A greenhouse means year-round gardening – the perfect fantasy for avid gardeners living in less than ideal seasonal climates. No more dying plants in the long droughts of summer or excessive rainstorms or a harsh winter season. Voila!
Eager to acquire this flexibility to garden any time of the year and even any type of plant outside of its typical season?
We are here to help! With some tips and tricks, we hope to help you build your very own DIY greenhouse – with our all-time favorite material, Plexiglass! Learn how to get started!
Things to Consider Before Building Your DIY Greenhouse:
First things first! Maintaining a greenhouse is not a small responsibility, so do make sure you think through all relevant aspects of your greenhouse design before committing to the build:
● Freestanding or Attached – Freestanding greenhouses offer a lot more flexibility in design and space – unrestricted by the accompanying structure as in the case of an attached greenhouse. In contrast, attached greenhouses provide benefits like shared heating and a lesser amount of construction cost.
● Orientation – Make sure the site of your DIY greenhouse is able to capture as many hours of uninterrupted sunlight as possible. Usually south or south-east orientation is recommended but make sure you check the site yourself to confirm.
● Framing Materials – Two of the most common materials utilized by greenhouse builders are wood and metal. They each have their own pros and cons: Wood being cheaper and easier to work with but greater susceptibility to wear and tear over harsh climates. Metal, in contrast, tends to be more expensive yet more durable over time.
● Covering / Glazing Options – There are a wide variety of popular glazing materials to choose from plastics to glass:
– Affordable options: Polyethylene sheets are easily worn down and needs replacement and acrylic plastic sheets provide good light diffusion, insulation and are durable.
– Expensive options: Polycarbonate tri-layered panels are durable but costly and glass is usually for aesthetic purposes but is difficult to install.
● Pathways & Room for Future Growth – We all know that growth is inevitable and eventually your DIY greenhouse might need some room for expansion. Do keep this in mind as you plan for your current greenhouse site – consider potential areas that can be expanded in the future.
Getting Your Tools and Materials Ready!
Building up a DIY greenhouse is not amongst the easiest projects but being well prepared for it can help you cut down plenty of lull time.
Make sure you have all your tools and materials ready so you don’t have to take an unplanned trip to your hardware or DIY store halfway through:
● Greenhouse frame – Make sure you have all the lumber or metal rods in place
● Structure hardware – You need nuts, screws, bolts, and brackets to hold the frame together, so plan out how many are required to support your structure
● Covering / Glazing options – Choose from amongst the various materials to fit your needs and budget – for home-based DIY greenhouses we highly recommend Plexi Glass as the ideal covering choice!
● Cooling, Heating, and Ventilation – Depending on your needs, you can pick the ideal systems that help achieve the interior climate you desire
● Foundation – special wood or poured concrete, or gravel and bricks
● Tape measure
● Leveling tools
● Drill driver
● Circular saw
● Safety glasses, ear protection
Start Building Your DIY Greenhouse with Plexiglass
1. Outline the exterior dimensions of your greenhouse site.
2. Put in place the foundation of the greenhouse within the outline – make sure to use your leveling tools to make sure the surface (be it wood or concrete) is level.
3. Set up the frame of your structure with your lumber or metal rods. Use the saws to cut the framing materials to proper fitting lengths, and secure them in place with all the bolts, nuts, and brackets with the help of your screwdriver.
4. Once the frame is set up, you can start covering it: starting with the sides followed by the roof. Make sure every area is covered up – you do not want any openings where cold air or rain can get in.
5. Set up the interior of your greenhouse with the necessary cooling, heating, and ventilation systems – this will help you “climate control” the inside.
6. Slowly acclimatize your plants to their placements in the new “indoor” environment. Do not do it just before the rainy or winter season – it will give your plants a shock and you don’t want that.
When is the Best Time to Start Building Your DIY Greenhouse?
Now that you have a good idea of how to go about it, when should you start your DIY project?
It could take a weekend to a few weeks to complete a DIY build. So, to ensure you have enough time to acclimatize your plants before the winter season, we would recommend you get started at the beginning of fall!
Otherwise, any time (other than in the middle of winter) is pretty much a good time to get started!