To choose the best backyard greenhouse, first ask yourself whether you would keep the project small or allow for growth and expansion. Portable greenhouse kits are easily constructed and mobile, while permanent structures may require expert contracting, an excavated foundation, or building permits. Costs range from the affordable on up, and they largely depend upon the type of structure chosen. These include the mini and lean-to, freestanding, and attached home greenhouse designs. Additionally, give thought to interior space preferences, heating source and ventilation options, and the types of plants you would grow.
A backyard greenhouse lets enthusiasts and professionals grow flowers, produce, seedlings, and plants year-round. Attached, even-span, and window-mounted greenhouses connect to the main house for added stability. Free-standing structures range from the mini to quonset-style commercial grades. Decide whether you are seeking a quiet oasis escape, or to produce volume output, which requires greater space.
Frames for your backyard greenhouse can be composed of many varied materials ranging from traditional to contemporary composites. Wood frames offer strong performance and traditional aesthetics, and allow for building additions. These frames are generally used for glass structures. Steel frames present durability and higher costs, while aluminum frames offer lighter weight, rust-free performance. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) tubing attracts new builders with its economy and light weight; these frames suit portable structures.
The coverings available for a backyard greenhouse include polyethylene, polycarbonate, corrugated plastic, and glass. Good-quality polyethylene, the popular heavy-duty clear plastic, is not easily torn or ripped; it can last several years, so beware of cheaper imitations. Polycarbonate is an ultraviolet (UV) treated material that can come in sheets or single, double, and triple panes of various thicknesses. A glassy, translucent plastic, this popular material can last for up to 15 years, and can give the home greenhouse an attractive, more manicured aesthetic.
Prior to the development of polycarbonates, corrugated plastic panels enjoyed wide popularity; these are the versatile, clear green panes resembling corrugated metal. Glass, of course, is heavy and fragile. Glass panes better suit elegant, permanent structures.
Equip your backyard greenhouse with fans or an automated exhaust fan ventilation system to regulate temperature and humidity throughout the year. Fans help retain heat and carbon dioxide, and keep air fresh. Whether you want an outdoor space for privacy and gardening, or to build a small business, consider the types of greenhouses that fit your conditions, and select the one that best suits your needs for today and tomorrow.