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How to build an indoor garden or greenhouse

By: Karine Dutemple

How to build an indoor garden or greenhouse

By: Karine Dutemple

Green renovationRenovation tipsHow to build an indoor garden or greenhouse

Not every home is privy to a huge backyard with ample green space. Some of us live in tiny homes or high rise apartments. If your home is far from the ground, but you find your green thumb itching, then you can create a mini garden or greenhouse right indoors! 

With our indoor garden and greenhouse ideas, you will be able to grow anything your heart desires without worrying about weather conditions, space or distance. 

Of course, there are still some guidelines you’ll have to follow for your plants to be healthy and grow successfully. But don't worry, we're going to lay them all out. So, if your home or apartment needs some green energy, roll up your sleeves and be prepared to pot a few plants and get dirty!

Here’s how to build an indoor garden or greenhouse!



source: Pixabay

Before beginning this project, there are a few things that go into the planning stages. First, choose a spot in your home where the garden will be located. It is important to bear in mind that it should be placed in a spot where it can be relatively permanent. Plants are creatures of habit, so if moved around too frequently, you run the risk of their lives being shortened.

Also, worth considering is the purpose of your greenhouse. If you plan to maintain your greenhouse for summer only, then think about building a structure that can be assembled and disassembled easily. If you’d like the structure to be permanent and your goal is to keep a healthy, year-round garden, then it would be worth creating a more complex mini-greenhouse which will allow you to organize plants per-season. 

A home garden or greenhouse can be made from several varied materials or structures, and the one you choose will all depend on what results you are hoping for!

Potted plants on a shelf

source: Pixabay

Wood planter box or greenhouse for an indoor garden?

Wood can be used to build a horizontal planter box garden or with the addition of a roof on a greenhouse! You can build a simple wood planter box to hang alongside your window or rest on the floor or a small greenhouse structure with wood purchased at your local hardware store.

Form the main body of the planter box or greenhouse by aligning a larger frame built from wood with a smaller one. Build these in advance or purchase pre-made frames. The size of the frames will be dependant on how large a structure you want to build, as well as the intended shape. Using a drill, pierce small holes through the inside edges of the frames to connect them, and connect the two frames with a screw the correct size.

Continue to join the frames until you have built a rectangle or square, leaving the top open. If you are building a greenhouse, you can create a roof by building four wood frames and joining them to form a triangle. You will need to attach a hinge to the top to be able to open and close the roof to water the plants inside. Constructing the roof on the ground, place two of the frames side by side. If these frames are rectangles, the short ends should be touching.

Join these together by screwing 2 mending plates at each end of the joint edges. Consider drilling pilot holes first to make this easier, and repeat this process for the other two frames. Next, join the smaller frame structures by placing them at a 90-degree angle, and screwing in a 90-degree angle brace.

You can join the roof onto the structure by attaching 2 utility hinges, and this will need to be placed along the edges. If you plan on painting the frames, make sure you are using wood-safe as well as water-soluble paint. You can fill in the frames using plastic or glass, depending on how permanent you would like the structure to be. Make sure to seal all the edges using hot glue, and voila! Bear in mind that the bottom of the structure should be lined with breathable mesh or cloth before you start placing plants inside. 

PVC Pipe Greenhouse

You can create an indoor garden using PVC pipes and their corresponding joints! Since you will be choosing the size and shape of your greenhouse or garden, the number and lengths of piping you will need will be your call! Start by measuring the dimensions as this will allow you to determine the amount of pipe the project will require.

Give your greenhouse stability and strength by building it in 2 separate pieces, and connecting them. Also, it is recommended that you use a relatively thin PVC pipe, no more than 1.5” wide or thinner. Now, you can begin by forming the base and walls of your structure, connected sections of pipes into frames. Connect vertical pipes to horizontal pipe sections, which should be done using T pipe joints. Next, form the corners by connecting T-joints to elbow joints using a very small section of pipe.

When complete, the base of your structure should be a rectangle or square, with posts coming out from the T-joints. If you are building a roof, this is when you will connect the wall pipes to those you are going to use to build a roof. The roof should not be flat, as this will diminish the amount of light that can enter the greenhouse. 

Start building the roof by creating a piece of PVC pipe that is identical to one of the long sides of the base. If your structure is square, this PVC piece can mimic the size of any of the sides.

Pieces should be connected to this piece using four-way joints at the same intervals as the location of the wall posts. However, the ends will be capped in T-joints. From these T-joints, you will need to place short sections of pipes and cap these in 45-degree joints. Next, place 45-degree joints at the top of each wall post. Measure how much pipe is required to join these joints to the roof structure.

Cut this pipe and fit it into place! Now, you’re all set for adding in plants. Line the base structure with plastic or breathable cloth, placing as many plants as your heart desires. 

