I’ve been making the most of the sunshine to finish off a greenhouse at our new house. If the design looks a bit different it’s because we managed to get our hands on an old but very high quality conservatory a few months ago, and rejigged the design into a greenhouse. Although we couldn’t take the hardwood frame as it was just too difficult to dismantle, we did get the windows, double glazing and roof sheets! All for free (well except hiring a big van and driving 3 hours to pick it up).

My wife and I designed the new greenhouse by arranging the windows and doors we had and then I set about planning the frame. The frame was all made from Scottish grown larch from a nearby sawmill. This durable wood needs no treatment and chemically treated wood is really something to avoid where you’re growing food!

I made use of an existing dry stone retaining wall for the design. This saved on materials but also by building it into the hill the stones and earth will absorb the heat of the sun and release it slowly in the evening and night time – a useful boost this far north.

The darkened triple wall roof glazing wouldn’t have been my choice, but it will stop the greenhouse getting too hot in the midday sun.

Another feature I managed to keep from the old conservatory is that the large triangular windows actually pivot open inwards, so with one at each end this will give good ventilation.

It’s great to be recycling something that was destined for landfill (unbelievably!) and this greenhouse has cost us less than £300 and will last a long time, far longer than any plastic polytunnel. Giving it a coat of white woodstain was purely aesthetic as larch is quite happy without any coating. But I think white completes the kind of Victorian orangerie look we have inadvertently ended up with!

We even managed to keep some extra windows for a planned hut project in the woods on our croft!

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