Build a Backyard Greenhouse

Tend to your plants and seedlings in your own DIY greenhouse.

What better way to enjoy the weather than tending to plants in your very own backyard greenhouse? We talked to Jenna Kinghorn and her husband, Iain, an East Providence couple who built a greenhouse in their backyard using reclaimed materials including chippy white windows and an antique door.

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Planning a Greenhouse 

Supplies You’ll Need:

  • Lumber
  • Windows (reclaimed ones in various sizes)
  • Door and hardware
  • Clear corrugated sheets (for the roof) 
  • Decking screws
  • Cement footers
  • Pea gravel
  • Paint
  • Circular saw
  • Drill 

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How To: 

Step 1

Use your windows to map out and create your building plan. This is how you will figure out length, width and height of the structure. Basic construction knowledge is helpful when building this structure.

Step 2 

Dig holes for each of your footers and ensure that they are below the frost line. Then, insert your six-by-six posts and level. These are your corner braces for the greenhouse.

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Step 3 

Frame out your walls so that they are attached to each corner brace. Once the framing for your walls are in place, install your windows. 

Step 4 

Next, build a frame for the roof and attach the clear corrugated panels. Raise the roof on top of greenhouse and attach it to the main structure. 

Step 5

Lastly, install the door and attach the hardware of your choosing.

FYI: Always double check with your town to see if you need a permit prior to building! 


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Q&A with Jenna Kinghorn

What made you want to build your own greenhouse?  

I saw some people that I follow on Instagram were building their own greenhouses, and since I couldn’t have a chicken coop—East Providence doesn’t allow them—a garden shed was the next best thing. I wanted to use all recycled materials, so we used the lumber from our deck that we tore out, and I found the reclaimed windows and door on Facebook Marketplace. I spent less than $150 to build it. Our design plan changed about five times during the build until we came up with the end results. Each change just made it better!

How long did the Building Process Take? 

It took about three weeks to build the greenhouse. We built it during the COVID quarantine/lockdown. 

What kinds of plants do you maintain or grow in your greenhouse?  

This year I plan to use the greenhouse to start seeds. I will also grow all of my herbs in there again.

How do you keep the temperature inside the greenhouse consistent?  

I have a thermometer in the greenhouse. I also ensure a constant air flow from the door being open and the slits in the back wall. We kept the windows stationary, but you could always add hinges to tilt them open to increase air flow. I plan to install a solar-operated fan to keep the air circulating, too. 

Does the position of the greenhouse in your yard matter?  

Yes. You want to make sure the greenhouse gets full sun. Ours faces north/south, so the sun is constantly flowing through the side windows.

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Linen apron, French market basket, vintage straw hat, white chippy potting table, garden sign, coat rack, vintage baskets and wooden trays, Blanc and Bleu Home, Wood stool, the Golden Sparrow, French door signs, Spring Hill Farm 1820, Vintage sewing stand base, Riveted Woodworking and Design, Vintage industrial baker’s rack, Barn Digger, Colored pots, terra cotta pots and black urns, Ocean State Job Lot,

For more inspiration from the Kinghorns, follow @lepetitecottage on Instagram.