian Koehl crafted this greenhouse out of salvaged windows, opening up the opportunity to create a beautiful and useful space while giving building materials a second life.
Photo by William D. Adams

You can spend $50,000 for an upscale curved-glass greenhouse, or $50 for a down-home one made of PVC pipe and plastic sheeting. But there’s a lot of ground in between. Here, we’re going to explore the option of using upcycled windows, doors, and other materials set in a wood framework to create a functional, sturdy greenhouse.

We won’t provide exact plans for this greenhouse; each will be different depending on the size and type of windows and doors you track down. But we will provide general plans for building an all-in-one rafter and wall system that will provide a basic greenhouse structure for you to “fill in the blanks” with windows, doors, and treated plywood.

We all know the equations for using building materials: Recycled stuff equals lower cost and more labor, while store-bought stuff equals higher cost and less labor. But there are other factors we should add to the recycled-stuff side of the equation: It’s better for the environment, it’s more fun, your project will be uniquely yours, and you’ll wind up with more bragging rights.

With most projects, you start with a firm plan, and then obtain the needed materials. In this case, you’ll start by obtaining the materials, and then create a plan based around your newly found treasures.


3/7/2019 11:56:57 AM

We built a greenhouse from recycled materials as well. My problem is spring and fall as we have early severe frosts. I am looking for a way to insulate the north wall. Any ideas?

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