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How do I Build a Home Greenhouse?

Article Details
  • Written By: A. Rohlandt
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 21 July 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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The steps you'll take when building a home greenhouse will vary according to the type of greenhouse you want to construct and on whether you're using a greenhouse kit or building from scratch. The first step is to consider the size of your greenhouse and its position on your property. The kind of foundation used is also important, and this is often determined by the kind of frame you're going to use. There are various coverings available, and it is recommended to choose one that will suit your preferences while still being durable enough for you to build a permanent structure, should you decide to do so. Installing ventilation, heating and watering systems will generally be the last step and will finalize the construction of your home greenhouse.

The first step is to decide whether you would prefer to use a kit, which can be bought from building supply stores or online retailers, or if you prefer to build your home green house from scratch. If you want to do it all yourself, plans and materials are available at reasonable rates from garden centers an online sites. Building your own home green house gives you the option to choose the materials and offers more opportunity for customization, but this method is a bit more work.

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Experienced gardeners will advise that you start with the biggest home greenhouse possible because it is easier to build a larger structure than it is to extend an existing one. The green house also needs to be aligned so the longest side faces the sun during the winter months; positioning will be crucial since you want to ensure the sun shines into your green house as much as possible. The next step will be to determine whether you need to use a foundation for your green house.

Some of the portable or smaller home green houses are built without a foundation, but for a more permanent structure, a concrete or gravel foundation typically is recommended. The kind of foundation you use should be dictated by the weight of your frame; a heavier frame will require a stronger foundation to ensure stability. A pea gravel foundation can be created quite easily by removing any sod and then digging down about 3 or 4 feet (about 0.9 to 1.2 meters) in the same area as your green house and then filling it up with the gravel. A concrete foundation requires special machinery and skill, so this should only be used with bigger and more permanent structures.

When buying a greenhouse kit, the choice of frame material will most often be between galvanized steel, wood, or aluminum. PVC piping is sometimes used, but it is not the best choice if you need your home green house to withstand strong winds or snow loads. There is a wide range of covering materials available, including glass, Plexiglas™, plastic film or double wall plastics. Glass is the most common covering for a home green house; it looks good and is easy to maintain, but it can be expensive and difficult to install.

Ventilation is another important consideration. Vents and fans will have to be installed near the top of your home greenhouse to ensure proper air circulation. Heating can also be added to ensure your plants stay warm during the colder months. The options are endless when building your own home greenhouse, so keep in mind how you'll use the green house and how technical you're willing to get; this will guide your choice of materials, foundation and extra equipment.

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