Indoor vertical gardens


source: Pixabay

In smaller homes or apartments, you may have even less space and lack the room on your floor for a planter box or mini greenhouse. An excellent option for those in this situation is a vertical garden! A vertical garden is a simple DIY project that you can accomplish, no matter how novice of a builder you might be. A vertical garden can be created out of a variety of methods and materials, and we are going to outline a few here. 

A steel mesh wall garden is a beautiful option, as this material can be found at your local garden store and is inexpensive.  Steel mesh comes in a variety of colours and sizes, and so this choice is versatile.

Install a piece of steel rack or mesh to your wall or on an alternative flat surface. The hanging method will depend on the materials of your wall, so bear this in mind when buying your supplies to secure the structure in place. Hang pre-prepared pots that have been thoroughly watered, attaching them to the mesh structure with rings and hooks that secure them in place. You can mix and match different pots, plants, shapes and sizes!

Another option by way of a vertical garden is hanging the plants from a garment or clothing rack, using some sturdy chains or ropes that can be attached to a traditional hanging plant. Consider attaching a sheet of cloth or mesh to the bottom of the rack to catch any falling water or dead leaves.

You can also create a vertical plant hanger using scrap wood, small pots, ropes and metal rings. Measure and trace the top of the pots you plan to choose onto the salvaged wood pieces, then draw another circle that is ¼” smaller inside this circle, leaving a 1” border on the sides. Cut out these sections with a jigsaw blade, cutting around the circle until the piece pops out.

Your pots should fit snuggly inside the wood squares. Sand wood down to remove any splinters, painting or staining them however you like. Though, it is recommended that you use water-soluble paint. Drill a hole into each corner of the wood pieces, and thread rope through the holes. Tie a knot in each rope underneath the wood to hold it in place. Repeat this process for several pieces, leaving about 10” to 12” of rope in between. Adjust as needed. 

Creating an indoor greenhouse or garden doesn't have to be stifling! Use your imagination, get creative and bring a little bit of the great outdoors in!

Main photo: Miserv

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Last modified 2022-09-12

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Therefore, very big structures can be built, showcasing various shapes, from curves to arcs. A structure built using this type of framing is widely open and aesthetic, courtesy of the lack of need for additional structural support beams. 5. Especially lightweight Glulams are of proportional weight, making them 5 times lighter than a standard lumber beam, yet they maintain equal strength. Are you looking for a general contractor for your renovation project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! The Four Cons of Glued-Laminated Timber 1. Steeper prices The cost of glulams has to be put into perspective based on available resources. In regions like Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia, where wood is readily accessible, glulam tends to be less expensive than in countries (or regions) with limited forested areas. Regardless of the situation, glued-laminated timber will always be more costly than traditional solid lumber, due to its processing and transformation. 2. Differing qualities The quality of glulam timber largely depends on the method used during its manufacturing process. This is very closely related to the adhesive used to bond the slats together. If the pressure, humidity, and temperature conditions aren’t met, the strength of a glulam beam won’t be consistent. However, standards meticulously monitor the manufacturing process of such materials. As seen with CSA 086 standard, which distinguishes 4 glulam timber grades: 20f-E; 20f-EX; 24f-E; 24f-EX. The accompanying E and EX labels serve as the beams’ positional indicators, meaning either symmetrical to the neutral axis (EX) or asymmetrical (E). The glulam is then graded as “generic” or “proprietary.” Beware of the latter. Proprietary glulam doesn’t meet CSA 086 standard but has similar characteristics. To ensure this fact, the Canadian Construction Materials Centre (CCMC) is responsible for approving their efficiency. In Quebec, generic glulam is manufactured by Goodfellow and Art Massif. 3. Integrity compromised by splitting Above all else, this is a problem inherent to large-scale structures. Although glulam has fewer joints than commonly-used materials, it’s made weaker by steel joints. Therefore, its integrity is comprised, typically resulting in the beams’ ends splitting where the tension forces are transversal to the wood grain. The ductility (the degree to which the material can sustain deformation) and its load-bearing ability are diminished. However, solutions have been developed: self-tapping screws; steel tubes; struts; braces; diagonal bracing. Ongoing research is contributing to the further development of joints maintaining the load-bearing capacity of glulams, especially when it comes to better strength distribution between the upper and lower angles of beams and columns. 4. Vulnerable to water exposure Amongst its numerous merits, we highlighted glulam timber’s resistance to humidity. While it sure can resist it, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it reacts positively to it. Consequently, damage caused by water infiltration can result in: rotting; biotic decomposition. The second factor correlates with the proliferation of mould, moss, etc., which damages glulams in a similar fashion as it does solid lumber. Stability and Homogeneity of Glulam Timber Beams Source: Canva Since the slats are assembled in pieces using adhesives, it means that tall trees aren’t necessarily required. As a result, glulams aren’t as prone to knotting, which is something that typically develops over time. Therefore, glued-laminated timber exhibits greater resilience compared to solid lumber due to its exceptional homogeneity. The dimensional stability of a glulam beam is also superior to that of a solid lumber beam. This is attributed to the drying process it undergoes. In fact, each wood slat is individually dried before adhesives are applied.

