How to build a greenhouse


Growing flowers, fruits, vegetables and plants in your own greenhouse is good way to unwind and spend some quality time with nature. If you are fond of greenhouses, you can build one in your backyard or garden easily. A greenhouse can be attached to your home or be a freestanding one. In a freestanding structure, separate facilities for heat, electricity, and water are required. This hassle is absent in an attached construction. You will need to build only three walls as the fourth side will be enclosed by the house.

Here are some simple instructions to make your own small greenhouse, also known as a coldframe.

Difficulty Level: Moderate: (Requires basic knowledge)

Time required: 48 hours

Approximate Cost: $20-25 per square foot

Resources required:

Plastic or wooden frames, concrete, cushioning sand, galvanized nails, traditional glass, fiberglass, double wall plastic, film plastic

1. Prepare the foundation:

Base of Greenhouse

Decide where you would build your greenhouse. Take all required measurements like length of the side walls, water pipes, windows, etc. If you are using plastic or wooden frames, then, cut out frames for the base, roof and walls of the greenhouse. However, if you are using concrete, then, you will need to make a bed of cushioning sand on the base.

2. Fix the frame securely:

Affix frames on the ground using galvanized nails and plates. Now, set up the walls by fastening them with galvanized nails and wooden screws. Make sure that they are fixed to the base securely. Set up all electrical fittings and lay out the pipes. Put the frames for windows in place with nails and adhesives. Then, mount the door securely using hinges, nails and glue.

2. Construct a sheltering roof:

Roof of Greenhouse

You can use either traditional glass or fiberglass or double wall plastic or film plastic to make the shelter screen of your greenhouse. Although transparent glass gives ample light, it is easily breakable. Film plastic is also great to let the sun light in but it would need to be replaced after a year or so. Fiber glass requires maintenance but is durable. Conserve energy by using double wall plastic that holds on to heat for longer but it will also constrict the amount of sunlight going through the greenhouse. The roof can also be made up of corrugated panels which are extremely sturdy.

To support a glass framework, a sturdy casing of aluminum or iron should be used. With wood, frames of PVC pipes should be used. Finish by making a pathway of stones or pebbles reaching up to the plants and then lay gravel for proper drainage.

Frequently asked questions:

1. How to decide the best place for building the greenhouse?

This area should get enough sunlight and therefore should be located on south or east side of the house. However, ensure that the place is shady so that the greenhouse is protected from too much heat. Also, it should have good drainage with easy access to water, electricity, and heat. Start off by leveling the ground at the plot.

2. Plan for the best ventilation in the greenhouse

The heating, cooling and air flow system should be adequate in the greenhouse. A continuous ventilator running across the roof is very important for letting out the hot air. Cool air should be able to pass through the greenhouse from the sides and the ends. So, make sure that there are enough vents at the base. A screen should shield all the venting outlets. Be sure to emit out heat regularly from the greenhouse whenever necessary, if you living in warmer climate regions.

Quick tips:

Despite incorporating a natural ventilation system, you will need extra gear to condition climate inside the greenhouse. A thermostat controlled ventilation system with a fan should be installed. If you live in cooler conditions, then set up heaters inside. An automatic watering system would be excellent if your budget allows.

Things to watch out for:

1. Do not build greenhouse on an area with soggy soil as it does not drain well.

2. Make sure that there is not even a single hole in the greenhouse structure; this will affect the temperature you want to maintain inside for growth of the plants.

3. If you are using a wooden base, then ensure that you have picked sawn timber or some other type of wood that will not rot.