Why would you build a greenhouse and what are your options?
There are many reasons to build a greenhouse including a consistent place for gardening, multipurpose shed, retreat for your hobby and a greenhouse is a nice addition to your home. The options for your greenhouse are vast and include heating, lighting, landscaping, water supply, types of windows and siding, etc…
Build A Greenhouse – Consistent Place For Planting
So you are a real gardening expert at this time in your life. You love planting and all there is to do with planting. However, you have one problem… You cannot do your hobby year round. This is exactly why you need to build a greenhouse. A greenhouse is a perfect place to do ALL of your planting and potting in one place. It allows all of your plants to grow in one specific area that is a perfect environment. You can keep all of your equipment in one place and do all of the work in one place that will be outfitted to your exact needs.
If you have a greenhouse, then it can also double as a multipurpose shed. You can store all of your other items in the greenhouse shed, provided it is not so many items that it makes your shed unusable for planting. However, with the right shelves and the right plan for organizing your shed you could be ahead of the game with your storage issues.
A greenhouse shed will be the perfect humidity for the plants. You will want to keep it at a perfect humidity so the plants will thrive. There are many options to ensure your humidity level and you can purchase a hygrometer to measure the humidity. The humidity will be determined by the temperature within the greenhouse. Make sure you have a heat source for the colder months. You can buy nice greenhouse heaters that will do the trick. It is an easy task, but one that is well worth the time and effort to make sure your plants are perfect.
Sunlight is one of the most important aspects of a greenhouse. ALL of your plants will need sunlight to grow and your greenhouse will need to make sure that there is plenty of sunlight coming into the greenhouse shed to feed the plants. Sunlight will be converted to the all important oxygen through photosynthesis right there in your greenhouse. There are many ways to ensure sunlight and they include glass windows, plastic panes and some have even used plastic bottle walls to reflect the sunlight into the shed.
One of the nicest aspects to build a greenhouse is the ability to garden and plant year round. One can grow tomato seeds in the late winter and then put the plants in the ground when the time is right. That is one of the most satisfying aspects of having a greenhouse shed. Furthermore, having all of your planting and potting tools in one place is a great idea and can keep you more efficient with your gardening and planting throughout the year.
You may ask yourself, how in the world am I going to save money? This is relatively easy, as seeds are very cheap but plants can be very expensive. By planting the seeds in the proper environment at the right humidity you are ensuring that your plants will be successful. Plants bought at the store can be very costly and also may not be very healthy. Therefore, by growing your plants from seed you are ensuring that you have the healthiest plants at the most inexpensive cost. It is a win – win for you and your planting.
Build A Greenhouse – Planning & Styles
There are many options when it comes to the size of your greenhouse shed. Most of all it is determined by the amount of space you will need to do all of the planting that you desire. If you are not going to have a lot of plants then a simple lean to shed would be appropriate. However, if you are really serious about your planting and you have a lot of equipment and desire, then you need a much larger greenhouse. This will be determined by your space requirements.
Many people have built greenhouse sheds from kits and from scratch. One of the nicest things about having your own personal greenhouse shed is that you can decorate it however you want. I have seen many different scenarios where a shed will have many plants growing on the inside and some of the inside plants are rather large. Furthermore, you can paint the greenhouse framing any specific color you want. So you can cut loose and make your greenhouse shed exactly what you want.
When it comes to greenhouses there are a few different plans that you can find. Some of the plans are kits and others are architectural plans that can be built. As noted above you will need to find the right size for your level of planting and storage needs. Recently we have noticed that more of the greenhouses are being assembled via kits but don’t underestimate the ability to build a nice greenhouse with the right set of plans.
This greenhouse is just like a lean to shed. However, it has nice windows to allow for the sunlight. It is a smaller greenhouse shed and is more for a gardener that will plant occasionally. It is not intended to be a big area for planting. If you are going to have some storage in addition to planting, then this really isn’t the greenhouse for you.
A potting shed is exactly what most will want or need for a greenhouse. It’s main purpose is to pot plants and do gardening tasks. A right size potting shed will have enough room for all of your planting needs and when spruced up with the right options (see below) it could be a nice sanctuary for your hobby.
Some greenhouses are built to be a very nice addition to a house. They are not typically kits but built from plans. They are built to look like the house with the right type of siding and brick so it matches nicely. If done right it can really add to the value of the house, but you will need a good set of plans to get it done right. There will also be a lot of planning on your end to make it look elegant both inside and out. I have some tips and suggestions below so don’t forget to check it out.
Build A Greenhouse – Get Started
As with all projects the first step is to get the right permits for the job. If there is going to be a big elaborate job then a permit is a must. However, depending on the size of the job you may not need a permit. For example a small lean to greenhouse shed that is built from a kit can be thrown together quickly. This type of greenhouse shed would not need a permit most of the time. Here is a link from HomeAdvisor to help you get started.
