greenhouse - a guide on how to build a greenhouse

Do you enjoy growing plants? Whether you like growing beautiful flowers, your own vegetables, or anything in between, true gardeners know the value of a greenhouse.

Just in case you’re not familiar with the concept, however, a greenhouse is a special building, usually made out of glass. It’s designed to keep plants sheltered from the cold, allowing you to be a successful gardener all year long!

And, while greenhouses might look expensive and like they’d cost a fortune to build, that doesn’t have to be the case. They don’t necessarily have to take up a lot of space either. 

In fact, you can actually build your own greenhouse if you like. If you’re interested in learning how to build a greenhouse, read on for some great tips.

Build a Miniature Greenhouse 

a beautiful greenhouse

If you’re short on space, you probably won’t be able to build the types of huge greenhouses you’ve seen on television or in gardening magazines.

However, don’t let that stop you. There are many plans and ideas out there for creating a miniature greenhouse. It can be as small as you like it!

If you want to make an easy greenhouse to house a few plants, a little lumber and some storm windows can do the trick.

You can simply build a box frame out of two by fours or other salvaged lumber, using screws to attach the lumber together. You then add in two by two cross pieces to hold your shelves, which will, in turn, hold your plants. You can make these shelves yourself by cutting lumber and running the pieces across the two by two pieces.

If you want the greenhouse to be more stable and also easier to transport, you can consider adding in two support pieces to the bottom of the frame.

Whether you do that last step or not, you can then attach basic storm windows (make sure you measure them first and plan appropriately) using more screws. It’s okay to go cheap and simple with these windows or to even get salvaged windows. After all, you’re not using them for your home.

You can add a “roof” onto your new greenhouse with more wood, or you can add in more glass that you have had cut to the right size. However you go about it, the result will be a cozy, cute miniature greenhouse that will keep your favorite plants safe all winter long.

Try Out BuildEazy Plans 

greenhouse plan

Some people read the idea we presented above and think, “Great! Let me try it!” Others read it and feel overwhelmed and like the task is an impossible one.

If you’re in that second group, don’t worry. It probably just means you want simpler instructions and a plan that is a bit more straightforward and, luckily for you, such an option does exist. In fact, many such options exist.

One of the best and simplest, however, is the BuildEazy set of plans. 

By following these plans, you can create a greenhouse with a two by four wooden frame and a UV resistant film. It’s larger than the first one we discussed, but not so large that it won’t work well for the average backyard.

If you use the BuildEazy plans carefully, you will create a greenhouse in simple steps, which makes this a great project for beginners. Our only complaint about the BuildEazy plan is the fact that the plans don’t call for a very secure base or very secure film materials. Thus, if you follow the plans exactly, you’ll get a greenhouse that might not do well with strong winds.

If that’s not a concern for where you live, go ahead and follow the plans exactly. If it is, however, you might want to add some adjustments, like making a stronger base and getting higher quality film than the plans suggest. 

Turn Your Patio, Deck, or Porch into a Greenhouse 

tiny home with a mini greenhouse

So far, when discussing how to build a greenhouse, we have really focused in on building a brand new structure. However, you don’t always have to build something totally new to get a greenhouse.

In fact, believe it or not, you can actually turn an existing structure into a greenhouse with ease.

If you have a screened-in patio or porch, for example, then you can easily replace the screen with glass for an easy, roomy greenhouse. Porches can also be equipped with glass panels to create a greenhouse.

In some cases, just working with what you already have is a whole lot easier than having to build an entire greenhouse from scratch.

Use an Umbrella 

DIY umbrella greenhouse

For those who want the simplest possible option for creating a DIY greenhouse, here it is: buy an umbrella and a wooden pot. 

Yes, we’re serious!

Your plant or plants go into the pot like normal. Then, you stake the umbrella through the center of the dirt and ensure that all the sides and top of the pot are covered by the umbrella.

It’s not perfect, but this will actually work as a small greenhouse, perfect for protecting one or two plants. And, of course, you can always make multiple mini greenhouses like these if you have more plants.

Something Lightweight Can Also Do the Trick!

Lightweight greenhouse

While any umbrella should do the trick, your best bet is to go for one made from lightweight PVC. This material will allow you to easily see through it and check on your plants. It’s also lightweight enough to allow for ventilation without being so lightweight that it doesn’t offer the proper protection for your plants.

We wouldn’t recommend this simple method for very serious gardeners or for areas with super heavy frost or snow. But for a basic gardener just trying to keep his plants safe during the cold winter, this method will work just fine.

Try the Hoop Method

greenhouse steel frame

If you want a larger greenhouse than the one described above but you still want to keep it simple, then we suggest getting or making a hoop.

You can actually buy metal hoops in varying sizes from home goods stores or even stores that sell dress forms, such as fabric stores. Whatever type of hoop you choose, you will want to carefully cover it in clear plastic to make your greenhouse.

You can add in shelves, which you make yourself or buy pre-made, as desired for a simple, efficient greenhouse that is sure to turn heads.

Get a Barn Base

barn-based greenhouse

For those willing to spend a bit more money on their greenhouse and/or for those with a bit more space to spare, a great idea is to buy a barn base and transform it into a greenhouse.

Many companies offer barns. If you go to one of these companies and ask them for just the barn base or frame, you might get some funny looks. But most will oblige and install the frame on your property.

From there, you can cover it with plastic, glass, or other suitable material to make a greenhouse.

What companies will charge will vary depending on size, brand, and more. 

Nevertheless, if you can find a company to help you, this is a surefire way to get an awesome greenhouse. Our advice is to reach out to different barn providers in your area and to compare prices to get the best deal to get your project started.

Transform Your Flower Beds 

Do you grow your plants or flowers in flower beds? If so, you will be glad to know that creating a greenhouse of sorts can be as simple as adding an effective casing over your flower beds.

Two storm windows – slanted and firmly attached in the middle – can make an easy transition from flower bed to greenhouse.

However, you could also take it a cheaper route by using heavy plastic or other material. The result, no matter how you do it, will be a simple, efficient little greenhouse or even several greenhouses that you can get a lot of use out of. 

If you like, you can even decorate the exterior casing of the miniature greenhouse or greenhouses to make them more attractive to onlookers.

Get Started Today

As you can see, learning how to build a greenhouse does not have to be nearly as difficult or as complex as you might have imagined.

In fact, with a little effort and a little material shopping, you can create greenhouses of varying styles, shapes, and sizes with ease.

Our advice is to check out these methods, do your research, and then come to an informed decision about which type of greenhouse you wish to make.

From there, it’s as simple as putting the plan into action and turning your idea into reality.

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