The Q&A Archives: Greenhouse Design

Question: I am currently remodeling my duplex and want to incorporate a large greenhouse window in the plan--perhaps glass block with shelving. I have the option of placing the window on any of the four exterior walls--north, south, east or west. My current design would choose the south as the best but since the remodeling will be extensive proper planning would allow any of the walls to be used. Do you have any suggestions for making the most of this project? I'd like the window for displaying a large houseplant collection--including both foliage and flowering varieties. The window will include rods so that curtains could be hung for warmth or light filtering.

Answer: On first thought, I would say to have your greenhouse window face south, to maximize sun exposure. However, the amount of sun you want will depend on what you are growing, the type of glazing you are using, whether you plan to use the area as a sitting room (and want to have a particular view) and so on. A large, south-facing window (especially a greenhouse type with a glass ceiling) can let in a lot of heat--great in the winter, but overpowering in the summer. You'll want to plan for sturdy shades and adequate ventilation.

It sounds like a large and expensive project; you may want to hire an architect/designer to help you make the most of it.

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