You may have decided to build a greenhouse because you’re interested in growing vegetables or plants year-round. Moreover, you may also want to raise tropical plants or even fruit trees. Notably, having a gorgeous garden structure on your property you can customize according to your tastes and needs is a wonderful idea.
Whatever your reasons are, building a greenhouse can be an exciting project. But there are many different factors to consider before embarking on this endeavor:
Table of contents
1. Decide On A Type Of Greenhouse
The first decision you’ll have to make is what type of greenhouse you want. Many different types are available, some more suited to certain climates than others.
For example, hoop houses are great for cold climates and warm environments. However, they’re not as energy-efficient as the steeled traditional backyard greenhouse. For this reason, most people choose either cold frames or traditional greenhouses when building their backyard garden.
Cold frames are small structures that sit directly on top of your soil and provide protection from frost but still allow light to come in. On the other hand, traditional greenhouses sit off the ground and have vents at the bottom to let hot air out while allowing cooler air in. While hoop houses can be built above or below ground, depending on how far north you live.
2. Identify A Location
Your location should receive direct sunlight for at least 6-8 hours of the day. The greenhouse should also be sheltered from the wind and protected from flooding. So, no matter how rainy outside and how strong the winds kick up, you’ll still enjoy your crops inside your greenhouse.
It’d help if you also considered whether or not there’s a nearby water source, such as an irrigation system that you could hook up to your greenhouse. You can keep everything appropriately watered without going out into inclement weather conditions.
3. Choose Materials
Often than not, the most commonly used material for greenhouses is glass, but nowadays, people prefer using polycarbonates because of their durability in resisting environmental conditions and physical damage. In choosing the materials to use, you must always consider that it’s easy to clean and maintain. In addition, you may want your greenhouse to select other eco-friendly and affordable materials.
4. Choose How To Heat And Cool The Greenhouse
The most important thing to consider when choosing how to heat and cool your greenhouse is whether you want to use passive solar heating. You’ll have to build your greenhouse in an area with good sun exposure and proper insulation. A wood stove can also be used for heating and cooling a greenhouse without relying on a power source or mechanical system.
Furthermore, a propane heater is another option for heating. However, if you choose this type of heater, ensure that it has safety features such as automatic shut-off and flame failure detectors built in so you don’t risk burning down your greenhouse by accident. An air source heat pump works well for cooling applications because it uses electricity but no fossil fuels which means no emissions are released into the atmosphere.
5. Select The Right Ventilation System
A greenhouse is a miniature ecosystem and to function correctly, it needs to maintain an environment conducive to plant growth. Plants need sunlight, water, and air. The amount of sunlight allowed into the greenhouse depends on the type of plants being grown and their requirements for light intensity. If you’re growing tropical plants, then natural ventilation is insufficient as these plants need higher humidity levels than other types.
A sound ventilation system will ensure your plants get enough oxygen while keeping excessive heat out of the greenhouse. It would help if you also considered how much energy will be used by a particular system because some systems are more expensive than others.
6. Check Codes, Permits, And Zoning Restrictions
Before building your greenhouse, it’s essential to check with your local authorities. For example, if you live in an area prone to wildfires, your greenhouse needs to adhere to specific fire-proofing guidelines.
Moreover, check with the local zoning and planning boards on whether they allow greenhouses in homes or if there are any restrictions on the size of a greenhouse you can build. In addition, you’ll also want to check with utility companies such as electricity and water to know how much power and water usage you’ll need for a greenhouse.
If you plan on hiring green contractors or subcontractors during construction, make sure they are licensed professionals who understand what it takes to build a sustainable structure.
The greenhouse project is a lot of work, but it’s a fun task. When you want to grow plants but live in an area with difficult climates, the greenhouse can be your go-to garden. By choosing the right location, type, and materials, you can grow beautiful and healthy plants. If you’re ready to start planning your greenhouse, use the tips mentioned above to build one successfully.