Garden DIY: How to Build a Greenhouse Part 1

My dream is finally coming true. It's time to build a greenhouse in the kitchen garden! Made from old windows and new wood.

Build a greenhouse, in front of a house.

It's time to build a brand-new greenhouse in my garden! I'm putting it in front of the house, with a view of the kitchen garden.


I'm building a greenhouse! It's my very first time building anything that size, from the ground up and all by myself too. This has been a dream of mine since I was twenty years old and I just couldn't wait any longer! It's time.

This project is going to be documented in a longer video, but I also wanted to write a bit about what I'm up to on the blog. Stay tuned for more updates on my greenhouse here and on Youtube!


Detailed view of how to build a greenhouse.

I haven't made anything quite like this before, but I'm excited to build a greenhouse with the old windows I've been saving for over a decade.


I'm building my greenhouse on the front yard, right next to the little pathway from the road that leads to our house. The plan was to have it frame the front of our garden, together with the fence and the raised beds I made here. A big plus is of course that it will help cover the back yard too. It's still a work in progress situation there!

This project is like I said not in any way a new idea, since I've been collecting old windows to build it for around 15 years now. I kept them on the attic previously, but I had to move them to the playhouse when we started renovating up there. The kids aren't exactly thrilled about it! But on the plus side, all of them are quite excited that it's finally time to build a greenhouse, so they can use their playhouse again.


Build a Greenhouse or Gazebo?

I don't know if I should call this place a greenhouse or a gazebo. It might just be something in between. The goal is to build a glass house with plenty of light coming through, and I want to keep potted plants here. One idea was to grow eggplants in this space. And, I want a little patio outside where my husband can relax with his coffee and a good book. It's his favorite pastime! It's my goal to include him more in my garden. This is one of the main reasons I want to build this space.

I also want to keep plenty of hanging flower baskets here, and use this spot to keep my plants in spring.

Since I'm my mother's daughter, I also dream of keeping a wood stove in here. I actually have a small one that I plan on installing when I have time. My mother has plenty of them around and loves a good fire. She even has one in her boat, that my father built.


The Ground

The ground I'm building my greenhouse on used to be a gravel road leading from the main road through the village, right past the house down to the barn. This area is very compact and it's difficult to dig here. Plus, the hill underneath is completely made up of rock.

One of the things that worry me about this project is that it's going to grow way too large. For example when it's time to start creating a solid foundation. I can't do it all on my own, neither the planning nor the physical labor within a reasonable time frame. That's why I decided to consult an expert and figured out the following plan on how I can build a greenhouse:

First, I'm building a large wooden frame that I put on the ground, and fasten joists to hold the house together. Then, I'll put earth anchors where I can right outside of the frame. These will help keep the structure stable. I can't say how many I'm going to need yet since I haven't gotten started on this part of the project yet.

I decided to use aspen for this project.


Read more: Garden DIY – Building a polytunnel


The greenhouse is going to be 13 ft (4 meters) long and around 6.5 ft (2.5 meters) wide. With a little extension on the back of the greenhouse. Why? Well because the evening sun shines down here. The plan is to make a little window that I can open inside the extension, so that I can sit here and enjoy a cup of tea while I'm making a fire in the wood stove.


Build a greenhouse, lots of beams on the greenhouse.

This is the little extension on my greenhouse where I'm planning on drinking tea and looking out on the garden in the evening sun.


Fun and Challenging!

That's kind of where I am right now! I'm putting up new beams for the roof that I'm planning on constructing later this week.

It's actually surprisingly fun to build a greenhouse!

I didn't draw up a detailed construction plan before I got started. Why? Well, since I have so little experience when it comes to building, I just didn't understand how to measure or make a detailed blueprint. It seemed like an unnecessary step that would slow me down. I'm more of a learning by doing kind of person. And it's more fun this way! So far, I haven't actually ruined any of my projects with that mentality. Not yet at least! Instead, I learn and feel more and more hopeful about the results.

This is in my opinion the first of many new building projects here in the garden. And I'm going to learn so much! The most difficult aspect of this particular task is to fit the many different-sized windows. Some are both wider and taller than others. That's why I've been feeling reluctant to make a set plan from the beginning. Instead, I think that changing it up as I go is more my style.


Doing it Myself

Some of you who follow me on Instagram have seen a few pictures of my process, and I noticed that a few of you seem to think that I'm just building a sort of cardhouse-like structure without any planning involved at all. Of course, that's not true. I might not be an expert when it comes to these things, and my greenhouse might not be the prettiest house out there. But I did make sure to find out everything I need to build it properly. And most importantly, I love doing it myself rather than just sitting there waiting for someone else to fix it for me. Or, worry about that I'm not good enough to do it either for that matter.

I'm going to post more information about the materials and my progress later. I hope this article can inspire you to build a greenhouse too!
/Sara Bäckmo

21. September 2020

4 responses to “Garden DIY: How to Build a Greenhouse Part 1”

  1. Susan Lewis says:

    I think that your greenhouse is just beautiful! I applaud your verve and ingenuity to get this long-awaited project completed! Inspirational!

  2. Laura Kramer says:

    I love it! I think it will be charming with the salvaged windows of different sizes. Much more challenging but will have so much character in the end. ❤️🌱

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