Greenhouse From Old Windows: Cheap 1-Day Build for Gardens

Last Updated on March 13, 2024 by teamobn

Greenhouse From Old Window

Recycled crafts are some of the most popular garden projects we have here and we like them all. In addition to their positive environmental contribution, trash-to-treasure crafts are especially frugal, coming with little or no additional cost at all. This includes a greenhouse from old windows.

These unique trash-to-treasure crafts are great ways to take things that are old and make them new. Our consumerist society throws a lot of supposedly old things out. That’s where creative DIYers step in.

Every day of every week, someone is busy replacing their ‘old’ timber framed windows with ‘whiz-bang, no maintenance’ windows. And every day, thousands of glasshouse kits are sold. DIYer, Chef, made the connection and built a glasshouse from other people’s trash.

Greenhouse from Old Windows

This greenhouse project is one of the most inexpensive builds we’ve come across. Although building a greenhouse from scratch is cheaper than buying a quality new kit, you’re still up for the material expenses such as timber for all the framing plus the cost of the glass. The builder of this greenhouse found a way around this issue by using salvaged windows.

As you can see, the frames and glass in these salvaged windows make perfect building blocks for a greenhouse from old windows. You just need to build the frame on which the windows will be installed. You’ll spend very little, if anything, on the windows, depending on where you source them.

Craigslist and Gumtree are great sources for items like this. You’ll also find lots of timber there so all you have to buy are your screws, caulking, and latches.

Click on any image to start the lightbox display. Use your Esc key to close the lightbox. 8-)

Building a Greenhouse from Old Windows


  • Salvaged Windows
  • 4×4 Timber
  • 2×4 Timber
  • Gravel
  • Cinder Blocks
  • Screws
  • Paint
  • Corrugated Sheets



Look for old windows and save everything you get. After you have many for your greenhouse from old windows, lay them out and play a game trying to make two pairs of “walls” both the same height. Two to three inches won’t matter as you can cover the difference with wood.

Smaller holes will need to have glass cut for them or filled with something else. Remember that one end of your greenhouse from old windows will need a door and the other a hole for a fan.


Using the windows you chose as a guide, construct a frame for each wall. Use good lumber for this, as it is the structure that holds all the weight. I used all 2 x 4s for the studs and 4 x 4s for the corner posts. Choose a length that allows at least 14″ of the stud to be placed in the ground for support.


Start placing the walls up, bracing well so they don’t fall over. Be sure to check that they are level.


To avoid certain problems with pesky city building permits, I built the structure shed height and did not pour a concrete foundation. Instead, I buried cinder blocks to stabilize the 4 x 4 corner posts. They keep it from moving an inch.


I used some nice coated deck screws to affix the windows to the frame. This will allow for easy removal and replacement of any break. This side facing the camera has an empty window for a fan.


I was able to find someone who needed rocks removed from their yard. Using rocks or stones is good for two reasons: good drainage and heat storage.


This was tricky. I ended up getting siding from an old shed someone had torn down. For any material you use, look for lightweight and waterproof material. Be sure that you have some that will open for ventilation, at least 20-30% of your floor space.

You can get by with less if you use a fan for ventilation. Also, build the slanted roof with at least a 4-degree pitch, otherwise, rain may not sheet off well.


I found an old picnic bench table and this fan and shelf in the garbage. I figured I can use them in my greenhouse and save them from a landfill.


Use a good outdoor caulk and seal all the cracks and holes between windows. Paint the wood to protect it from the weather.


I was unhappy with having to remove the fan/vent window and having to prop it against something while cooling the greenhouse during the day. The frame was already designed to fit the window into it. I decided to have it slide up and be held in place.


I started by salvaging some hinges from an old entertainment centre. They are the kind that sits completely outside the door. Plus these had a unique shape that fits around a right angle for my greenhouse from old windows. This allowed the wooden “stops” to swing in place and hold the window up while I was venting or when the fan is in place.


Across the frame, I nailed some boards to hold the fan window against the frame for the greenhouse from old windows. Lastly, I found an old pulley and fastened it to the window so I can pull it up easily.


A local community greenhouse was torn down and replaced. I was able to get some great parts for my greenhouse from old windows. Here is a picture of the new window system. It originally opened the windows on the side of the greenhouse. The wheel is turned and rotates the gear attached to the pipe opening the windows. Makes opening and shutting easy. While every window now must be open at the same time, I can control the angle at which they are open.


Also pictured is a gutter claimed from the trash. The hinge side of the roof windows always leaked profusely. The gutter of my greenhouse from old windows catches the water and stores it in a bucket for easy watering.


