Choosing a Greenhouse

Careful planning will pay off when selecting and putting up a greenhouse.
Seedling in a Greenhouse

Seedling in a Greenhouse

Having a greenhouse means never having to give up gardening because of the weather. You can continue to propagate seeds and cuttings and grow a variety of plants from season to season. Having a home greenhouse is a dream for many gardeners, and there are many styles and sizes that fit most budgets and space considerations. When deciding on a style for your home, the sky's the limit. There are small solariums, medium-size greenhouses and larger structures like conservatories.

You'll find most greenhouses are made from aluminum, which is lightweight and weatherproof. Galvanized steel is also lightweight and very sturdy. You can also use wood, but be sure to choose pressure treated lumber, cedar or redwood for weather resistance. No matter which type of greenhouse you decide on, there are several considerations when choosing a building site:

Light

  • Sun-loving plants need six hours of sunlight. Sites with less need supplemental light.
  • A sheltered area is good, but too much shade results in poor growth. Look for trees, shrubs and structures that may cast shade.
  • Southern exposure is best, east or west is okay, but northern exposure is probably too shady.

Gorgeous Greenhouses

See All Photos

Shop This Look

Exposure

  • If the site is too exposed, it will be costly to heat in winter and keep cool in summer. Insulation can help in this situation.
  • Protection from wind will keep the greenhouse sturdy longer.
  • Too much shelter can mean not enough light.

Foundation

  • Be especially careful to choose a level area where water doesn't collect.
  • Many foundations are dug in and then filled with concrete.
  • Plan ahead when possible; the less frozen, wet or snow-covered your yard is the easier it is to lay the foundation. Contractors can thaw frozen ground and move snow, but it costs more.

Proximity

  • Putting a greenhouse against a house makes connecting water, gas and electricity easier.
  • The area in front of the greenhouse should be clear of obstacles.
  • The path leading to the greenhouse should be level and wide enough for a wheelbarrow. Be sure the ground is hard enough to withstand wheelbarrow traffic.

Materials

  • Galvanized steel, which is lightweight, is sturdy and won't rust. It can withstand weight up to 100 pounds. It's also good for windy areas because it can withstand winds up to 70 miles per hour, making it a good choice for inclement weather.
  • The greenhouse walls can be constructed from glass, which is heavy and can be expensive; film plastic, which is economical but not insulating enough for colder regions; or a rigid plastic, which is shatterproof and retains heat.
Keep Reading

Next Up

Greenhouse Flooring, Heating and Staging

Learn the essentials of greenhouse flooring, heating and staging.

Water and Lighting in a Greenhouse

Follow these tips for installing drip irrigation and lighting in a greenhouse.

Assemble a Greenhouse Kit

Create a level foundation and install a greenhouse.

Create a Cold Frame for Your Garden

Get a head start on spring planting with this DIY cold frame.

Discover the Joys of Pond Gardening

Maintaining a tranquil water garden is easier than you think.

The Makings of a Topiary

Linda Plato shows how to use topiaries in garden decor.

Topiary Gardening Tips

Create a showstopping garden sculpture with expert topiary care and maintenance tips for beginners.

HGTV Dream Home 2004: Landscape Design

What else would you expect from HGTV Dream Home than a perfect landscape? This landscape has the perfect view of the Georgia salt marshes and consists of many plantings.

Elements of Design: Unity

These simple guidelines can help you create a beautiful, unified garden regardless of your plant selection.

Pruning a Hedge

No matter what type of hedge you may have in your landscape, follow these steps to keep it healthy and shaped beautifully.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

On TV

House Hunters

8:30am | 7:30c

House Hunters

9:30am | 8:30c

House Hunters

10am | 9c

House Hunters

10:30am | 9:30c

House Hunters

11am | 10c

Best House on the Block

11:30am | 10:30c

Fixer Upper

12pm | 11c

Fixer Upper

1pm | 12c

Fixer Upper

2pm | 1c

Fixer Upper

3pm | 2c

Fixer Upper

4pm | 3c

Fixer Upper

5pm | 4c

Fixer Upper

6pm | 5c

Fixer Upper

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Fixer Upper

8pm | 7c

House Hunters

9:30pm | 8:30c

House Hunters

10pm | 9c

Fixer Upper

11pm | 10c

House Hunters

12am | 11c

House Hunters

12:30am | 11:30c

House Hunters

1am | 12c

Fixer Upper

2am | 1c

Fixer Upper

3am | 2c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.