Managing a rental garden

How to Convert an Old Shed into a Greenhouse

by Glen Shelton

When an old shed is no longer needed for storage, you have a few options. You might want to tear it up in order to have more open space, or you might wish to convert it into a different type of usable space. It's not so difficult to convert a disused shed into a greenhouse, since the frame already exists. Larger industrial sheds converted into greenhouses might even allow you to grow crops at a commercial level (which can be a profitable repurposing of old agricultural sheds), although residential sheds will probably only yield enough crops for personal usage. Please note that while a lot of the work can be done yourself, it might be wise to have some parts of the process performed by professionals. So how can you convert a disused shed into a greenhouse?


The crops that will be grown inside your shed can be awfully tempting to some uninvited visitors. Any cracks or crevices on the concrete base of the shed are practically an invitation for rodents. These will need to be sealed, unless they happen to be in the interior section of the shed where the dirt bed for the greenhouse will be positioned. This will need to be sealed in a different manner. To protect an existing shed from rodents, you will need to examine the exterior of your shed where the siding meets the concrete foundations. Any gaps will need to be sealed with additional metal siding, which can be bolted into place. You might also wish to excavate around the perimeter of the shed in order to place additional metal siding beneath the surface of the ground. This prevents persistent rodents from tunneling their way inside. Please also check the seals around any doors and windows and strengthen them as needed.

The Floor

A hole must be cut in the concrete to prepare the dirt bed. This should be in an area of the shed that will catch the most sunlight throughout the day once the transparent roof panels have been installed. A circular saw can be used, provided it has corundum (or diamond) blade. Please wear all the necessary safety gear if you intend to do this yourself. Once an adequate piece of concrete has been cut and removed, you will need to dig into the exposed soil. Dig to an appropriate depth, which will depend on the length of the roots of the plants you wish to grow. The hole needs to be lined with metal mesh (such as fine chicken wire) to prevent rodents from tunneling inside. The hole can now be refilled with the removed soil or a more fertile potting mix.

The Roof

Cutting holes into the roof of the shed to install transparent panels can be tricky. You might wish to have this done by a professional. If you do the job yourself, you might wish to rent an electric nibbler, which allows for more control. It's best to order the transparent panels already set into a wooden frame for easy installation. These panels can be made of glass, although transparent acrylic sheeting (polycarbonate) is preferable due to its reduced weight. Be sure to precisely mark the roof with an outline before you cut. Once a hole has been cut, the wooden frame containing the transparent panel can be tightly bolted into place. Seal the edge of the frame with silicone caulking. This will give the panel added stability and will prevent rain from entering the shed. Please consider your level of DIY expertise before cutting holes into the roof of your shed. If you have doubts about your abilities to finish the job, this stage should perhaps be left to a professional (or a suitably skilled friend or family member).

All that's left to do is to plant whatever you like inside your shed, and then enjoy the fruits (or vegetables) of your labour.