A greenhouse is a man-made structure that creates a hospitable environment for plants that might have difficulty growing in the conditions of the great outdoors. From a small cupboard the size of a filing cabinet, to huge barn-sized operation, the design of a greenhouse depends on the space you can afford, and what you want to achieve.
Building a greenhouse is a great first step to having a flourishing garden at any time of year — one that offers unparalleled protection against frost, rain, wind, diseases, pests, and wildlife. This article will take you through four main preliminary points you should consider before building a greenhouse.
[tip_box]What makes a great greenhouse?
A greenhouse is a structure that regulates climate conditions. It can be of any size and shape, and has transparent walls and a roof, allowing the internal temperature to remain warmer than the outside temperature. Greenhouses are primarily made from glass, plastic, steel, and timber.[/tip_box]
1. Choose what you want to grow
The first step in building a greenhouse is deciding what you want to grow. Specific types of plants and vegetables require different microclimates to thrive during hot and cold months. Developing these microclimates will require specific materials, including heating, lights, and insulation.
- Tropical plants like cacti, orchids, and indoor plants will require heating in the winter months.
- Ornamentals like ferns and flowering plants will require different amounts of sun, shade, and heat.
- Cool month vegetables like carrots, lettuce, broccoli and peas will flourish in uninsulated green houses.
- Warm season crops like tomatoes, cucumbers, and capsicum will require lighting and heating.
For accurate advice on exactly what kind of set up you'll need to grow specific plants, visit All Green. Our onsite horticulturists will gladly advise you on the kind of microclimate you'll need to develop in your backyard.
2. Determine the size and shape of your greenhouse
Once you know what you're planting, and how much of it, it's time to see how much space you have to work with. Smaller greenhouses are easier to manage and control, while larger set ups allow for greater varieties and volumes of plant life.
- Terrariums are excellent for growing small plants and succulents. They can range anywhere from the size of a light bulb, to a large fish tank.
- Contained greenhouses are larger than terrariums, but can still host a variety of plant life. They are usually relegated to a specific area of the home, like the patio.
- Garden bed greenhouse are built around existing structures in the backyard, like garden beds. They can often be moved around to different positions as necessary.
- Full backyard greenhouses are ideal if you have the space to support a large operation. These walk-in structures allow you to house many types of plants.
3. Gather your materials
Now that you've outlined your new greenhouse project, you can start getting your materials together. It doesn't matter if you are working to a budget, or throwing some cash around — what's important is that you focus on what works best for your garden and vision.
Recycled materials like CD cases, old windows, PVC pipes, mason jars, and fish tanks make great structures. If it's protected, insulated, and at least semi-transparent, it can be a greenhouse.
Greenhouse kits are a great starting point for first time gardeners. These kits will give you everything you need to create the ideal microclimate in your setting, no matter what the size or shape.
Large scale greenhouse projects can be undertaken with the help of landscaping and building companies. If you've got the space and the resources to support a large operation, go for it!
4. Start building and monitoring your greenhouse
It's now time to get building and planting. The most important thing you can do for a new greenhouse is to continually monitor the environment you create. Here are some things to keep in mind as you are constructing your greenhouse in your backyard.
- Orientation: Keep an eye on where the sun directly and indirectly hits your new structure.
- Temperature: Make a record of internal and external temperatures around your project.
- Utilities: Ensure the free flow of water, air, and electricity to your new greenhouse.
- Accessibility: Make sure you leave room for paths and beds within your greenhouse.
- Expansion: Is there any possibility for future expansion around your site?
- Health: Continually monitor the soil quality and plant health in your new microclimate.
If you have any issues with your new project, get in touch with All Green. We have the experience and expertise to diagnose problems and offer you accurate solutions. We are all about helping you get the most out of your garden, so please don't hesitate to ask one of our friendly staff for a hand.