From my previous post here there are many different types of foundations for any shed. With a greenhouse you may want to do some planning. If you are building from a plan and not a kit, then think about what you are going to do with the greenhouse. Water supply will be needed so you need to think about a drainage system. All plants love water so lots of water can spill on the floor so it has to be cleaned up. That is where a drainage system and the proper foundation comes into play.
A gravel foundation is a nice and inexpensive way to get a nice foundation. However, if you are using this foundation as your floor, then over time it could turn to mud. So be careful as you may have to put more gravel down over time. Some have thought about putting a gravel foundation and then a wood floor like a typical shed. I do not recommend that due to the water issue and wood rot, so don’t do a wood floor.
A concrete foundation, in my opinion, is the most appropriate. You can build a drain system in the floor or just sweep the excess water after you water the plants. It will also allow for easy stacking of the pots and plants and you don’t have to worry about wood rot.
There are many greenhouse kits one can build and most are really nice. You have to figure out your foundation issue first and then build the kit that fits your needs. I have seen some kits modified nicely to fit exactly what the person desires and needs for their greenhouse. There are some nice ones here.
Greenhouse framing is not like typical framing. The framing can be with metal studs or with a typical wood frame. It depends on the plans and if you are building a greenhouse kit. If the studs are metal, then they will most likely be galvanized to prevent rust. Spacing for the framework will depend on the plans and windows that will be installed.
A greenhouse will be warm and humid to allow for proper plant growth. You do not want it to get too wet inside or you can develop mold. Therefore, you will need the proper ventilation and heat. There are a number of options for ventilation and you can check out my previous post on ventilation here. However, here are the basics but you can find a more detailed description at Greenhouse Megastore here.
- Calculate the CFM (cubic feet of air/minute) or the amount of air required for your greenhouse.
- CFM = length x width x height.
- CFM calculation = shutter speed recommendation.
- less than 1000 = 12″ shutter fan
- 1000-1300 = 16″ shutter fan
- 1300-2700 = 20″ shutter fan
- 2700-6300 = 24″ shutter fan
- 6300-12640 = 30″ shutter fan
- Check out shutter fans here.
The ceiling in a greenhouse will also be plastic panes or glass and some nice options are skylights with gas powered lifts depending on the humidity and temperature inside the greenhouse. Other options include sun dampening shades that can protect the plants from too much sunlight and heat.
Build A Greenhouse Options
As with all sheds and greenhouses you will need the proper shelving for your planting and potting things. There are a number of options for shelving. Depending on the look of your greenhouse you may want to get shelves that match. For instance, the framing is typically a metal frame so metal shelving would match nicely. However, plastic shelving may be less expensive and work nicely. It may not look as nice though.
If you build a greenhouse for planting you will need a water supply. All plants love water and you need water for your plants. Therefore, plan for a water supply as you may have to run a separate water line to the shed. If you have a guttering system, then you can save the water in a barrel and use it for your plants. You can check out my guttering article here.
Now that you have water available you have to think about draining it out of the shed. Planting and potting is nice, but you have to use water and water can be spilled everywhere. Once you have water throughout the inside of the shed you have to drain it out of the shed. I prefer a drain in the floor so it can be swept to the drain and funneled away from the shed foundation.
I touched on this earlier in the article. It is going to rain so why waste it. I learned this from my grandmother who saved all kinds of rain for the garden via a bucket at the gutter. They now have neat options for water saving such as Hall’s Rainsaver. You do not have to get that elaborate, but you can make something that will work. If you can save the rain water then you can use it for your plants. If you are unsure what options are available for your budget, then check out guttering here.
Skylights Gas Powered and Manual
I believe that skylights are a must with greenhouses and there are two types that I think of. The manual opening and closing skylight and the automatic type. I prefer the automatic. It just makes life easier with the gas powered cylinder opening and closing the skylight depending on the humidity and temperature. I believe it is a great option and one you will love because of it being automatic. However, check out all the options available here before you make your decision.
Having the right lighting for the greenhouse can be twofold. On one hand it can really light up the greenhouse for a great look. This is especially true if it is to be a dual purpose for planting but also an elegant addition to your home. However, if you are planting seeds for the garden, then you will need some grow lights and tables. You will need to put that together to allow for the proper amount of growth in the darker lit months.
Build A Greenhouse – Conclusion
There you have it. All the things you need to know to build a greenhouse. You can build a greenhouse from plans or a kit, but think about the size and purpose of your greenhouse. Options are many when it comes to outfitting the greenhouse so make sure you do your homework. Build it on the proper foundation with a water supply and drainage system. Make sure the skylights are installed and you will be on your way to planting and potting like never before.
All the best,