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Homemade Greenhouse Ideas – DIY Greenhouses, Cold Frames and Terrariums

These homemade greenhouse ideas make use of recycled household materials in a fun new way.  Extend your growing season with one of these creative ideas for DIY greenhouses, cold frames and terrariums.

Homemade Greenhouse Ideas - Make one today!

When I tour Botanical gardens around the USA, the ones that appeal to me most are those that have greenhouses as part of the gardens.

I’ve been trying to get my husband to build me a greenhouse in our back yard for years, but it seems that this is one project that just gets put on the back burner indefinitely. 

Since I haven’t seen signs that this project will happen any time soon, I thought I would see what other homemade greenhouse ideas were available.

Using recycled materials in projects appeals to me and many of these DIY greenhouses do just that. They are also a help in steps we can take to protect the environment in small ways.

Why have a greenhouse?

One of the many things that I love most about greenhouses is that they are both pretty and practical. Greenhouses are equally at home in a small backyard or in a sprawling English cottage garden.

The purpose of a greenhouse is to protect plants from excess cold or heat and to keep away unwanted pests. A greenhouse makes it possible for us to garden all year round – even in the winter! 

Whether you are starting seeds for your summer vegetable garden, or propagating plants to get new ones for free, a greenhouse will be a huge helper to you.

Normal greenhouse designs are made of hardwood and glass and can be quite expensive. Here is something you might not know, though – You don’t actually need to a lot of money to own a greenhouse yourself. 

DIY greenhouses can be put together quite inexpensively if you make use of recycled common household materials.

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A greenhouse doesn't have to be a huge expenditure. Find out how to recycle common household items to make greenhouses, cold frames and terrariums at The Gardening Cook. Share on X

Types of Greenhouses

Greenhouses come in many forms. There are large upscale buildings that blend beautifully into the decor of your property and small make-shift designs with plastic tubing and siding that do the job in a more practical way.

You can put together mini greenhouses that act as a terrarium to house indoor plants or use cold frames to grow vegetable greens even in the dead of winter.

Difference between a greenhouse and a cold frame

The main difference between a cold frame and a greenhouse is that a cold frame is normally a small, simple structure that is just a few feet tall, whereas a greenhouse is a large structure that one can walk in.Greenhouse vs cold frame - two homemade greenhouse ideas

Both are designed to keep the elements from plants and prolong the growing season when the weather turns cold.

Because of their size and construction, cold frames are a more cost friendly option.

These homemade greenhouse ideas make use of recycled materials

By using old windows, reclaimed wood, discarded pallets and soda bottles, these DIY greenhouses and cold frames will help you garden inexpensively all year long.

Don’t let the cold weather stop you from gardening. Try one of these creative ideas to extend your season, even during winter.

Homemade Greenhouse Ideas

Make use of recycled materials in creative and exciting ways with these DIY greenhouses. From mini indoor designs to those suitable for the weather outside, there is a do it yourself greenhouse for all tastes.

You will find plans for full sized greenhouses, mini indoor terrariums and cold frames to house your plants in winter when it's too cold to garden.

Read on to discover how to make a greenhouse from recycled materials.

As you can see from these homemade greenhouse ideas, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to make your garden grow in the colder months!

Pin these homemade greenhouse ideas for later

Would you like a reminder of these DIY greenhouses, cold frames and terrariums? Just pin this image to one of your gardening boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.Homemade greenhouse ideas plus DIY cold frames and terrariums

Admin note: This post on homemade greenhouse ideas first appeared on the blog in April of 2013. I have updated the post to add new DIY greenhouses, new photos and more information on using recycled materials in greenhouses and cold frames.

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Monday 29th of August 2022

Great article but if you are male, female, single, in a partnership or married - why wait on the other to build one. We are all capable humans and if you want something bad enough - do it! I’m sure this won’t make the comments…but makes me sad.

Jack Bothwell

Friday 19th of February 2021

Fantastic article. I am in the middle of building a cold frame greenhouse out of used double pane windows and used pressure treated lumber

Carol Speake

Friday 19th of February 2021

I've been trying to get my husband to build one of those for years!

ally johnson

Wednesday 22nd of July 2020

I've made many greenhouses over the years, and the last several were made with most of the materials "rescued" from the discard piles at the street curb.

Carol Speake

Wednesday 22nd of July 2020

Normally the problem is that monkey grass takes over, rather than it being slow to grow. I can't diagnose problems in a yard without seeing the yard in person, but it could be the clay soil. Some compost added to the soil might help to make it drain better.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."