What Are Garden Windows?: Your Guide to Benefits and Uses

Garden windows are gorgeous and practical architectural choices for your kitchen and living room remodel. In this piece, we’ll explain what they are, why they’re such a popular window style, and how to choose the right garden windows for your space.

Imagine the perfect picturesque kitchen. Gleaming granite countertops display luxury olive wood bowls containing your gently chopped mise en place ingredients. It’s a gorgeous spring day. A spark of inspiration strikes and you float over to your window herb garden. Your rosemary is thriving: you add the fresh herbs to your meal and soak in the smell of fresh thyme, basil, and parsley while relaxing music plays in the background. 

This may sound like a scene out of a Hallmark movie, but the truth is that homeowners around the country are remodeling to find their own version of the perfect kitchen—and they almost all include a garden window. 

If you’re ready to add a garden window to your home, there are a few things you need to know. Read on for a guide on the benefits and disadvantages of garden windows as well as a few crucial FAQs.    

Garden window in a home with plants on it's shelves


What is a garden window? 

A garden window is a box-shaped window that extends outward from the side of your home, creating a small greenhouse-like structure. Typically, a garden window is made of three glass sides and a sloping glass roof to enable rain run-off. The greenhouse-like effect of this type of window allows ample sunlight to enter the space, making it perfect for indoor herb gardens—thus the name “garden windows.” They provide the perfect space for growing plants year-round, even in colder climates.

Many homes have garden windows installed behind the kitchen sink—the ideal place to grow herbs and small vegetables in your own mini greenhouse. However, garden windows may also add aeththetic value as a unique architectural feature in a living, dining, or bedroom space.

What are the advantages of garden windows? 

Aside from their unique construction and obvious aethetic appeal, garden windows can also provide:  

Increased Natural Light

Every window style should increase the illumination and natural light in your home. But garden windows do so better than nearly any other type of window. Because garden windows come with four panels of glass, they do an incredible job of opening up your space and allowing the sunshine inside. This can decrease your reliance on artificial lighting during the day and lower your electric bills.

Improved Ventilation

Because most garden windows allow you to open up their side glass panels, they provide a great source of ventilation for your home. This can help improve your indoor air quality as well as reduce your reliance on air conditioning during the warmer months.

Added Shelf Space

Most standard size garden windows come divided into two shelves—giving you ample additional room for plants, dish soap, sponges, decor, or anything else you might love a bit more space for. Bay windows offer a bit of additional space as well; however, that space tends to be designed as a seating area, not as a shelf.  

Fresh aromatic culinary herbs in white pots on windowsill

Year-Round Gardening 

Growing your own herbs sounds trendy until you’re trying to keep your basil alive in -10 degree weather during a blizzard. Garden windows aren’t magic, but their structure creates a mini-greenhouse effect that provides a warmer and sunnier environment for your plants all year round. 

Increased Home Value

Garden windows bring a unique (and desired) touch to your home that can significantly bump its curb appeal and selling value. You might not be looking to sell your house tomorrow, but if you’re putting in a new window, it’s smart to be aware of your return on investment (ROI). Garden windows are not only beloved, but they also stand out from far away—making your home an eye-catcher before potential buyers ever knock on the door. 

What are the disadvantages of garden windows? 

We love garden windows, but even an incredible window has its downfalls. Before you invest in a garden window, here are a few potential disadvantages.

Greater Initial Cost

As is the case with many home improvement projects, the more specialized something is, the more expensive it tends to be. Garden windows are an investment. Not only do they require a very specific build, they also require more materials than your average single- or double-hung window. That investment can pay off in the future—especially if your garden window reduces your utility bills and allows you to grow your own herbs—but your upfront costs will be higher.

Require Professional Installation

You should never, under any circumstances, DIY a garden window installation. Garden windows involve multiple fragile glass panels that stick out from your wall. Mounting those panels is a complex process that risks breaking the glass and damaging your home’s structure. Additionally, if you install garden windows incorrectly, you’re at serious risk for leaks during rainy seasons.

Not all windows are created equal. You might be able to DIY install a single-pane window, but leave the garden windows to trusted experts.  

Professional installing a window into a house

Higher Risk of Trapped Moisture

The greenhouse effect of garden windows creates an ideal environment for plants, but it can also cause issues if not monitored. Increased indoor humidity and condensation are the primary causes of mold growth—which can lead to structural damage. Garden windows don’t guarantee moisture problems, but they do make them more likely in certain climates. Make sure you speak with an expert about the best type of glass and frame materials for your area. 


Still unsure about garden windows? Not to worry. Let’s answer a few frequently asked questions. 

What is the average price for a garden window? 

Garden windows cost around $2,000-$3,000+ for a standard size, but that cost varies depending on brand, frame material, and glass type. You’ll also want to factor in up to $500 in installation fees since garden windows are one of several window types you absolutely should not DIY. 

How much weight can a garden window hold? 

Most garden windows can hold between 25 and 100 pounds. That said, overloading your garden windows is never a good idea. Because garden windows stick out from your wall, too much weight can easily cause the window to sag. Over time, that sagging will not only lead to a broken window, but also to potential structural damage. Check with your manufacturer to confirm weight limits for your garden window.

What type of windows are best for plants?

Garden windows are the best type of windows for plants. All windows let in sunlight and warmth for your plants, but garden windows are specifically designed to act as a small-scale greenhouse. Maximum light, regulated warmth, and easy cross-ventilation all make garden windows the ideal windows for plant growth.  

What is the difference between a garden window and a bay window? 

Garden windows and bay windows both protrude outwards from your house to let in more light and create additional space. However, bay windows are constructed from three panes of glass, and their footprint is trapezoidal rather than square. They are typically larger than garden windows, and are intended create an alcove or recess in the room without the greenhouse effect that garden windows provide. They’re often installed in living rooms or bedrooms to create a seating area or cozy reading nook. 

Bay window in a stylish modern living room

Bay Window

How do I choose the right garden window for my space?

Since most garden windows are structurally similar, choosing the right garden window often comes down to size. After you brainstorm the size and location of your garden window, be sure to bring in professionals to get exact measurements for your custom window before installation.

Can you put a garden window in a bedroom? 

Yes, you can put a garden window in a bedroom. Truthfully, you can put a garden window anywhere in your home! Garden windows in a bedroom let in plenty of light to wake you up naturally in the morning and are a wonderful idea if you want more space for greenery in your bedroom.

Can you open a garden window?

Yes, you can absolutely open your garden window. Most garden windows allow you to open the glass panels on the sides of the window, either via a single-hung sliding mechanism or a casement-style crank. You likely won’t be able to open the top or front glass panel, but the sides should be easily accessible and available for a cool breeze. 

Choose and Install Your Next Garden Window with Window Nation

If you’re installing a garden window, you’re making a significant investment in your home’s value and aesthetic appeal. That’s why it’s so vital to make sure it’s done right. At Window Nation, we pride ourselves on exemplary service and expert window advice and installations. Whether you’re brand new to garden windows or adding another to your collection, we’d love to help you smooth the process and bring in the sunlight. 

Request a free quote from Window Nation today and start your garden window project tomorrow!

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