A greenhouse is one of the best assets you can have in your backyard. If you are a plant-lover, having a greenhouse is a dream come true, but there are many factors to consider before getting one, one of the major one being where you should install it.
The perfect placement for your greenhouse is ideally on the south or southeast side of your house. Make sure the area receives as much sun as possible in the fall and winter. The east, southwest, or west side of your house are other great options if the first two aren’t available. If none of the aforementioned locations are available, the north side is your last choice and the least optimal site for your greenhouse.
In this article, we will talk about the ideal placement for your backyard greenhouse and how to avoid common placement mistakes. We will also give you tips to consider when building a greenhouse.
Where to Put Your Backyard Greenhouse
Proper greenhouse placement is an important factor to consider, so where’s the best place for your backyard greenhouse?
Ideally, your greenhouse should be on the south or southeast side of your house. Make sure the area receives as much sun as possible in the fall and winter. The eastside, southwest, or west side locations of your home are other great options if the first two aren’t available. If none of the aforementioned locations are available, the north side is your last resort and the least optimal site for your greenhouse.
It is best to set your greenhouse lengthwise from north to south rather than from east to west. The north to south position provides your greenhouse with more light and less shade. Sun exposure is the most important factor depending on the plant you plan on growing. Afternoon shade is another factor to consider for your greenhouse’s location.
It is also an advantage to place your greenhouse near big trees for they can provide shade during hot summers. Winter will benefit from added sunlight once the leaves have fallen. Sap, honeydew, and fallen leaves are considerations you must note when placing your greenhouse near deciduous trees and bushes.
The location of your greenhouse does not only determine the kind of structure that will work best but also the sun’s direction and intensity it will get. It will also determine what types of plants you can grow and the protection your greenhouse will have against storms or illegal human activities.
Also, think about the maintenance of the plants and greenhouse. Finally, avoid constructing a greenhouse at the base of a slope, where cool air collects and is prone to frost. Make sure that the location of your greenhouse is leveled and has good drainage.
As a homeowner, the thought of having a greenhouse makes us feel giddy. When planning to build one, it is best to consider the type of greenhouse you plan to construct and what plants you would like to grow inside. A small greenhouse is perfect for home growers who plan on growing plants for their own consumption and use. But for someone who wants to make a business out of growing plants, a large greenhouse may be ideal depending on the capacity of plants you plan to grow.
Greenhouses are something that a lot of gardening enthusiasts want in their backyards. Aside from its interesting look, greenhouses serve a very important purpose in terms of growing plants. Read our article to know the main purpose of a backyard greenhouse.
Things to Know When Building a Greenhouse
Plants are a wonderful and calming sight, especially if you have fruits and vegetables to harvest right in your backyard. But, there are a few things you should know before constructing a greenhouse, aside from planning it.
Below is everything you need to know before building a greenhouse in your backyard.
Your Reason for Building a Greenhouse
Many homeowners want to build a greenhouse because gardening is their favorite hobby, while others have different agendas as to why they want to have a greenhouse, whether for leisure or relaxation. In building a greenhouse, you can have one of these perks:
- All-season gardening – In greenhouse gardening, you don’t need to worry about fruits and vegetables in the winter. The greenhouse has a controlled environment inside that helps and is essential for plant growth, even if it is freezing outside.
- Perfect for everything – In greenhouse gardening, you can grow anything from flowers to herbs to vegetables, and fruits. The environment inside the greenhouse ensures the humidity and water vapors to make plants thrive.
- Plant protection – In a greenhouse, you can rest assured that your plants are well protected against harsh weather conditions, pest infestations, diseases, and other factors that could endanger your plants if they were planted outdoors. Plants that are grown in a greenhouse are healthier.
Greenhouses, in the long run, are a good investment, although they may be expensive to build considering the materials, labor, equipment, plant, and fertilizers that you will need at the beginning. Whether you choose to build your greenhouse on your own or purchase a kit with all the materials included can alter the overall price of your greenhouse.
The average national price of building a 12×12 foot greenhouse is $3,950. While planning it, make sure to get an estimate from at least three different contractors, together with quotations for the work. Make sure that each bid includes the site’s preparation, water supplies, and finishing work cost. Here are other cost estimates you might want to consider:
- Concrete flooring with labor – $540
- Greenhouse heaters (electric or propane) – $250
- 8×8-foot aluminum frame – $2,214 with delivery and polycarbonate panels that blocks 99.9% of UV rays.
Building a greenhouse over 300 square feet might be a smart idea since the cost would be lesser per square foot compared to a smaller-scale greenhouse, says the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. However, it might cost you more initially and in the long run.
Greenhouses come in two different styles, attached lean-to and standalone. An attached lean-to greenhouse is constructed against an existing structure, such as a house or another building, on one or more sides. Meanwhile, a standalone greenhouse is constructed as a separate building, typically near your garden.
Walls and Windows
In constructing the frame of your greenhouse, you can either use pre-treated wood, aluminum, steel, or old windows. The frame’s materials can vary as well. You can be creative in using a glass window or glass from the recycling center of a flea market, but polyethylene is the standard of some sort.
For the walls of your greenhouse, you can choose from polycarbonate, clear plastic sheeting, used windows, or fiberglass. In modern technology, you can also choose from insulated glass or glazing, which helps retain heat in your greenhouse.
In a greenhouse, vent openers are a must-have. They prevent your greenhouse from overheating and provide proper air circulation. Oscillating fans are recommended to be used year-round to prevent dead zones. With the advancement of technology, everything you need for your greenhouse can be automated, from fans to the heating system, A/C, and irrigation. This is especially convenient for you if you travel a lot or work throughout the day.