Spring Shading. Bought secondhand some rolling shades which are working great on my greenhouse from old windows. They easily roll up and down the south-facing wall while not taking up too much room.


Here is the greenhouse from old windows in a mild winter.  I overwinter many potted perennials inside. To insulate the roof, I stretch a sheet of poly across the top to keep out the drafts.


All the wood is doing well. I hope that, with care, the greenhouse will last over 10 years. It has changed the way I garden, making my backyard much more productive.

Could this be the project for improving your garden? 🙂

Thanks to cheft for this great greenhouse from old windows project.

Benefits of Greenhouses From Old Windows

Greenhouses from wold windows lets you extend the growing season for specific plants regardless of the year. In addition to being beneficial to your crops, this kind of greenhouse can also contribute to the environment by reducing landfill space.

Let’s explore the multifaceted benefits of utilizing a greenhouse made from old windows in your garden.

Eco-Friendly Gardening

Using old windows to build a greenhouse is an excellent example of upcycling, turning potential waste into a valuable resource. This approach significantly reduces the environmental impact associated with new constructions. A greenhouse from old windows repurposes materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill, embodying the principles of sustainable living.

Cost Efficiency

Building a greenhouse from scratch can be expensive, but old windows offer a frugal alternative. These windows often come at little to no cost, sourced from sites like Craigslist or Gumtree, or through community exchanges. The major expenses are reduced to buying screws, caulking, and latches, making this project highly cost-effective.

Extended Growing Season

A primary advantage of any greenhouse is its ability to extend the growing season. Plants can be started earlier in the spring and grown later into the fall, sometimes even through winter, depending on the local climate. A greenhouse constructed from old windows retains heat effectively, creating a stable environment for plant growth outside the typical outdoor growing calendar.

Protection from Elements

Plants housed in a greenhouse are shielded from adverse weather conditions, including frost, heavy rain, and high winds. This protection is especially crucial for delicate or exotic plants that require consistent temperatures. A greenhouse made from old windows provides a sturdy barrier against the elements, ensuring the survival and health of your plants.

Pest and Disease Control

Greenhouses can offer a controlled environment that minimizes the risks of pests and diseases. By regulating who and what enters the space, gardeners can significantly reduce the incidence of infestations and infections that are common in outdoor gardens. A greenhouse built from old windows adds an additional layer of defense, keeping your garden safe and thriving.

Increased Yields

The controlled environment of a greenhouse leads to healthier plants and, as a result, increased yields. Whether it’s vegetables, fruits, or flowers, plants grown in a greenhouse from old windows can produce more abundant and consistent harvests compared to those grown outdoors, making your gardening efforts more fruitful.

Educational Opportunities

Building and maintaining a greenhouse from old windows provides a hands-on learning experience about sustainability, construction, and horticulture. It’s an excellent project for families, schools, or community groups, offering valuable lessons in recycling, plant care, and environmental stewardship.

Aesthetic Appeal

A greenhouse constructed from old windows does not just serve functional purposes; it also adds a unique charm and aesthetic appeal to any garden. Each salvaged window carries its own history, and when pieced together, they create a visually striking structure that enhances the beauty of your outdoor space. This rustic, yet elegant addition can become a focal point in your garden, reflecting a commitment to both sustainability and style.

Customization and Flexibility

Building a greenhouse from old windows offers unparalleled customization and flexibility. Gardeners can design their greenhouse to fit specific dimensions and shapes of their available space, accommodating even unconventional garden layouts. This flexibility allows for the creation of a highly personalized gardening environment, tailored to the specific needs of your plants and your aesthetic preferences.

Microclimate Creation

A greenhouse made from recycled windows can create a microclimate, a small area where the climate differs from the surrounding area. This controlled environment can be fine-tuned to suit exotic or tropical plants that wouldn’t thrive in the local climate, allowing gardeners to diversify their plant selections and grow species worldwide.

Enhanced Plant Health and Growth

The stable conditions within a greenhouse facilitate extended growing seasons and enhanced plant health and growth. The consistent temperature, humidity, and sheltered environment can lead to more robust plant development, fewer stress factors, and a reduction in growth stunting caused by fluctuating weather conditions. Plants grown in a greenhouse from old windows often exhibit more vigorous growth and greater resilience.

Water Efficiency

A greenhouse from old windows can contribute to more efficient water use. By controlling the environment, gardeners can minimize water loss due to evaporation and runoff, ensuring that plants receive the moisture they need with less wasted water. This efficiency is particularly beneficial in areas with water use restrictions or drought-prone areas.

