Hi friends! Who out there is preparing for their summer gardens? We are so excited for this growing season! In this post we will be sharing a tour of our greenhouse made from recycled materials. There is nothing like having a greenhouse to start your own seeds for the garden or flower beds. We hope it inspires you to consider building your own greenhouse from recycled materials!
Sourcing Recycled Materials
With the way things are currently going in our economy, building materials are very expensive. Try sourcing lumber and windows from building sites, dumps, or renovation projects. Habitat for Humanity is also a wonderful resource for finding recycled building materials. Click here to find your nearest Habitat for Humanity store location.
Do you know someone that is a collector? You know, that person in your life that never gets rid of anything? The person that keeps a pile of stuff because they “might be able to use that someday”? Enter my dad! It has always been a running joke that my dad keeps too much junk. But I had to eat my words for this project! He really did have so much old building materials for us to use for this greenhouse project.
If you don’t have one of these people in your life, I encourage you to find one. And don’t be afraid to ask people if they would be willing to part with any of their old stuff. I recently saw a barn being torn down locally. If I had needed the 2X4s, I totally would have stopped to ask if we could have some of the gables of the roof. There was some decent lumber there! For more ideas on how to get free stuff, click here.
Isn’t the door so pretty? The door came from my dad’s garage. I have no idea where he got it from, but I love it. I especially love the chippy paint and the little Christmas wreaths. The door knob is rusted hard, so it’s not usable. We simply added a little metal lock to keep the door shut! With some new hinges, this old door was pretty much as good as new. It’s like the crown of the greenhouse! Why not use a similar antique door for your new greenhouse?
The floor of the greenhouse was sourced from a local church. The church had had a wooden walking path that they tore out and they needed to get rid of the wood. Again, enter my father. He took his truck over and picked up a huge load of the wooden planks. They were just the right size and we were able to use them as the floor of the greenhouse.
The countertops in the greenhouse were made simply from some boards that were laying around in our garage. After measuring and cutting the boards to size, we spread the two planks apart by about 1 1/2 inches so that there is a gap between them. We wanted to be able to have the water flow through the two boards, instead of sitting on them and possibly making them rot. I also painted the boards with two coats of all-weather/water-proofing paint to reassure that, again, the wood does not rot from all of the watering that goes on in the greenhouse.
All of the shelving on the walls is made from old closet shelves. My boss had them all sitting by the road for the trash man, and I simply threw them in my car and took them home! And, of course, he was happy I was able to make good use of them. Some of the shelves needed to be cut down a bit because they were too long, so I used metal cutters to cut them to size.
Part of my dilemma was how was I supposed to secure the closet shelves to the wall? My solution? L braces, zip ties, and eyelet screws. After purchasing some L braces from Lowe’s, I screwed those into the studs of the walls and then set the shelves on the braces. From there, we just used zip ties to secure the shelves onto the L braces. To reinforce the shelves, we also screwed in some eyelet screws to the studs, and then zip tied the shelves to the eyelet screws. It worked like a charm and we haven’t had any issues with the shelves shifting or moving.
Old closet shelves are perfect for the greenhouse because they provide a way for the water to flow through them without it sitting on any surface. They are also protected with a sort of white plastic-type paint that keeps them from rusting. How perfect as that?
The windows we used for the greenhouse were more treasures from one of my dad’s old jobs. They are about 3’X4′, with a metal frame. We were able to simply add some good, sturdy hinges to the tops of the windows, and then secure them into place. The window frames are made from disassembled wooden pallets. The cool thing about hinging them at the top is that we can prop the windows open for ventilation. Greenhouses can get intensely hot at times, so to be able to open the windows to get some airflow is important.
Because the windows are not secured shut and can move with the breeze, I needed a solution to minimize the airflow around the edges (especially for when it is still cool at night). My solution was some rubber lining that I found at Lowe’s. It was easy to measure, cut, and staple around the inside edges of the window. When the windows are wedged shut, they are now flush with the frame and rubber lining, which has significantly minimized airflow around the edges of the windows.
Large bags of soil can take up a lot of space! My dad came up with an idea to put a box in one of the corners of the greenhouse to hold potting soil. It has been such a nice feature! Now we can easily take a scoop of soil and pot plants, or do seed transplanting. The soil box is made from old red barn siding. Isn’t that unique?!
The gables of the roof are secured with recycled pieces of plywood and old nails that, again, my dad had. Each seam between the boards is secured nicely with these recycled pieces. They aren’t perfect, but they work just fine!
In order to keep the shovels, rakes, and hoes out of the way, we made a little corner “nook” for them to sit in. It’s kind of like a little broom closet for the garden tools. It’s so nice because it keeps those things out of the way so you’re not tripping over them all of the time. Again, all recycled wood was used!
There is a section of Lowe’s where they have “discounted” lumber. These pieces are maybe not perfectly straight, a bit warped, full of knots, etc. All of the lumber that we had to actually buy for this project were from this discount section at Lowe’s. The rest was all from my dad’s “junk” pile. Do you see why it’s important to have a friend or relative that is a “collector” yet?
The corrugated siding was our one “splurge” on the greenhouse project. Reminder- being frugal does not mean being cheap. Often it is worth saving up and spending a little more on something that is going to last. That is the case with the clear corrugated plastic siding that we purchased for the greenhouse. It was an investment that we knew would last for a long time. Alternatively, if you do not have the money for this siding, you can totally use visqueen or rolls of plastic sheeting. There are some pretty sturdy options that will definitely help you save money.
Make Your Own Greenhouse Made From Recycled Materials
We hope this inspires you to think about building your own greenhouse from recycled materials! Not only has it been such a useful and practical structure, I think it adds such a pretty touch to our little garden. Happy gardening, friends!
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