Follow Us: Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Pinterest Follow Us on Youtube

How to Build a Miniature Greenhouse from Old Windows

Windown GH1It’s time to get new windows for your house, and you have the perfect ones in mind. But what should you do with the old ones? Before you send them straight to the landfill consider recycling them into a project instead. Old windows can make a cute, inexpensive greenhouse that will brighten any yard or patio.

You can make a greenhouse of any size, but if you don’t want to go through the trouble of pouring concrete and collecting more than a handful of windows, there is another option. Miniature greenhouses will fit in the corner of an office or a small backyard, and they have the added bonus of being portable.

Collect Materials

Collect screws, nails, your toolbox, and, most importantly, your windows (you can also use old doors if you’re looking to build a larger greenhouse). Whether you use your own old home windows or salvage them from craigslist, neighbors, or construction sites, make sure that they’re the same size so that you can put them together without the extra hassle. Make sure that they’re all the same material, too—you can build a miniature greenhouse with either wood or aluminum-framed windows, but the job will be much easier if they are all the same.

I’ll use wooden frames as an example in this article. Just modify these basic instructions to fit your personal preferences!

Prep Work

Before you begin building, make sure that your windows are in optimal condition. Repair them as needed (caulking, sanding, etc.). You might save painting as the final step, just in case they get scratched a little during the building process. Painting the wood will protect it from the elements as well, so don’t skip this step entirely even if you’re going for more of a “shabby chic” look.

Building Your Greenhouse

There is more than one way to go about the building process. Peruse the internet for the best ideas, and choose the design that you like the most. Here are a few options to consider as you get started.

  • Lay one window flat as the floor
  • Go without a floor so that the greenhouse can be picked up and placed over plants as needed
  • Attach two windows with a piece of angle iron in a peak for a gabled roof
  • Lift one wall taller than the one opposite with a 2×4 so that you can lay another window across them to make an angled roof
  • Use nails, screws, hinges, or angle irons to attach sides together
  • Opt out of a door and leave one side open

Simplicity Might Be Best

If you’re at all like me, the thought of using exact measurements, levels, drill bits, angle irons, and anything that sounds like it belongs to a professional construction worker is daunting. Now that you have a rough idea of how you want your greenhouse to look, here is the most basic way I’ve found to construct your miniature greenhouse.

  • Place the sides of the four walls firmly against each other in a square (again, make sure they are the same height and length)
  • Hammer nails gently through the wooden frames at each corner
  • Strengthen with angle irons placed on the inside corners if needed
  • Place a fifth window flat across the top and attach to one side with hinges to create a lidded roof

Window greehouseIn the end, it all comes down to your personal style. Do some experimenting. If you’re more comfortable with tools, feel free to get creative with a frame, legs, and gabled roof like this:

Something like this can take a little more work, but the results are well worth it. Whether you’re looking to replace your windows and doors in Toronto, Los Angeles, or anywhere in between and need to get rid of the old ones or you want to get an early start on your garden with a basic greenhouse, building one from old windows is one solution. Go out and do some research, and whatever style you end up with will be a fun, valuable addition to your gardening experience! 


Ultimate Plant Cage Ultimate Plant Clip Global Garden Friends products
  • Ylla

    Awesome, wish I had any land at all… my belief every 25 people should purchase land together and either rotate the farm workload, or lease it to a farmer who will then provide the 25 with all seasonal veges/dairy/meat. I’m sure there are people who do this, just wish it was mandatory. Or maybe a sort of connecting services that hooks you up with people in your area who want this. The numbers can be different and the amount you put in will determine your share, this way anyone could afford it, and actually it should save money!

    • katdfinns

      what a great idea.

    • taree

      google community gardens in your area!

    • Kathie Turner Jones

      While I love the idea, making it “mandatory”…not so much.
      Best thing to do is to START doing this and show others how its done.
      The ground-swell movement of healthy, sustainable food is happening. We who are in the “wave” need to keep at it. :)

    • Lisa of Fresh Eggs Daily®

      That’s an awesome idea! Of ask someone who has land if you could rent part of it and raise cows, or goats or bees or chickens. Share your bounty of honey or eggs or wool with them….

    • Tigger

      Actually, there are already organic farms where you pay monthly to help with their expenses, then you get produce every month. Perhaps you should look into it. You can also make cook gardens using containers, wooden crates, etc. Where there’s a will, there’s a way – pursue it yourself & forget the mandatory idea!

  • caliwebman

    I’m going to start with an 8′ by 20′ and then just as Miss Winchester added a room every year to her mansion, I will ad atleast one window per year. :) Any body have any really sound tips for framing the windows?

  • Joy-Bobby Orf

    It should be noted that windows from homes built prior to 1978 will most likely have lead paint. So sanding is not a good idea…

  • Darlin Bonchek

    I wonder what size approx the windows are

  • Monica Hicks Labranche

    That is a neat idea. I think the community lifestyle is awesome.

  • Debbie Key

    Wish I would have seen this before I sold our Antique windows from our 1937 home.

$0.000 items