Building your own greenhouse

backyard greenhouse kit

backyard greenhouse kit

Greenhouses can be extravagant or simple, expensive or affordable.  Many styles are easy to build, while some require uncommon skill.  Your construction abilities, budget, and personal style are the most important factors to consider.

A greenhouse design can be as simple as a PVC pipe frame plastic sheet covering.  They can be highly complex as well, with custom steel frames and double paned glass.  Some are even made entirely from old windows.

Other factors to keep in mind are the local climate.  Will your greenhouse need to endure a lot of wind?  Maybe your chosen location will require a floor under the greenhouse.  Snow, hail, and heavy rains can all affect the features and design needs.

Obviously, a PVC pipe frame with plastic sheet for walls and doors will not be very strong.  It is also unlikely to withstand any significant amount of snow accumulation.  But it can work fine in a calm climate where strong winds are rare, and cold winters are a myth.

If you’re a skilled carpenter, you’ll no doubt want to construct your greenhouse from lumber.  If you’ve got metalworking skills, you could consider a metal framed design.  But even if you’ve got relatively low skill levels in the construction area, there are still suitable greenhouse designs that you can build with the basic tools.

It’s still important to keep in mind the local requirements, though.  Strong winds will require every part to be well built and well designed.  Even the shape is important, the strongest construction will still topple over in the wind if the greenhouse is tall with flat and vertical sides.

Harsh winters also have special needs.  How much snow might pile up on the roof?  Snow is heavy, and could crush an inadequate greenhouse.

Whether or not you need a structured floor is usually personal preference.  But if the build location is soft ground with frequent heavy rain, you might actually need one.  Concrete is a common option, but wood floors are possible as well.

Style is a consideration, but not just a preference.  Some greenhouse styles may only work well in certain climates.  Such as the type which look more like a sturdy shed or a tiny house, with just one side being all-windows.  If your climate is harsh, you may not have much choice in style, and will have to build to withstand the elements.

  • ·         Budget: cost of all materials, shelves and benches, tools, and time to build
  • ·         Climate: Snow and hail, clear warm skies, wind and rain?
  • ·         Seasons: Year round growing, or just 2 to 3 seasons
  • ·         Size: Just a few plants, or a grand garden
  • ·         Floor or no floor
  • ·         PVC, Wood, Metal?
  • ·         Style

The most important overall consideration is whether or not your greenhouse will last.  Whichever plan you end up choosing, be as sure as you can that it will withstand whatever the harshest and most severe weather occurs over a several year period in your area.  Otherwise you might end up with an overturned greenhouse, or worse, it could wind up crashing into your house!  Better to overbuild and be safe than under-build and be sorry.

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