Adding a Backyard Greenhouse

Greenhouses provide the conditions required to keep plants thriving through the chilly winter months. They also serve as a great place to start seeds before moving them out into the garden proper, and to protect crops from heavy rains and fierce winds. For many people, the term “greenhouse” brings to mind a huge glass structure or polytunnel, but it is possible to construct your own small greenhouse right in your backyard.

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The Planning Process

Before beginning construction, plan out your greenhouse. For maximum daylight, we recommend you align your greenhouse lengthwise from east to west. Build the greenhouse out of the way of any major play areas, since the last thing you want is a baseball or rogue toy ruining your hard work.

Greenhouses are constructed out of either glass or plastic, and there are merits to both. Glass holds heat better than plastic sheets, and allows you to clearly see all your plants through the panes; however, the plastic is more flexible, easily shaped to a frame, and is broken less easily than glass.

Regardless of how you would like to design it, make sure your greenhouse has vents, doors, or some other way to let cooler air from outside flow through occasionally–on a warm day, it is possible for temperatures to get too hot for the plants inside. Ventilation will help prevent overheating or burning.

Choose Your Greenhouse Design

Try one of these ideas, or check out Pinterest for more inspiration.

Get antiquing with old windows. You can easily construct a small glass greenhouse by making a few visits to antique shops for old windows. These structures make a lovely, rustic addition to your yard, especially if you leave the wood paint distressed and weathered.

Upcycle a wood pallet. Pull apart a pallet and construct a simple wood frame, either standalone or as a lean-to against your house. Attach plastic sheeting over the frame. This is an excellent choice for mobility or to customize the frame for oddly-shaped corners.

Save space with a roll-up greenhouse. If you want an impermanent greenhouse that is easy to set up and break down, this may be your design of choice. Construct a square frame out of wood or PVC, lean it securely against your house, and attach a long sheet of plastic to the top of the frame. When you have plants you want to protect, pull the plastic sheet taut and stake it in front of the frame, forming a slope from the top of the frame to the ground like a lean-to. When not in use, simply roll up the sheet and tie it to the frame.

Do You Have s Small Budget? Not a problem. You can easily repurpose common, cheap items for a micro-greenhouse.

For seedlings already planted in the ground, cover them with two liter soda bottles. Simply remove the cap, cut off the bottoms and place over the seedlings. The plastic will keep the plants warm while the mouth at the top allows for gas exchange and ventilation. For small plants or saplings, you can buy a clear plastic umbrella and place it tent-like over them.

To protect seeds as they germinate, save the plastic clamshell containers from foods like strawberries or to-go sandwiches. You can start a few different seedlings in this micro-greenhouse by placing them inside and closing the lid partway.

For all the soil, gardening tools and gardening advice you need, stop into one of Big Earth Landscape Supply‘s 4 area locations. We have everything you need to have the most beautiful yard on the block.