“Who loves a garden loves a greenhouse too.” – William Cowper
Having a greenhouse can help you develop your green thumb by lengthening your growing season beyond what’s possible when growing outside. To get the most out of your greenhouse gardening, you need to have the right type of structure. This means finding the right design that fits your property, your growing needs, and the climate in which you live.
These greenhouse ideas will help inspire you to build your own greenhouse. With a little planning and effort, your new growing structure will be well worth the effort. You’ll be enjoying larger crops and wondering why you didn’t build one sooner.
1. Potting Shed Greenhouse Ideas
Sometimes you need an indoor space to hold all of your greenhouse supplies. This space is a protected and enclosed room where you can store your potting soil, hand tools, extra pots, irrigation supplies, and anything else you use while caring for your plants.
Your shed doesn’t have to be anything fancy. This isn’t a structure built to impress. Instead, it offers a level of security and organization.
Consider building a potting bench inside your shed. It can serve as a countertop surface where you can stand comfortably and work on potting, pruning, and other gardening activities. There should be plenty of space to spread out and care for your plants. It’s the ideal place to start seedlings from scratch or transfer healthy plants to larger pots.
2. Small Greenhouse Ideas
You don’t need a large greenhouse to have an effective growing space. Your greenhouse could be just big enough to cover your plants. You can simply use clear plastic sheeting to cover your plants, still allowing you to grow them in the ground or containers. The plastic helps to trap heat and protect your plants from frost. This type of coverage is portable, convertible, and easy to add as the weather changes.
If you’re looking for something slightly larger, several greenhouse kits will give you a small shed-sized place to grow. It could be a space just big enough for one person to walk into and stand. If you have a small backyard, this is a good option. Look for a kit that comes with shelves on the inside to give you more space to put your plants.
3. Greenhouse Design Ideas
When creating your greenhouse plans, you need to consider the shape of your structure. The shape you choose will depend on the space you have available, the type of plants you want to grow, and how you want your greenhouse to function.
A barn greenhouse looks like a barn and works best in conjunction with a heater. A hoop greenhouse looks like a rounded dome installed over plants in the ground, such as strawberries. A hoop house is a larger version that you could comfortably walk into.
If you aren’t interested in installing a heating system in your greenhouse, consider building a cold frame greenhouse. These use the power of the sun and insulation to keep your plants warm. Then there’s the geodome greenhouse, which looks similar to the hoop style, but instead of being a long tube, it’s a rounded structure, like an angular igloo.
4. Greenhouse Shelf Ideas
A simple and basic greenhouse will cover just your plants. A more elaborate greenhouse will be taller and give you more space. While you could leave your plants on the ground, this is a waste of the vertical space in your greenhouse. Consider building shelves to give yourself more room for growing plants.
You could have several small and shallow shelves for putting your seedling trays on. These don’t need a lot of space, so you can place them closer together without compromising their access to light. Once you see decent plant growth, you can transfer them into larger pots.
Keep in mind that warm air rises. Because of this, your greenhouse will be hotter the higher up it goes. This hot and humid air isn’t great for some plants, but others love it. This gives you more freedom in the types of plants you grow.
5. Glass Greenhouse Ideas
If you want an indoor garden, you need a glass greenhouse. These greenhouses are expensive, but they’re worth investing in to have a stunning backyard greenhouse. You’ll have a permanent structure that will last for decades.
You’ll need to maintain your greenhouse by protecting the metal framework from corroding and washing the glass. This will keep your greenhouse looking crisp and fresh while also allowing in plenty of light.
6. Simple Greenhouse Ideas
Your greenhouse doesn’t need to be an extravagant structure. There are several DIY greenhouse ideas that you can use to inspire your design. A popular option is to use PVC pipe for the frame and greenhouse plastic for the walls and ceiling.
