In March 2012, the Wall Street Journal reported that backyard greenhouses are the next big thing. “The backyard greenhouse is finally getting some respect,” writes Anne Marie Chaker in her article, Backyard Greenhouse: The New Woman Cave?, “Avid gardeners, many of them retired baby boomers, are building greenhouses not just for gardening, but also for crafting, reading, and lounging—in essence, a female version of the “man cave.”
Not only are greenhouses great for growing flowers and vegetables year-round, but they create a unique living space as well. How about throwing your next book club meeting in the green house? International Greenhouse Co reports that greenhouse sales have increased 30% in the past 3 years alone. Why not join the trend and build your own backyard escape?
To Kit or Not To Kit… That is the Question
The easiest way to build your own greenhouse is to purchase a greenhouse kit. There are dozens of websites selling greenhouse kits, ranging from small, simple styles to huge, extravagant designs. For ideas, inspiration, and comparison purposes, check out the green house kits at Greenhouse Kit (http://www.greenhousekit.com/), 4 Season Greenhouse (http://www.4seasongreenhouse.com/), and The Greenhouse Catalog (http://www.greenhousecatalog.com/). You’ll be sure to find lots of ideas, whether you intend to use a kit or design your own.
If you opt not to buy a kit, you’ll need to plan out your greenhouse before you take another step. Decide what you want it to look like, what materials you’ll need, and how much of each type of material you’ll need to buy. FloridaGardener.com states than in order to build a 32’x10’x10’ greenhouse, you’ll need 2’’x12’’ planks for the sides of your raised beds, 2’’x4’’ lumber for multiple areas, steel t-type fenceposts for staking beds, 20’x1/2’’ steel rebar, 20’x3/4’’ PVC pipes, ¾’’ metal pipe, pipe hanger brackets, and screws, UV-resistant greenhouse plastic, rabbit or gopher wire, and potting soil. That should give you a fairly good idea how what sort of materials—and how many materials—you’ll need for your project. Of course, these will vary with the size and style greenhouse you wish to build.
One last consideration: choose a location that has good sun exposure and is easily accessible to electricity and water. These will all be important to the success of your greenhouse.
Creating Your Backyard Masterpiece
Once you have all your supplies, you can begin to create the backyard greenhouse of your dreams. You’ll need an extra helper or two! There are many different styles of greenhouses, and the style you choose determines exactly how it’s built. For a wooden-framed green house, construct a wooden frame and attach PCV pipe to hold up the greenhouse plastic. The PVC pipes form the bones of your greenhouse’s walls. For illustrated instructions as to how to accomplish this, check out the article “A Small Backyard Greenhouse”(http://web.archive.org/web/20080714191144/http://www.sd1new.net/GardenPages/greenhouse.htm).
PVC Hoop-style greenhouse do not require a wooden frame and are made entirely of PVC pipe and greenhouse plastic. For detailed instructions how to construct this style of greenhouse, check out The Westside Gardener (http://westsidegardener.com/howto/hoophouse.html).
If you opted for a greenhouse kit, carefully follow the included instructions. No matter what style greenhouse you choose, be sure to use sturdy, high-quality building materials! This will prevent your greenhouse from being toppled or destroyed by wind or snow.
Preparing to Plant- Let’s Get This Garden Growing!
The greenhouse is only half done when the walls are up. Now it’s time to prepare your beds. You can build raised flower beds using 2’x4’s. Fill your beds with rich potting soil. It may also be beneficial to introduce earthworms to the environment.
You can configure the inside of your greenhouse to best fit your needs. Add as many or as few beds as you like. Add a wicker chair or recliner, electricity and interesting lighting features and your outdoor escape is ready to go. You’re ready to enjoy a beautiful garden year-round and may just have found your new favorite reading spot.