4 min read 03 Aug 2023

The Benefits and Uses of Recycled Concrete

Did you know that concrete could be recycled? Well, yes siree Bob! Concrete recycling is a technique used to salvage concrete waste. It’s an alternative to disposing of it in landfills that happens to be both cost-effective and eco-friendly. So, let’s zero in on concrete recycling, a practice that’s still, to this day, little known in Canada. Recycled Concrete: What Is it Exactly? Source: Canva Globally speaking, concrete is one of the most exploited materials due to its notable strength and its use in almost all infrastructures. However, its environmental impact is highly criticized. The Global Concrete and Cement Association (GCCA) states that said material is responsible for 7% of the planet’s CO2 emissions. Luckily, concrete’s environmental impact can be reduced by recycling it instead of letting it go to waste. As such, a whole series of techniques are used, thereby salvaging inert materials produced by concrete. In other words, concrete is recycled and reused on new worksites. Recycled concrete offers to same properties as traditional concrete. It’s just as resistant, easy to work, as well as viscous enough. In terms of quality, it doesn’t fall short of natural concrete aggregate. However, note that recycled concrete is limited to a few fields of use, and can’t be used on all worksites. It can be used on construction projects requiring a tensile strength of C30/37. Concrete grades with a lower tensile strength may be used during freeze cycles. There are two types of recycled concrete: Concrete issued from construction waste This includes waste from precast plants or ready-to-use concrete. The waste in this category comes in a variety of configurations: fresh concrete waste, cured concrete waste, leftover manufacturing waste, or worksite scraps. It can either make its way back to precast plants (as it’s done with fresh concrete) or be salvaged in crushing screening plants. Concrete issued from demolition waste Here too, concrete residue is recycled in crushing screening plants. The thin part of concrete is typically used to manufacture binders. The recycling process can result in new aggregates that can be used to manufacture new concrete. And, as a matter of fact, said aggregates may be employed to replace naturally occurring gravel and sand. How Is Recycled Concrete Made? Source: Canva Salvaging concrete waste is a process that’s relatively simple and done in 3 basic steps: 1st step: Sorting The first step, prior to recycling concrete, is to proceed by sorting the concrete waste to separate it from other materials. This is done with a special type of sifter found in a wheel loader’s bucket to sort concrete residue from other waste materials (pieces of wood, metal bars, or plastic films). Note: Sorting materials is a crucial step in concrete recycling. It’s done on two levels: first during the deconstruction of infrastructures, then when the resulting residue is sorted in crushing plants. 2nd step: Crushing After the residue is sorted, next comes the recycling stage, which is the crushing part of it. The materials are first lightly ground with a hydraulic chisel. Then, the pieces are reduced to smaller fragments in a crusher, to obtain a grain size of 60 millimetres. Next up is the screening step, which consists of sorting the ground materials based on their grain size. 3rd step: Dusting Lastly, the dusting phase is typically done by wet processing. And there you have, ready-to-use recycled concrete. Using Recycled Aggregates or Crushed Concrete Source: Canva Recycled concrete can be used for many different purposes in the construction industry. In fact, it can be used to: build roadway foundations; build sidewalks; backfill pipe trenches; manufacture recycled concrete aggregates; make landscaping construction materials; rubblize concrete, which consists of converting old concrete to make a base course; manufacture pavers, pots, benches, etc. Recycled concrete can help minimize rainwater runoff. What Are the Advantages of Recycled Concrete? Even though recycled concrete is an uncommon practice in Canada, criticized by some, it’s still an alternative to disposing of it in landfills, and it has numerous benefits: Reduces the use of natural resources (concrete) by close to 30%: This is a massive advantage when recognizing that enormous amounts of aggregates are used every year. Preserve the environment: Reduces mineral waste, mining, and industrial activities linked to the manufacturing of traditional concrete. Reduces transportation costs: Concrete recycling centres are usually located in urban areas near construction zones. Significant time-saver: Recycled concrete can be made and used rather quickly, which significantly reduces construction timelines. How to Standardize the Use of Recycled Concrete Recycled concrete is a material with beneficial properties for the construction industry, but it remains relatively underutilized due to preconceptions. To standardize and further promote its use, the Province of Quebec could consider implementing regulations that mandate the use of concrete made from salvaged aggregates for constructing public buildings, similar to practices in other countries such as Switzerland.

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