How to Build a Greenhouse in Your Backyard

How to Build a Greenhouse in Your Backyard

How to Build a Greenhouse in Your Backyard


Have you ever dreamed of having a greenhouse in your backyard? A place where you can grow vegetables, flowers, and herbs all year round, regardless of the weather outside? Well, with a little bit of planning and some DIY skills, you can make that dream a reality. In this article, we will walk you through the steps of building a greenhouse in your backyard, from choosing the perfect location to adding the finishing touches.

Step 1: Choose the Right Location

The first step in building a greenhouse is selecting the right location in your backyard. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Find a spot where your greenhouse will receive maximum sunlight throughout the day. Most plants require at least six hours of direct sunlight to thrive.
  • Avoid low-lying areas that are prone to flooding or areas that are shaded by tall trees or buildings.
  • Consider the orientation of your greenhouse. If you live in the northern hemisphere, a south-facing greenhouse will receive the most sunlight.
  • Ensure that the location is easily accessible for watering, heating, and ventilation.

Step 2: Choose the Type of Greenhouse

There are several types of greenhouses available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few popular options:

1. Lean-To Greenhouse

A lean-to greenhouse is attached to an existing structure, such as your house or garage. This type of greenhouse is ideal if you have limited space in your backyard.

2. Free-Standing Greenhouse

A free-standing greenhouse is a separate structure that can be placed anywhere in your backyard. It offers more flexibility in terms of size and design.

3. Hoop House Greenhouse

A hoop house greenhouse is made of a series of bent metal or PVC pipes covered with a plastic sheet. It is a cost-effective option for those on a tight budget.

Step 3: Prepare the Foundation

Before you start building your greenhouse, it is important to prepare a solid foundation. This will ensure that your greenhouse remains stable and secure. Here are a few options for greenhouse foundations:

  • Concrete slab: A concrete slab provides a durable and level surface for your greenhouse. It is the most recommended option for larger, permanent greenhouses.
  • Gravel: A layer of compacted gravel provides excellent drainage and stability for smaller, portable greenhouses.
  • Wooden deck: If you already have a wooden deck in your backyard, you can repurpose it as a foundation for your greenhouse.

Step 4: Build the Frame

The frame is the backbone of your greenhouse, providing structure and support. The materials and techniques used will depend on the type of greenhouse you chose. Here are a few general tips:

  • Wood is a popular choice for greenhouse frames as it is readily available and easy to work with. Cedar and redwood are particularly resistant to rot and insect damage.
  • If you opt for a lean-to or free-standing greenhouse, consider using aluminum or galvanized steel frames for added strength and durability.
  • Ensure that your frame is securely anchored to the foundation to withstand strong winds.

Step 5: Add the Glazing

The glazing is the material that covers the frame of your greenhouse, allowing sunlight to enter while retaining heat and humidity. Here are a few options for greenhouse glazing:

  • Glass: Glass provides excellent light transmission and is the most durable option. However, it is heavy and can be expensive.
  • Polycarbonate: Polycarbonate panels are lightweight, shatterproof, and provide good insulation. They come in various thicknesses and are relatively affordable.
  • Polyethylene film: Polyethylene film is the most cost-effective option. It is easy to install and replace, but it has a shorter lifespan compared to glass or polycarbonate.

Step 6: Install Ventilation and Heating Systems

Proper ventilation and heating are essential for maintaining the optimal conditions inside your greenhouse. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Ventilation: Install windows, vents, or louvers that can be opened and closed to regulate the temperature and humidity inside the greenhouse.
  • Heating: Depending on your climate, you may need to install a heating system to keep your greenhouse warm during the colder months. Options include electric heaters, propane heaters, or geothermal heating systems.
  • Automatic systems: Consider installing automatic ventilation and heating systems that are controlled by thermostats or timers. This will help maintain a stable environment even when you are not around.

Step 7: Create the Interior

Now that the structure of your greenhouse is complete, it’s time to add the finishing touches and create a functional and productive space. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Benching: Install benches or shelves to provide ample space for your plants. Consider using materials that are resistant to moisture, such as cedar or aluminum.
  • Irrigation system: Set up an irrigation system to ensure that your plants receive sufficient water. Options include misters, drip irrigation, or a simple hose with a watering wand.
  • Shade cloth: In hotter climates, it may be necessary to install a shade cloth to protect your plants from excessive heat and sun exposure.

My 2 Cents

Building a greenhouse in your backyard is a rewarding project that can provide you with fresh produce and a year-round gardening space. Before you start, make sure to check local building codes and regulations. It’s also a good idea to sketch a rough plan of your greenhouse to get a better idea of the size and layout.

Consider your specific needs and budget when choosing the type of greenhouse, foundation, frame, and glazing. Remember to prioritize good ventilation and heating systems to create a stable and healthy environment for your plants.

Lastly, don’t forget to stock up on essential gardening supplies, such as potting soil, fertilizers, and seeds. Happy gardening!