Gardening 101 ~ Building a Greenhouse

by Merissa on April 26, 2011

in Gardening 101

Hello! We are Merissa's mother and father in-law, Paul and Mary, and it is an honor to be asked to have a guest post on her blog. She asked if we would write about the greenhouse we are building out of discarded patio doors. My husband and I like the idea of "re-purposing" (Finding another useful purpose for things that would otherwise end up in the landfill.) So when a friend of ours, who replaces doors and windows for his company, told us he had several glass patio doors that were going to be discarded, my husband came up with the wonderful idea of building a greenhouse. He has wanted to build a greenhouse for quite a while, but the cost has been inhibitive. Our first intent was to make a cold frame with one or two doors, but when we had access to 10 at once, we decided to go with the greenhouse. Paul designed the building frame to fit the doors, and to let in the most southern sunlight, so we can extend our growing season. It is 8' x 12' so there is plenty of room for tables and moving around.

As you can see from the pictures, he put four of the doors at a slant for the roof, and four at a slight slant for the south wall. The other 2 doors he put in the east and west walls. The north wall is solid. We insulated the north, east and west walls, and put on particle board. We plan to put in a fan, on a hinge, in the west wall, so it can be closed and insulated during the winter. We have a vent in the east wall for air circulation. We sided it with metal siding left over from our house roof.  All the holes in the doors were caulked to keep out the moisture.

In the inside, along the north wall, we made planting trays out of plastic gutters, which we mounted on shelf brackets.  I caulked the end caps on to hold the soil and water.   We got the gutters at Menards for .99 after rebate, and the shelf brackets were free after rebate.  The most expensive things were the end caps, which weren't on sale.  Paul has planted radishes, spinach and lettuce in them and the seedlings are growing well.

We really haven't proved how well it will work yet, but the temperature is usually 20 or more degrees warmer in there, when the sun is shining.  We hope to put cement patio blocks on the floor this fall to help retain the heat.  We also hope to put in some dark painted barrels, filled with water,  to also help hold the heat for when the cooler days of fall and winter come.

We are looking forward to using it and see how well it works.

Thanks to Paul and Mary, my mother and father in law for this guest post.

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11:00 am

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 marci357 April 26, 2011 at 11:39 am

Thanks for the photo of how it went together. I am working on something similar with some discarded 5×6 ft windows.

What is on the floor now? Regular cement/concrete?
And will the patio blocks be a darker color?



2 Mary April 26, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Hi Marci, This is Mary. What we have on the floor right now is just used carpet to cover the dirt. Yes, we’ll put in the darker patio blocks, when we can afford them. Thanks.


3 Becky September 17, 2011 at 6:54 pm

OMgosh I wish I had found this site before buying a greenhouse. (even though we love ours) I love the idea of the gutters though and plan a trip to our local HOME DEPOT tomorrow to set this idea into use.. thank you .. What fun it will when we can have fresh orangic veggies all year long.. FYI we are making a move to the coast and will live there full time.. the deer are everywhere so this green house is a blessing if you want to grow your own..I cant wait to show my brother this idea ….


4 Kimberley Fradette January 30, 2013 at 10:10 am

Do you have floor plans for the idea of this green house that your able to share ?


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