Build a Greenhouse with Upcycled Windows

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

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.


The Great Materials Hunt

Because the doors and windows you find will determine the spacing and height of your wall-rafter assemblies, gather your materials first. Look for windows and doors that are 32 inches or less in width to keep from spacing the wall-rafter assemblies too far apart. Locating and using groups of windows and doors of uniform size and shape will make construction easier.

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?



Fall 2021!

Put your DIY skills to the test throughout November. We’re mixing full meal recipes in jars, crafting with flowers, backyard composting, cultivating mushrooms, and more!


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters