Do you want to bring nature into your home, even in winter, and even if you live in a highly urbanized environment? Then you should think about installing a greenhouse or garden window. These mini-greenhouses are built into your window space, so you can grow your favorite flowers and herbs indoors all year round.
Greenhouse windows are designed to extend outwards from the wall, so they can accommodate shelving for plants. They are similar in design to bay windows, in that they form a three-dimensional extra space in the room instead of being flush with the wall.
Greenhouse windows are a little more complex to install than simple double-hung or casement windows, but they are generally not as expensive as bay or bow windows. Most people install indoor greenhouses as kitchen windows, but they can fit anywhere in the home you want.
These vintage, classic-style windows are great for both traditional and modern homes, and they brighten up your space while also adding value to your home.
Types of Greenhouse Windows
These windows are sometimes referred to as “window-mounted greenhouses”. Most greenhouse windows are used for growing plants or vegetables, but some homeowners use them to display ornaments or store kitchen accessories.
Greenhouse or garden windows are made by combining various window sashes into a boxy shape, allowing sunlight to enter from a 180-degree angle. They generally come in two main shapes – vertical windows for narrow openings, and horizontal windows for larger spaces.
The two main types of greenhouse windows are awning windows and casement windows.
Awning greenhouse windows are hinged at the top. They can swing outwards or inwards, and open from the bottom. This makes them a convenient type of window to install over a kitchen sink or counter.
Casement greenhouse windows are hinged at the sides and should open outward. Inward-opening windows won’t work with garden windows that contain plants or knick-knacks.
Some greenhouse windows are made with static panes that can’t be opened. If you want a leak-proof window that won’t let heat or cool air in or out, these are ideal – and cheaper, too. However, most homeowners want the choice of opening the window for ventilation.
What Materials are Best for Garden Windows?
Garden windows are more exposed to the elements than flat windows. They get UV rays, rain, and wind from three sides when closed – and more so when opened. Weathering is an important factor to consider when choosing material for your windows.
Vinyl frames are the most common and inexpensive option for greenhouse windows. They’re very durable, easy to clean with soap and water, and energy-efficient.
Vinyl frames don’t add as much cachet to your home as wooden window frames do. However, these windows are a long-lasting, low-maintenance choice that suits most homeowners.
Aluminum frames are low-maintenance, but they don’t offer good insulation. Condensation often builds up between glass panes that have this type of frame, and they let heat and cold in and out. Not great for winter!
While they can be a perfectly good choice for an actual greenhouse that doesn’t need perfect insulation, they’re not recommended for greenhouse window frames.
Wooden frames provide great insulation, which helps to lower your energy bills. You can paint or stain wood in any color you want, but it will need to be maintained and repainted every 5 years or so. Untreated wood can warp and splinter and is susceptible to insect damage.
Wooden windows are the most expensive choice, but they have traditional appeal and add value to your home.
Greenhouse Window Costs
Greenhouse windows have become a popular DIY project with homeowners. If you have the skills and are confident you can undertake a window installation, you can save considerably on costs.
However, don’t be fooled by all the “how-to” YouTube videos. Installing greenhouse windows – in fact, ANY windows – can be tricky. If they’re not perfectly fitted and sealed, air will leak in and out, and your utility bills could skyrocket. The window space is also at risk of dampness and mold.
Saving dollars on materials and labor might be tempting, but you could end up paying way more than you save in the long run.
The average price range for a garden window with glass panels and frames (not including installation) starts at about $500 and can go over $2,000 – depending on factors such as materials, size, and features.
Here is an at-a-glance overview of costs for greenhouse windows of various sizes.
|24″ x 30″
|$500 – $1,370
|30″ x 30″
|$700 – $1,480
|36″ x 36″
|$875 – $1,500
|36″ x 48″
|$900 – $1,600
|40″ x 26″
|$1,000 – $2,600
|48″ x 48″
|$1,050 – $3,200
Labor costs for greenhouse window installations range from $300 to $1,000.
*The abovementioned costs are based on national averages. Always compare estimates from professionals in your area for a more accurate estimate of how much your installation will be.
Many homeowners crave a full-sized greenhouse, to grow plants all year round while being protected from the elements. However, not everyone has the space for a greenhouse, and they can be expensive.
Greenhouse windows are a great low-budget alternative if you want to let some nature into your home. Of course, you don’t have to keep plants in these spaces – they can be used for décor elements as well, or just for extra space in a smaller room. They are a great-looking feature for pretty much any home.