Learning and Hobby Enhancement

For those passionate about gardening, a greenhouse from old windows offers a year-round hobby, regardless of the weather. It provides a sanctuary for gardeners to nurture their plants, experiment with new gardening techniques, and indulge in their passion even during the off-season. The greenhouse becomes a laboratory for learning about plant species, propagation methods, and gardening innovations.

Community Engagement

Finally, the project of building a greenhouse from old windows can foster community engagement. Sharing the experience with neighbors, family, or community members spreads the joy of gardening and promotes a culture of recycling and sustainability. It can inspire others to undertake similar projects, leading to a collective effort towards greener living practices.

A greenhouse from old windows presents a unique blend of environmental sustainability, cost efficiency, and gardening benefits. It exemplifies how recycled materials can be transformed into valuable assets for the garden, enhancing our outdoor spaces’ beauty, productivity, and ecological harmony.

Innovative Uses for Greenhouses

A greenhouse crafted from old windows not only embodies sustainability and resourcefulness but also opens a world of possibilities beyond traditional plant cultivation. This unique structure can serve various innovative purposes, enhancing its utility and the overall enjoyment of your garden space. 

Let’s explore how a greenhouse made from salvaged windows can be transformed into more than just a home for plants.

Educational Classroom

Transforming a greenhouse constructed from old windows into an educational space offers a hands-on learning environment for individuals of all ages. It becomes a classroom where lessons on botany, ecology, and sustainability can come to life. 

School groups, community workshops, or even informal family learning sessions can benefit from this practical approach to education, where theory meets practice most engagingly.

Art Studio or Craft Workshop

Picture yourself in a space where the only boundaries are those of your imagination. A greenhouse transformed from old windows offers an idyllic, light-bathed studio where creativity knows no bounds. The abundant natural light streaming through the glass panes provides the perfect illumination for artistic endeavors, from painting and sketching to sculpting and crafting. 

Surrounded by the tranquility of your garden, this space becomes a fertile ground for creativity, where every artwork is infused with the inspirations drawn from nature itself. For crafters, the vibrant vistas serve as a muse, making the greenhouse a nucleus of innovation and artistic exploration.

Yoga Retreat or Meditation Space

Now, envision a retreat where peace and nature converge—a serene oasis perfect for yoga or meditation. A greenhouse from old windows stands as an emblem of tranquility, its glass walls inviting the outside in, creating a seamless blend with nature. 

This sanctuary, nestled among lush greenery, offers a tranquil escape from the everyday chaos. It becomes a sacred space where one can practice yoga or meditate, fostering a deeper connection with the self and the natural world. The gentle light and serene environment support mindfulness and well-being, turning the greenhouse into a haven for those seeking solitude and inner peace.

Exotic Plant Conservatory

A greenhouse from old windows offers the ideal microclimate for exotic plant cultivation. Enthusiasts of tropical or rare plants can create a conservatory, a sanctuary for species that require specific conditions not found in the local climate. This use allows gardeners to expand their horticultural horizons and provides a unique, biodiverse haven that can educate and inspire visitors about global plant species.

Garden Dining Area

Why not combine the joys of gardening with the pleasures of dining al fresco? A greenhouse from old windows can be transformed into a novel dining area, where meals are enjoyed amidst flourishing plants. 

This setup can offer a unique dining experience, perfect for family gatherings, romantic dinners, or even small social events, providing a memorable backdrop that celebrates both gastronomy and gardening.

Hobby or Collectibles Showcase

A greenhouse from old windows can serve as a display area for those with hobbies or collections that benefit from a controlled environment. Whether it’s vintage botanical prints, antique gardening tools, or even a model village, the controlled climate of a greenhouse can help preserve these items while offering a unique setting for their display.

Relaxation and Reading Nook

Lastly, a greenhouse from old windows can become a cozy nook for relaxation and reading. Fill it with comfortable seating, throw in some soft lighting, and surround yourself with plants for a peaceful retreat. This space can serve as an escape for those moments when you need to unwind, read a book, or simply enjoy the tranquility of your garden in any weather.

The versatility of a greenhouse from old windows is limited only by your imagination. These innovative uses demonstrate how such a structure can transcend its traditional role, becoming a multifunctional space that enriches your home and lifestyle in numerous ways.


Creating a greenhouse from old windows merges sustainability with innovation, turning discarded materials into a space teeming with life and creativity. This approach not only benefits the environment through recycling but also enriches our lives, offering a unique sanctuary for plants, artistry, and well-being. It stands as a testament to the beauty and potential of reimagined spaces, inspiring us to look at old objects through a new lens of possibility.

For more greenhouses that will save the environment, read our project on a plastic bottle greenhouse!



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