February 17, 2010

Converting a Shed into a Greenhouse

Spring is just around the corner and it's time to think about getting those seedlings going. While a greenhouse shed is a great place to get the jump on the season, there isn't always room in the backyard for a brand new structure. Why start from scratch when you can make use of an existing shed?

Carrie wrote:

I am preparing to convert my basic 8'x10' cedar shed into a shed/greenhouse, using several old wood frame leaded windows. The plan is to maintain cedar siding on the bottom half, and frames around the top half for my windows. The windows will be on hinges so that I can push the bottoms out and prop them open. Have you seen any pictures of or plans for something similar? My plan is to use plexi on the roof, or a combo of plexi with the cedar shake. Thank you!

I'm trying to picture the shed in my head ... guessing that it's a conventional gable design. In my mind's eye, that cedar shake looks pretty cool ...

It can be tough to find exactly what you need. You'll likely adapt a bit of this and a bit of that. Think it out and scribble down your ideas. If you want to go whole hog, build a scale mockup out of cardboard before you start cutting any wood.

My greenhouse shed has a south facing roof that uses three 48" (or so) wide plexiglass sheets, held down by improvised battens. I took a look at the original plans and winged it, simply setting the plexi on black window tape. Needless to say, it was dramatically under-engineered and has been in need of attention for a few years. One of the panels had the tendency to slide over the course of the summer, allowing a gap at the top of the window. I fixed the slippery panel by adding an additional piece of wood to the framing.

Plexi isn't as scary to work with as real glass, but it can crack quickly if you stress it the wrong way. I cracked one of the panes in my greenhouse shed during the building process, but never had the cash to replace the cracked panel. Amazingly, it's held together for more than a decade.

If you can have the glass shop trim your plexi to size - rather than cut it yourself on site - you'll make your life a bit easier. Just remember the old adage, "measure twice, cut once," as plexi is expensive stuff and mistakes can be costly.

Posted by geekbooks at February 17, 2010 09:50 PM


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