In Garden Projects: 25 Easy-to-Build Wood Structures and Ornaments, Roger Marshall provides step-by-step instructions on how to create a variety of simple DIY additions to any outdoor space. Use these project ideas to add a practical, aesthetic element to your backyard or to improve your garden production. Marshall has years of construction experience, and has developed projects that can easily be completed using materials from any local hardware store.
You can purchase this book from the GRIT store: Garden Projects
Building a Cold Frame
A few years ago, I was given five wood-framed storm windows, each 30" wide, and decided that they would make a great cold frame for my garden. As the growing beds were already 4' wide and the windows were 5' long, the cold frame’s back height of 3' was simple to calculate (3-4-5 triangle). I built two triangular ends and a rear section and screwed the three parts together easily, after which the storm windows were simply set in place.
• Handsaw or rotary saw
• Screwdriver or hammer
• Tape measure
• Two 4" x 4" x 4' pressure-treated posts for the back corners
For the ends:
• Two 2" x 4" x 3' boards
• Two 2" x 4" x 28" boards
• Two 2" x 4" x 22" boards (Tops will be trimmed to suit the slope of the triangle.)
• One 2" x 4" x 4' board for the base
• One 2" x 4" x 5' board for the hypotenuse
• Scrap barn board or siding to cover the ends, or one 1/2" x 3' x 4' marine-grade plywood sheet, cut in half along the diagonal
For the back:
• Two 2" x 4" x 12' boards for top and bottom rails
• Six to ten 2" x 4" x 3' boards for the supports for the top and bottom rails. (Spacing the supports 24" apart requires six supports, and spacing them 16" apart requires ten support posts.)
• Scrap barn board or siding to cover the sides, or one 1/2" x 3' x 12' marine-grade plywood sheet
• Five 30" x 5' wood-framed storm windows
• Either 16P nails or 3" galvanized or ceramic-coated exterior screws for the main framing
• 1 1/2" 6P or 8P galvanized exterior nails for installing the plywood.
I built my cold frame in about 8 hours but your actual time will depend on the type of windows or glazing that you use.
1. Sink the 4' posts 1' deep into the ground at the two back corners of the bed.
2. Build the rear frame. Lay the top and bottom rails out on a flat surface and screw or nail the support posts in place at 16" or 24" intervals along the rails.
3. Build the end triangle frames. Make sure the tallest post is the same height as the rear section (nominally 3') with the triangular section tapering to nothing at the front. Space the supports and cut them to suit the end angle before nailing or screwing them in place.
4. Erect the ends and rear sections and nail or screw into place. This frame will now look like Figure 16-1. (This frame has four windows instead of the five that I built my frame with.)
5. Clad the frame with siding. Size your siding to extend below the side of the frame in order to cover the air gap between the sections and the raised bed. Figure 16-2 shows progress.
6. Set the windows in place. They do not need to be hinged, but you can install two 3" hinges at the top of each window to ensure the windows stay in place. A simple stick pushed into the ground in front of the frame will serve to keep the frame open.
Excerpted with permission from Garden Projects: 25 Easy-to-Build Wood Structures and Ornaments by Roger Marshall and published by The Countryman Press, 2015. You can purchase this book from our store: Garden Projects