Showing posts with label glass greenhouse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label glass greenhouse. Show all posts

Home-made, Big, Low Cost Glass Greenhouse from Free Recuperated Windows Part 1

Over the next few weeks I will be involved in several projects using recuperated glass windows and doors and I thought I'd start by taking a retrospective look at the greenhouse I designed and made 5 years ago. 


Several of you have commented on this greenhouse, which has been shown in various films and blogs. Sadly, when I designed and made it, we did not have a digital camera with which to take detailed step-by-step photographs. Therefore, I am taking this opportunity, whilst it is being restocked with Spring plantings, to take some shots of the fabric of the interior for a detailed explanation of the design and construction. This will form Part Two of this post. In the next few weeks, I will also be giving a hand to my neighbours, who are in the process of constructing a large lean-to, verandah-type greenhouse, so there will be another design, both in film and blog form to share. 


What, where and how to get supplies


Unfortunately for the good of the Planet and paradoxically fortunately for us, there seems to be an unlimited supply of virtually brand new, as well as interesting and beautiful old,  glass doors and windows. To judge by the veritable mountains outside joiners and carpenters businesses en route to landfill, many people change their windows as often as others might paint the frames. Over the years we have collected dozens of examples, including, in the UK some very pretty leaded lights. These latter turn up in architectural salvage yards or 'junk' shops, with the very best examples finding their way into auction rooms and antique shops. In a greenhouse or house these can be used to great effect. 


For a supply of general glass windows and doors though, there is nothing like your local joiner's shop or doubleglazers. I made contact with the owner of our local one, having seen a huge pile of useable material in his yard and he was delighted we wanted to take it away and make use of it. We also sent him photographs and film links for everything we made and when we were looking for a front door for the house, he even carefully got us a door with the doorframe and keys intact! As a matter of fact over the past five years, from just this one source, we and our friends have glazed two entire houses (one of them completely doubleglazed) and built several greenhouses.


Stand alone greenhouse - the basic design criteria




The idea for the greenhouse was to have something that was both decorative and practical. In particular as it was going to form the centrepiece for the flower garden. We wanted plenty of height both for aesthetics and because we intended to grow many climbing vegetables and flowers and also to incorporate our solar shower.







We had been collecting suitable materials for some time and in all we used 24 windows/French windows of various ages and designs but which overall seemed to fit pleasingly together. The sides and the back were to be made of windows set on pallet wood walls, similar in design to those of the hen house. On each side there was also to be guttering for the collection and harvest of rainwater.








The front was designed to incorporate a matching set of old French windows and glazed panels with the addition of a panel of leaded lights incorporated into the gable end. The French windows and the door on the rear elevation were both of the same height and these together set the height for the greenhouse.








It's all in the planning


There are two ways to go when designing a glass greenhouse, you can either plan it around available materials or you can plan it first and then search for the windows to fit. We actually were lucky, in that five years ago PVC mania hit our part of the coast and we had a plethora of great windows to choose from. In effect, the whole design was built up around the French windows, matching panels and leaded light, which were really elegant when placed together. The planning of the design was in fact the most difficult part of the whole operation, in that the location of the windows had to match the desired length for each side. Furthermore, any difference in window height had to be accounted for in the construction of the pallet wood walls to ensure that the overall height was respected. In conclusion though, we were left with a unique bespoke greenhouse which would have cost us several thousands of Euros.

Here is the film we made about this greenhouse, showing both exterior and interior views and giving some initial pointers to the design. See you in Part Two


Thanks for dropping by and please feel free to share this article, comment, ask questions and if you'd like to be assured of getting the next post, then sign up to follow this blog.


All the best, Andy

© Andy Colley 2014

A Few Guidelines for Collecting Pallets

After reading some of the comments on my videos and Flickr, I thought it might be helpful if I shared my five rules to make it easier for you to obtain the basic materials for these or any other projects you may have in hand.

Five Simple Rules


  

My first big pallet project was also a gift - a Birthday Present!

Firstly, and most importantly, I only ever take pallets which are of untreated wood - any signs of discolouration due to paint or chemical treatment render them unsuitable.

Secondly, I always ask if I may have the pallets - this obviously is when the pallet is on the premises of an enterprise or site.

Thirdly, if you do take pallets from a site - leave the area better than you found it. Apart from being courteous, you may want to come back for more and should leave the impression that recyclers  ought to be welcomed. More often than not, after your first couple of visits, the proprietor or foreman will tell you to take the pallets without needing to ask. In my experience, from then on the company will often start saving and putting out pallets specifically for you.

Fourthly, safety - wear thick gloves, as pallet wood is sawn and splinters are a pain. Often pallets are discarded because they are broken (by mishandling with forktruck forks or rough handling) this may expose nail points and sharp pieces of broken timber to unprotected pinkies. Also watch out for mis-nailed pieces, where the staples or nails have not been driven straight into the wood and the points stick out from the pallet sides. Building and construction sites are often great for heavy duty untreated pallet wood, it may be well worth investing a couple of euros/dollars/pounds etc., to get yourself equipped with a hard hat, often required for access to a site.

Fifthly, transport - it goes without saying that to bring your booty home ensure that your pallets are properly loaded into or onto your car or trailer and that the properly secured load can not affect you or other road users.



Recycled window and pallet wood window box.

Remember, you are often doing these businesses a favour in taking away rubbish from their forecourt or carparks. Many realise this is so and welcome your visit. With the recuperated windows and doors used in our house and in the construction of the large Greenhouse, the source was a joinery firm - now specialising in replacement double glazing. The Enlightened Proprietor welcomed us with opened arms, as people willing to give a second life to perfectly sound single and double glazed units, which would otherwise have been burned!


Our Poultry are obsessed with DIY and FOOD!

Here is an example of a reasonably easy but professional looking project for reusing pallet wood.



There are also further details on this design and more information within this blog: http://thegreenlever.blogspot.fr/2011/11/is-for-apple-house-diy-green-gifts.html

All the best and thanks for dropping by.

Cheers, Andy

© Andy Colley 2014