How to Build a Greenhouse in Your Backyard

If you’ve got a green thumb, a greenhouse can fit right into your lifestyle. Here’s how to build a greenhouse in your backyard.

Milling through the produce department, you notice that the fruits and veggies look rough, use harmful chemicals and are way overpriced! The only other option you can think of is to grow your own food.

Many Americans started growing at least some of their food over the past few years. Recent surveys show that about a third of American families have gotten into food cultivation.

To keep your plants healthy all year, you need a greenhouse. But, how do you build one? Where do you start?

Don’t worry! We put together a guide to explain how to build a greenhouse from the ground up. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know!

Get Your Permits in Order First

Before you even go buy a screw, you need to check with the local government to see what kind of building codes affect your greenhouse project. The last thing you want is a notice on your door telling you to tear down your brand new greenhouse because it violates a code.

Most cities have a process where you apply for a building permit and pay a fee, then wait for the city officials to approve or deny your request. Wait until you have the approval in hand before you move on to the next step.

Also, if you live in a gated community or a neighborhood with a homeowners association (HOA), they may have other bylaws restricting how and where you build your greenhouse. Check with them too before you start building.

How to Build a Greenhouse That Makes the Most of the Natural Sunlight

The whole point of a greenhouse is to use the natural light from the sun to nourish your plants. You don’t want to put the greenhouse under a big shady oak tree that blocks all the sun!

For the optimal amount of sunlight, a greenhouse should face south or southeast. That way you can take advantage of the early morning sun. If the south doesn’t suit you, an east-facing greenhouse works well in most climates as well. Your main goal is to find a spot on your property that gets at least six hours of direct sun each day.

Note: If you live in an area that sees a ton of snowfall in the winter, be sure the greenhouse can hold the weight of a blanket of snow without collapsing on all your beautiful plants (or you)!

What Kind of Frame Will You Choose?

Almost every greenhouse that exists has a frame built out of wood or metal. Both have pros and cons, so choose the best material for your needs.

Wood frames are easy to build and won’t break the bank. Keep in mind that wood does degrade over time and isn’t the best material to use for larger greenhouses.

Metal is weather-resistant and lasts for many many years. Aluminum frames are lightweight and strong, but they aren’t cheap!

Some frames only have 3 sides and butt up against your house. For some of the best lean to greenhouse options on the market, check out this website!

You can buy a variety of frame blueprints online to use when you build your greenhouse if you plan on doing it all DIY style.

What Material to Use for the Covering?

A glaze is the outer covering of a greenhouse and most people use either glass or some kind of plastic sheeting. Whatever you pick for your greenhouse glaze, you want it to be clear enough for the sunlight to reach your plants.

Traditional greenhouses use glass glazing and it works well. But, glass is heavy, expensive, and fragile. So, glass is very hard to work with as a greenhouse glaze material.

Because of the pitfalls of using glass, most DIY greenhouses use glazing made with fiberglass, polycarbonate, acrylic, or polyethylene sheeting. These options will degrade, discolor, or become damaged much quicker than glass though.

Flooring Options

Here’s where you can get creative with your greenhouse. Choosing the flooring for your greenhouse is easy!

Some people prefer natural flooring like crushed shell or gravel, while others prefer a more formal floor made from wood planks, bricks, or poured concrete. Whatever you choose, make sure it is comfortable enough for you to stand on while you work out in the greenhouse.

Temperature Control and Ventilation

Most areas see drastic changes in the temperature and weather over the years. Summers can have brutal searing heat and winters come with biting cold winds. You need to have some kind of environmental controls in your greenhouse to keep your plants healthy.

For hot weather, make sure to have windows that open and rooftop vents or exhaust fans to keep the temperature down. In the winter, keep your greenhouse warm with an electric heater controlled by a thermostat.

We’re So Excited That We Wet Our Plants!

Now that you have a basic understanding of how to build a greenhouse, You’re ready to get out there and start building… right? Not always.

If you still don’t have a clear picture of what you want your greenhouse to look like or if you’re debating between automated environmental systems, try going to visit some operational greenhouses near you for some inspiration. You might even ask the greenhouse owner about any issues they have faced with their greenhouse operation and get some valuable advice!

Once you get your greenhouse built, what kind of plants will you grow? For more blogs about home, gardening, and much more, check out the rest of our blog posts today!