So you're thinking about building a greenhouse, congratulation! Creating a space to extend your growing season and or control your growing environment is an amazing adventure! When choosing your greenhouse you will want to take into account your budget and available space as well as how you will use the greenhouse. You will also want to understand your ability and willingness to engage in climate control, but this is a big issue that I'll save for a follow-up post. Read on below for an introduction to choosing the right greenhouse for your budget, available space, and desired use.
Budget and available space:
For us, living in the suburbs, we had just a corner of our yard available for the greenhouse and decided to go with a 12x10 ft. greenhouse on top of a paver stone base of approximately 15x15. Because we entertain a lot in our backyard, it was important to me that the greenhouse be pretty, as well as functional, so we purchased a glass and metal victorian greenhouse from Exaco, a Texas based company that imports from Belgium. These come in a variety of footprints and sizes. The same company also offers polycarbonate options, which are cheaper and more utilitarian looking. As you will find through a quick online search, a variety of cheaper options exist based on similar designs and footprints. Palgram appears to be a fairly common brand carried by both Amazon and Home Depot. I do not have personal experience with these options so be sure to do your research before purchasing.
How will you use the greenhouse?
We decided that the greenhouse should always be a place for two to three people to hang out in, so the space cannot be solely committed to growing and should look beautiful in the landscape. This is one of the reasons we went for a higher-end and heavier duty glass model from Exaco instead of a polycarbonate one or trying Palgram. If your greenhouse can be solely functional, you can choose one with greater energy efficiency and potentially dig its foundation down into the ground for free insulation. You can also consider a hoop house as they offer a lot more growing bang for your buck than a more ornamental option like we selected. If we ever manage to get our hands on more land and expand into larger scale flower farming, a hoop house will be one of our first purchases! Whatever type of greenhouse you select, a good resource for planning you greenhouse is the Greenhouse Gardener's Companion.
Two and a half years after taking the plunge and building our greenhouse it has been used to grow food for our family and bouquets for our friends; it has hosted 6 year old sleep overs and a 10 year anniversary dinner. Whatever your available budget and space, and however you plan to use your greenhouse, I am confident it will bring you heaps of joy!