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What is a Garden Window?

By Ken Black
Updated May 16, 2024
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A garden window is a window that juts out, or projects, slightly from a wall in order to capture more sunlight. The concept is similar to that of a bay window, but on a slightly smaller scale. Some garden windows may have shelves. In order to be a garden window, glass must be present on all sides, except for the bottom.

The concept behind a garden window is similar to that of greenhouse glass designs. Greenhouses capture the sun's energy through the use of glass or some other type of product to help produce plants. It allows for the efficient conservation of resources, such as lighting and space heating, that would otherwise need to be used to grow some plants in some areas.

The purpose of a garden window is to bring some of that same technology to the home. While it may be possible to grow almost any plant in any window, garden windows are especially suited to the task simply because they allow more room to grow more things. While the plants must still be relatively small, like most houseplants are, garden windows offer more opportunities than traditional windows.

The frame of the garden window often comes in a number of different options, the most common of these are vinyl and aluminum. Many companies recommend the vinyl frames simply because there is better thermal performance and greater resistance to condensation. Often, when the purpose of a garden window is to grow tropical plants, the temperature performance can be a very important consideration.

To help protect a garden window, manufacturers also do not recommend the use of harsh chemicals or abrasive materials. The best way to clean and maintain the window is simply to use a warm soapy water mixture. This allows for safe cleaning and should keep the window working at peak performance many years into the future.

A garden window can be installed in nearly any location, but many people tend to use them as kitchen windows or bathroom windows. This is simply a personal preference. Many also find use for them in living areas, or even the bedroom, if a curtain is attached to provide some privacy at times.

While most homes do not come with garden windows, there are a number of different manufacturers of the windows in many different parts of the world, especially the United States. Most dealers will also take care of the installation. Most manufacturers will also have locations on their Web sites to help individuals find a dealer near them.

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Discussion Comments
By andee — On May 09, 2012

I live in a part of the country that has a fairly short growing season. Many years I like to get a head start on some of my plants, so we installed a garden greenhouse window.

Even though this space isn't as large as I would like it to be, it is certainly better than not having one at all.

This is a nice sunny spot to start some seedlings indoors and get a head start on my growing and planting.

During the long, cold winter months, I enjoy looking forward to planting some things in my garden window. It helps me feel like spring will be here soon.

By John57 — On May 08, 2012

@julies - I also have a garden window in my kitchen, and for the longest time didn't know what to do with it.

For my birthday, my sister gave me an herb window garden kit and this was the perfect place for it.

I can grow herbs right in my kitchen that I can use to add spice and flavor to some of my dishes.

It is also nice to have something green growing in my kitchen. This is the first time I have grown herbs and was surprised at how easy they were to grow.

Since most of them do best in direct sunlight, they have flourished in this spot, and because I see them all the time, they get watered on a regular basis too.

By julies — On May 07, 2012

The house I currently live in has a built-in garden window in the kitchen. This sits right behind the sink and looks out to the front yard.

This also faces the south, so it gets a lot of direct sunlight. This was one of the features of the house that I loved immediately.

I can grow some garden window tropical plants here that won't grow anywhere else in the house. Because of the warmth of the sun, even in the winter, these plants do very well here.

I have a three season sun room, but it gets too cold to keep plants there year round. With my garden window, I can have something in bloom almost all year long.

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