Did you know the humble greenhouse is over 2,000 years old? Modern historians credit the ancient Romans with their development, as they created this structure to produce cucumbers for their ailing emperor even in the dead of winter.
Today, greenhouses are still popular for the exact same reason—there’s nothing like being able to grow your own healthy produce year-round!
But if you’re building a greenhouse of your own, you may be overwhelmed by the factors you need to consider. Fortunately, it’s not hard to construct the perfect design for your needs, as long as you keep these five things in mind.
Before you get too far into building a greenhouse, you’ll want to settle on the right location.
If you have a separate, freestanding greenhouse, you’ll have fewer building restrictions as you design. However, a greenhouse attached to the house is easily accessible, provides extra living space, and offers extra heat if you’re building a winter greenhouse.
Don’t forget to also consider orientation. If only some parts of the greenhouse will be glass, make sure to opt for a south- or east-facing orientation to make the most of the day’s sunlight.
2. Heating Systems
To create an optimal environment for your plants, you’ll want to think about heating while you build a greenhouse. You may not need electricity, depending on where you live and how much time and effort you can put into the heating. However, purchasing a special greenhouse heater can be easier and more effective in the long run.
If you’re opting for a purchase, decide what kind of heater is best for your needs, and make plans to incorporate it into your design. Even once the heater is set up, be sure to install a thermometer to monitor the indoor temperature in case of heater failure.
3. Indoor Beds and Pathways
Depending on the size of your greenhouse, you’ll want to install different kinds of beds and pathways for your plants.
Make sure to opt for wide pathways if you plan to bring in a cart or wheelbarrow. You should also leave a little free space near the door as a staging area, allowing you to bring in mulch, dirt, and new plants as you settle in. You may also want to consider putting industrial LED light fixtures directly over your plant beds if you think you’ll be doing evening or nighttime gardening.
4. Watering System
If you’re building a small greenhouse, it may be easiest to use a garden hose to water your plants. However, if you want to be more efficient, or if you have a larger project in mind, you may want to install a watering system. This can keep your plants watered on schedule with low effort on your part, leading to healthier plants in the long run.
5. Building Materials
As you can probably guess, most traditional greenhouses are built using glass panes. However, there are other modern materials available as well. Polyethylene and polycarbonates can be more durable than glass, and these lighter films can also be more cost-effective.
Don’t forget to also consider the framing materials! You may want to opt for traditional wood or metal, and PVC is a viable, low-cost option as well.
Building a Greenhouse That Works for You
Building a greenhouse can be a huge project, but it’s one that will offer some equally huge (and very tasty) returns on investment. With the right setup, you’ll find that you can cultivate some of your favorite crops no matter the season, including some delicious winter cucumbers. Keep these factors in mind to construct the perfect greenhouse for your needs!
Looking for more tips to help you make the most of your yard and home? Check out our other blog posts for more.