Permits depend on your location. If you are wondering whether you need a permit when building a greenhouse or not, we recommended you check with your local building authorities. In most rural areas, building a greenhouse doesn’t require a permit because it is an auxiliary building. However, local building authorities have the last say on whether you need a permit or not, so make sure to check with your local planning department.
Strength Against Weather
If you live in an area that experiences strong winds and storms, make sure to build a greenhouse that is anchored to a strong structure to prevent it from being blown away. Greenhouses’ frames that are anchored to heavy-duty footers assure you that the building isn’t going to get blown away; you might have shattered glass but it can be replaced.
If you are planning on building your greenhouse on your own, make sure that the frames are sturdy enough to withstand strong winds, storms, and the weight of snow. If your greenhouse isn’t sturdy enough, it will collapse and can put all the money, effort, and time you invested in it to waste.
If you are a fan of gardening, having a greenhouse in your backyard is probably something that you have dreamed of. If you are ready to make your dreams a reality, there are a few things that you have to deal with first, like building permits. Do you need a permit to build a greenhouse in your backyard? Read our article to find out.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Building a Greenhouse
Growing plants is never easy, whether it is for consumption or ornamentals, especially if you grow them in a greenhouse. Growing plants in a greenhouse requires both attention and time. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when having a greenhouse.
Humidity is good for plants. It contributes to the overall growth of the plants. However, too much of it can lead to the build-up of mold spores and diseases in your greenhouse, which can kill your plants or make them die of thirst.
It is best to research your plants’ needed humidity before planting them. Misting is one of the best ways to increase the humidity within your greenhouse if the level is inadequate there.
Too much sun exposure isn’t good for your greenhouse’s plants. In the winter, your plants need shade, and the greenhouse’s cover is increasing the heat inside. Thus, having a system to provide shade for your plants is an essential factor.
There is a wide variety of shading materials available at the Home Depot or DIY store. You can pull some designs over the roof, mounted on a pulley system on the ceiling of your greenhouse, or have an electronic monitor pull the shades automatically based on the amount of UV light. The prices of the mentioned shading materials vary depending on the design, style, and materials used.
Ventilation is essential for plants’ growth. Without proper air circulation, your plants will contract a disease and die. Thus, make sure your greenhouse has air vents as, without them, heat will rise inside and cook your plants on sunny days, even in the winter.
Various manufacturers offer automatic and more advanced greenhouse ventilation systems, whether battery-powered, solar-powered, or A/C-powered. It is way more convenient for you and saves you time from going outside, closing, and opening the windows.
Heating is necessary for your greenhouse plants, especially at night and in the winter, when temperatures drop dramatically. In areas such as southern Texas and Florida, greenhouse heaters are required, especially when temperatures drop below freezing.
House heaters are different from greenhouse heaters, so do not use one of your house heaters for they are not made for a moist and outdoor environment. Instead, buy heaters that are rated and designed for a greenhouse. It is also best to use an outdoor surge protector and rated power cord.
In a greenhouse, common garden soil might not be best for plant containers. Soil is easily compacted, killing the root system of your plants. In large containers, the top layer of the soil dries out while the bottom layer is trapped with water. This can also make the containers heavy and unsafe to lift or move.
It is best to use potting soil that has no garden soil in it. In hydroponic gardening, it is a common practice to use peat moss or coconut fiber in growing plants, which is highly suitable for greenhouse gardening.
Before planting anything, research and study the fertilizer and feeding requirements of your plants. Plants have different needs when it comes to fertilizer compared to what the standard “feeds-everything” fertilizer lets you think. It is best to keep a supply available for all the plants you have in your greenhouse.
We recommended grouping your plants based on their fertilizer, water, shade requirements. You can also use a marker system to help you identify each of your plant’s requirements. Doing so can save you time and effort and make your greenhouse growing season successful.
Growing plants in a greenhouse requires attention, time, and, most importantly, space. Keeping too many plants isn’t healthy for the plants’ growth in your greenhouse garden. If you are growing tomatoes, squashes, pumpkins, cucumbers, and other vine plants, research what is best in terms of container growing, fertilizer needs, and other requirements.
Plants that are too tall and bushy may provide other plants with too much shade. Diseases, mold build-up, and mildew growth may also be encouraged if plants come into contact with your greenhouse covering.
Arrange your plants accordingly, with enough spacing between each plant to prevent them from developing problems as they grow. Plus, insufficient space can also hinder the growth of the plants in your greenhouse.
One of the challenges that you have to face as someone who enjoys gardening are the different seasons, especially winter. Different plants have different environmental needs and most of them cannot survive extremely cold or hot temperatures. If you want to be able to garden and grow plants all year round, you need to get yourself a greenhouse.
Having a greenhouse is lovely because it allows you to enjoy all-season gardening by providing a controlled environment for your plants. To have this structure in your backyard, you can either opt to hire someone to build it for you or you can build it yourself. Whichever way you choose to go with, one of the most important factors that you have to consider is the location of your greenhouse.
As we have stated in this article, the best location for your greenhouse is a spot in your yard that receives as much sun as possible during fall and winter. In addition to the location of your greenhouse, there are other factors that you also need to keep in mind to make sure that your greenhouse is the best that it can be for your plants. As long as you remember the information that we shared and the tips that we discussed in this article, you are already one step closer to having the greenhouse of your dreams.