This design is a smart option because the PVC won’t rot or corrode, making it a durable option. The pipe also comes in several lengths, sizes, and shapes, so you’ll have no problem finding the ideal pieces for building the structure you need. Plastic sheeting is also an excellent material to work with. You can easily cut it to the exact size you need and attach it to a pipe.
Here’s a easy idea of how to build a simple greenhouse with rebar and metal pipe:
- Stake metal rebar pieces in the corners and along the length of your row of plants.
- Place a short piece of pipe over the metal bar.
- Bend several longer pieces of rebar in the shape of arches.
- Push the ends of each arch into one of the metal pipes.
- Drape the plastic sheeting over the arches and attach it to the pipe with heavy-duty zip-ties.
7. Rustic Greenhouse Ideas
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a greenhouse. All you need are a few supplies. Instead of spending money on expensive glass, you might consider using plastic sheeting. Instead of having a frame made from steel, you could use wood. To save even more money, use recycled materials.
If you live in a rural area, you probably have access to hay bales. Great news: hay is an ideal insulating material and is perfect for trapping heat. Build a DIY greenhouse that has a wood frame, clear plastic sheeting on the top, and hay bales on the sides. You now have a straw bale greenhouse that’s insulated and surprisingly warm. You don’t even have to spend a lot. Negotiate with a local farmer to buy their extra stock at the end of the season.
8. Conservatory Greenhouse Ideas
Do you love the look of those Victorian greenhouses with their impressive vaulted ceilings and all-glass walls? They have ornate details and look like a typical building, but see-through. Modern versions of the conservatory still have the same impressive size but get rid of the intricate details and increase the size of the glass panes.
A conservatory is not a greenhouse. If you’re looking for a livable space that you can use in addition to growing plants, then you’ll want a conservatory. If you’re looking for something more rustic and focused on gardening, then a greenhouse will be good enough.
Several conservatory kits are available to make building yours easier and more affordable. However, a conservatory will cost more than a greenhouse. Plan to have plenty of land to erect your structure. Then you could get creative with the interior by adding a sitting or dining area.
9. Porch Greenhouse Ideas
Do you have a porch you aren’t currently using? Why not turn it into a greenhouse and use it to store your potted plants? This eliminates the need to build a completely separate structure. It can also increase the value of your home by creating more livable space. Instead of being an open space, future owners could turn your greenhouse into a relaxing sunroom.
When building your greenhouse porch, you want to make sure it’s facing the right direction (in the northern hemisphere, south is best). It needs to get the right amount of light. Next, you need to check your local laws and regulations to make sure nothing is stopping you from building it. Then work with a reputable contractor who has experience building these unique structures.
10. Modern Greenhouse Ideas
Glass was too expensive of a building material for the early greenhouse builders. It was also fragile and difficult to build with. Because of this, buildings had smaller panes. So a greenhouse would have numerous panels, all supported by metal frames. Thankfully, modern innovation changed the glass production process. These improvements allowed for buildings with significantly larger window panes.
Modern greenhouses have sleek lines and sharp corners. There is a lot less metal framework and much larger glass sheets. You can use these open-air spaces for more than just growing plants. They have become living spaces that help you feel like your outside without actually being outside.
11. Wooden Greenhouse Ideas
A wood-framed greenhouse can be beautiful. They are durable, unassuming, and will give you plenty of growing space. Choose a pressure-treated wood or a hardwood that’s resistant to decay so that it’s durable and long-lasting. Then decide how you’ll close in the space. You could go the affordable route and staple plastic sheeting to the wood. You might also consider upgrading to corrugated clear plastic as it’s more durable and better insulating. You can also install glass panels, but they’re much more expensive and require more planning.
If you want to extend your growing season, insulate your wood greenhouse and plan for adequate ventilation. You’ll be able to control the temperature inside better. Install moveable vents in the ceiling and at the bottom of the walls. This draws the hottest air out and pulls cool air in at the bottom. The cooler air will heat and rise, drawing in fresh air as it does.
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