Your Year Around Flower and Garden Guide

Installing a Garden Window

Even though you have limited space, it is possible for you to have your very own window greenhouse.

A window greenhouse is also commonly referred to as a garden window. The window greenhouse is designed from the inside out incorporating features that many gardeners and homeowners feel are important. Garden windows maximize the window's glass area, provide easy access to window handles, and are usually equipped with a self-locking system to assure smooth and convenient operation for many years.

Standard window greenhouse features include:

  1. Glass with Low-emissions and Argon gas insulation
  2. Strong, but compact two-piece frame assembly for the maximum glass to vinyl ratio
  3. Each system is computer designed for exact fit
  4. Conveniently located vent window handles
  5. Secure self-locking system
  6. Built in water drainage system
  7. 7/8 inch double-glazing with energy saving sealing system
  8. 5/4 inch standard birch-veneer buck and seat board
  9. Trapezoidal sided vent windows and screens

Some tips to help make measuring the space for your garden window easier are:

Since garden windows are pre-assembled in the factories, you can mount your window greenhouse as a unit. One thing to remember is that installation should only be started after removing the sash and frame of the old window. To install your window greenhouse after the old window is removed, rest the inner edge of the projection onto the sill. Then tilt the unit inward until it is half way inside. The sill should hold the weight of the unit. You should have a helper inside to steady the window as you push it through the opening.

Braces of two by four studs are a sufficient exterior support for the projection as you move it back towards the outside. Next push the unit to the outside until the sideboards, headboard, and seat board are well flush with the wall surface.

The next step is to secure the outer edge of the window with the support of the temporary braces. Use a level to be sure that the window is set precisely in the middle of the opening. Use finishing nails to secure in the sides, head, and rear. Very carefully, anchor the unit in the opening with the aid of shims under each of the nails.

Recheck your unit to make sure that it is still level and centered into the wall opening. If not, adjust the unit as necessary. If no support brackets were included with your unit, you can substitute with pressure treated lumber. Cover the lumber with aluminum capping stock, or form a base for an enclosed support.

Outside of the house, set a knee brace or angled support under each mullion. Place the long leg of the brace against the house and drill pilot holes through the brace into studs in the wall. If there are no studs in a suitable position, move the brace left or right until it lines up accurately. The idea is to uphold the window under the mullions as close as possible while maintaining a balanced symmetrical look to the braces. If they are to be covered, the symmetry of the support is not as important.

Fasten the support bracket using a 3/8" lag bolt, long enough to perforate the stud by at least 2". Fasten the brace to the underside of the window greenhouse with a wood screw of reasonable length to anchor it into the seat board but be sure not to go through the surface of the seat board.

After your garden window has been fully sealed and supported, apply the interior molding. However, first insulate any gap between the sideboards, the headboard, and/or the rough opening. Use a product like wood putty to fill and then sand the mounting screw holes in the headboards, sideboards, and seat boards. To finish the seat board, side jams, and headboard, use a high quality based paint or stain.