Some jars have materials to encourage birds and pollinating insects to nest in them. (photo by Cameron Sheppard)

Some jars have materials to encourage birds and pollinating insects to nest in them. (photo by Cameron Sheppard)

How to make a greenhouse with 4,500 glass jars

How a Redmond resident spent nearly two years building a greenhouse out of salvaged materials.

What began as a need for indoor plant space in a Redmond studio apartment blossomed into a unique project in rural Duvall.

Axton Burton began building a greenhouse using repurposed mason jars and glass containers in the beginning of 2020. Now, nearly two years into the pandemic, the vision is coming to fruition outside Burton’s parents house in Duvall.

The greenhouse’s frame is built with lumber 2×4 beams, more than 4,500 glass jars and containers have been stacked between the frames, fitting together in an imperfect, yet organic, way.

Altogether the project cost about $3500, Burton said a smaller shed would have cost $6500 if purchased and not put together with recycled materials.

Burton said the many containers collected from folks around the area were each placed into the walls of the greenhouse one-by-one, leaving gaps in between that Burton has begun to fill with moss for insulation.

Inside are grow lights, fans and a misting system to create an ideal environment for tropical plants that would not fare well in the temperate climate of a Washington winter. Burton salvaged an old wine barrel which has been repurposed as a rainwater reservoir outside of the greenhouse.

On the suggestion of neighbors who have seen Burton’s project come to fruition from the otherwise unused glass that they donated to him, he has filled certain jars with colored glass beads and marbles, to give the walls a colorful aesthetic.

Tiles with gaps in between for stepable ground cover have been laid down inside the greenhouse, Burton excitedly waits for the ground cover to spread in between the tiles like an organic grout.

A decorative fountain sits in the corner of the greenhouse, looking lonely without the troves of tropical plants like bananas, Buddha’s hand, finger limes, star fruit and others which Burton is unsure will all fit in their humid new home.

Some jars have been filled with materials to encourage local wildlife like birds and pollinating insects to nest inside them.

Since sharing the project on social media, Burton has been contacted by folks from all over the country asking about how it was built so they could try to build their own.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

Rain water will be collected in this old wine barrel that Burton found (photo by Cameron Sheppard)

Rain water will be collected in this old wine barrel that Burton found (photo by Cameron Sheppard)

More in News

Map of proposed landfill expansion sites (screenshot from King County website)
Waste management expert knocks county’s plan to expand landfill

The waste management advocate said the decision to expand seems pre-determined despite assessment.

Participants in fundraiser previous event (courtesy of Alzheimer’s Association Washington State Chapter)
Walk To End Alzheimer’s returns to Eastside on Sept. 25

Alzheimer’s Association moves forward with plans for an in-person event.

file photo
State employees including first responders sue state over vaccine mandate

The lawsuit filed on behalf of more than 90 plaintiffs claims Inslee’s order is unconstitutional.

Pixabay photo
Union carpenters to go on strike, expected to impact Eastside Microsoft projects

Members authorized strike after rejecting AGC offer for the fourth time.

file photo
The state’s hospitals face “unprecedented collapse” amid COVID uptick warn healthcare unions

Union spokeperson says understaffing was a problem even before the pandemic.

pizza from Tom Douglas’ Serious Pie (courtesy of Serious Pie)
Eastside to get its first Serious Pie restaurant location

Serious Pie is owned by Seattle restaurateur Tom Douglas.

Axton Burton stands proudly in front of the greenhouse he made in his parent’s yard in Duvall, Wash. (photo by Cameron Sheppard)
How to make a greenhouse with 4,500 glass jars

How a Redmond resident spent nearly two years building a greenhouse out of salvaged materials.

Artist rendering of new school classrooms and amenities (courtesy of BASIS Independent Bellevue)
Bellevue to have new private school by 2022 school year

The school will focus on having specialized subject teachers and high staff-to-student ratio.

Gov. Jay Inslee talks about schools reopening during a past news conference. (Screenshot courtesy of TVW)
Masks required at big outdoor events; vaccine mandates expanded

Governor’s mask order takes effect Sept. 13.

Most Read