Greenhouse Made From Salvaged Materials

hartwoodOctober 28, 2011

I got the inspiration and motivation for this project here a few years ago, so it seems fitting to check in to show everyone what can be done to build a greenhouse using lots of salvaged materials.

I collected lumber and timbers and windows and skylights, and built the frame for this three years ago. I was undecided about exactly how to install the windows at that time, and winter was closing in and I HAD too use the greenhouse within a few weeks, so I wrapped the building in poly and used it that way for three winters.

This spring, as incentive to finally get the building finished the way it was originally designed, I removed the poly and the greenhouse sat naked all spring and summer. Last week, with winter bearing down again, I gathered the energy to make the final push to finally, FINALLY give this greenhouse its windows.

Working by myself for the most part makes things go a bit slower than I'd like them to, but I'm making enough progress each day to keep me satisfied. I'm documenting this on my blog, where there are photos of where things stand as of now. The link to today's post is below.

Once I finish (she says, hopefully) I will gather up all of my before and after photos and do a big post with lots of details. In the meantime, I'll continue to post little victories as progress warrants. Doing it this way keeps me motivated to show what I accomplished on a given day ... it makes me feel as if I'm accountable to the Blog World for any lapses in progress ... I'll take encouragement I can get to finally make this greenhouse look like the picture that I have been cultivating in my imagination.


Here is a link that might be useful: Greenhouse

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wertach zone 7-B SC


    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 3:15PM
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Great job it looks nice. I built mine 2 years ago out of salvaged windows as well and I'm expanding this year. I love this type of gardening. It's so cool when you build from others waste.I wouldn't give up my GH for nothing. You're gonna love it. Happy Greenhousing.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 10:55PM
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Thanks! The greenhouse was a great place to spend the winter, when it was wrapped in plastic for those three years. Now that it's finally getting its windows and its style, I love it even more!

The weather is cold and rainy, so no outdoor work today. Rats!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2011 at 6:52AM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

That's a beautiful greenhouse! Congratulations to you for envisioning a beautiful design and having the ability and persistence to actually carry it out.

The photos of your rose cuttings are inspiring too! I tried to do some cuttings this fall and despite all my careful efforts, they failed. So that makes all of yours even more impressive to look at.

Thanks for sharing your nice work!


    Bookmark   October 30, 2011 at 11:23AM
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There's more progress being made, as I work myself to the bone taking advantage of this lovely autumn weather. The blog post linked below details the progress as of yesterday.


Here is a link that might be useful: More windows in the Greenhouse!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 5:26PM
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The north wall has almost all of its windows installed. The blog post below has the photos.

This project is turning out WAY better than I hoped it would, and I'm really psyched to see what it will look like at the end of each work day.

More progress reports coming ...


Here is a link that might be useful: The North Wall

    Bookmark   November 4, 2011 at 11:12AM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

I wish I had the energy to do what you are doing! Looks great!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2011 at 4:21PM
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I've always wanted to do the same thing but I am stumped at how to do the roof and that has stopped me from beginning anything. Did you use prefab trusses or all from scratch? Even reaching that high without a scafold seems as though it would be hard to do. Did you do the roof by yourself? It looks really good anyway. Maybe I can try a flat roof with skylights. Yours will probably look better than mine!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 10:45PM
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Building this greenhouse is just like building a big shed. The studs are 4x4 timbers (because that's what I had on hand), but you could just as easily use double 2x4s to carry the load with the spacing necessary for window openings. When I designed the greenhouse, I made little paper templates of each window out of graph paper, and I kept fiddling with the arrangement until I had something that looked good. THEN I figured out the loads and designed the framing. Remember, the frame stood for three years wrapped in greenhouse plastic, so the windows are just like covering and are not part of the construction at all.

I hired the roof. I needed this done quickly at the time, and I wasn't going to get it done in time if I did it myself. The roof is framed from rafters, but you could build trusses on the ground and lift them up if that's easier. Just like building any roof, it takes a couple of people with ladders and a lot of planning. Truthfully, the roof is really poorly done (Look again and see the awful shingling job the guys did!) and it will be getting a facelift next year ... or the year after.

poaky1, a flat roof with skylights would probably leak like crazy. Skylights need a roof pitch of at least 3/12 (or is it 4/12) so water runs past them instead of sitting around them and seeping into the building. Look at some shed plans and familiarize yourself with how they're built. This will get you a long way toward designing the greenhouse of your dreams.

I spent all day yesterday working on mine, and I'll have a new blog post up later this morning to show everyone my progress. Thank you for the inspiration and the encouragement ... it's finally coming together!


Here is a link that might be useful: link to blog home page

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 7:21AM
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It sounds like your more mathematically inclined than I am! Well, thanks for sharing anyway.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 9:41PM
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poaky1, you can absolutely do this! Yours doesn't have to be nearly as complicated as the one I'm building. I've been doing construction and carpentry work as a hobby for almost 30 years (has it been THAT long already?), and I tend to take on projects that are above my abilities ... to push myself, you understand.

Yesterday's progress wasn't what I hoped it would be. All the up/down squatting and bending that I've been doing each day has my legs pretty sore, and it slowed me down. I did finish the framing and sheathing on the north wall, however, and I figured out how I'm going to trim and install the shingle siding. Figuring is an important part of the process ... but it's impossible to take a photo of my imagination to show it to someone. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: main blog link

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 7:37AM
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This week's run of unseasonably warm weather has fueled a building frenzy ... and the greenhouse is really coming along. Three of the four knee-walls are framed and sheathed! I still have some trim and window stops to install on these walls, along with the corner boards. Nothing done yet on the east wall, which is the wall with the door. I'll get to it soon.

I can't wait to walk into the greenhouse and close the door on a finished structure! It's been a really long time coming.

Two days worth of progress are documented in the blog post linked below.


Here is a link that might be useful: Closing up the South and West walls.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 9:43AM
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