Whether it’s to extend the growing season or to expand your growing space, DIY greenhouses are so simple to make that you’ll be heading to the hardware store after reading this article!
Let’s look into the advantages of having your own greenhouse before we begin.
Advantages of Greenhouses
These days, greenhouse fixtures aren’t just reserved for farms or nurseries anymore. Thousands of home gardeners have built amazing DIY greenhouse projects right in their backyards.
As you’ll see in this article, a DIY greenhouse isn’t as hard as it looks. You can build a greenhouse with materials you can easily find at home.
If you’re not convinced, here are a few benefits of having greenhouses:
- Extend your growing season – It’s no surprise that a greenhouse has positive benefits for vegetable growers. Because DIY greenhouses give you full control over your plant’s environment, you can tweak conditions to keep your plants growing for as long or as short as you like.
- Weather protection – Rain or shine, greenhouses can protect your plants from high winds, storms, and even the cold of winter.
- Pest Prevention – An enclosed and controlled greenhouse has the ability to prevent pests and other unwanted creatures to protect your plants.
- More Plants To Grow – For gardeners who love tropical plants, greenhouses are a perfect way to keep in humidity and perfect conditions for growing jungle-native plants in the garden!
- Portability – Mini greenhouses made of light, movable materials, make it easier for you to move your greenhouse around as much as you like. A portable greenhouse is a perfect option for those who move houses or locations often.
- Customization – DIY greenhouses are arguably the ultimate garden project! Greenhouses provide a fun way for serious gardeners to incorporate a love of craft and dedication to nature.
Before you start: Making Your Greenhouse Plans
Before building your DIY greenhouse, there are a few things to consider. Your greenhouse plans will largely depend on these considerations:
Budget: How Much Does it Cost to Build a Greenhouse?
Most greenhouses will run you a few thousand dollars to create. With an average price of at least $5,000 dollars, you’ll have to calculate the costs of your DIY greenhouse.
Fortunately, a lot of affordable options are available; even free! Old windows, plastic bottles, and other free building materials are more than available for your backyard greenhouse!
Naturally, you will be spending according to the type of greenhouse you want to build. This guide will have alternatives for every price point.
The cost of your DIY project will largely depend on the size and build of your greenhouse. A great idea is to consider the amount of space your garden has, as well as the number of plants you plan to grow inside your greenhouse.
Mini greenhouses are definitely much cheaper in terms of building material and structure. Bigger, elaborate DIY greenhouses made of glass and wood need more planning and extra costs.
To build a greenhouse, you’ll need space! A larger backyard garden can accommodate more plants than a balcony. All in all, the best greenhouse is one that can adapt to your needs.
Frame & Floor
The very structure of a greenhouse is its frame. A wood frame can support bigger and more long-lasting greenhouses, while a PVC pipe frame is a cheaper alternative for a small greenhouse.
Your DIY greenhouse’s frame is mostly a personal preference, but a few ideas you might want to consider are:
- Wood Frame – For a long-lasting and durable structure, you may want a wood frame. Greenhouse designs often incorporate wood because it is sturdy and cost-effective in the long run.
- PVC Pipe – For those on a budget, an easy to assemble and cheap option is a PVC pipe frame. Greenhouse plans for mini structures often use PVC pipes because it’s easily accessible for DIY projects.
- Steel – Industrial greenhouses make use of this material because of its durability, but it can run up your budget.
- Cold Frame – This mini greenhouse option isn’t technically a frame; it’s a mini greenhouse all in itself! Paired with glass and wood, a cold frame is a small greenhouse you can easily buy online.
Greenhouse floors are extremely important. For one, it provides a passageway for you to walk on. It’s also where you can put a raised bed, shelves, or other structures for your plants.
Established greenhouses are often built straight on the earth without much flooring. DIY greenhouses can work just the same, as long as there’s enough space to grow plants.
If you lack floor space, a great idea might be to include shelves and vertical structures to maximize the height of your greenhouse.
In construction, “glazing” is a term that refers to the material that covers your greenhouse. Whether that’s glass or plastic, it’s always a good idea to consider what greenhouses do: They trap heat and keep plants in optimum conditions.
Ideally, your greenhouse’s frame structure should match up with your glazing. Wood greenhouses work best with glass, while PVC types go well with plastic and polycarbonate. However, there are a lot of glazing options you can choose from.
- Plastic Bottles – A recycled bottle can be used as a pot, a watering can, and even a greenhouse! Clear bottles are portable and take in sunlight well while trapping heat.
- Glass – The traditional greenhouses of the past made use of glass because of its ability to take in light and keep heat. Old windows from your house can easily be used instead of buying glass at the hardware store.
- Polycarbonate Panels – More modern greenhouses make use of polycarbonate panels as a cover. This material is affordable and durable; however, it does get dusty and scratches easily.
- Plastic – A big plastic cover might be the best option for a smaller greenhouse structure. Plastic is extremely cheap and a
Location is everything in gardening! When setting up a greenhouse for your garden, you’ll have to consider these:
- Weather conditions – A garden in America is completely different from one in another continent. Weather conditions like a cold winter, high winds, or even sweltering heat will need different greenhouse materials.
- Sunlight – The success of your garden will largely depend on the sunlight you receive. Greenhouse glazes like glass and clear plastic allow more sunlight to enter, while polycarbonate panels receive less sunlight.
- Local Guidelines – Before making your DIY greenhouse, you will have to check your local ordinances and guidelines. This might include checking the homeowners’ association or your apartment’s guidelines for a greenhouse permit.
DIY Greenhouse Plans
Now that you’ve coursed through all the necessary materials for your greenhouse, we’ve compiled our favorite DIY plans to add to your garden! You can definitely mix and match these ideas with your own.
Each of these plans has a set of instructions to build your greenhouse, including the materials, the plan itself, and the price point of each project.
For The Earth Lover: DIY Recycled Plastic Bottle Greenhouse
Materials: 1.5 Liter Plastic Bottle, Framing
This amazing greenhouse plan is a great way to build your own structure with recycled bottles.
Mini Plastic Bottle Greenhouse
For adding the greenhouse effect to single plants, a plastic bottle is a great DIY for those with small garden areas. Simply use a bottle with the same diameter as your plant’s pot and place it on top of the soil. This small DIY project is best for seedlings and allows higher levels of heat and humidity for your plants.
Plastic Bottle Frame Greenhouse
If you’re itching to create a larger structure, this greenhouse relies on using plastic bottles as the roof, windows, and even door for frames.
To build this greenhouse, you can use established plans that call for a wood frame. Instead of using a plastic cover or glass to cover the structure, you’ll be using plastic bottles.
The process for this is quite simple. Take a regular 1.5L plastic bottle, puncture a hole at its bottom (the center area) around the same size as the bottle cap (around 1.5 inches). Then, stack these together. Feel free to use a small plastic pipe with a similar diameter to the bottle cap and slide it in the middle of this stack for added structure.
These bottles can be stacked together and attached to the initial frame with a glue gun or superglue.
For the Smalltime Gardener: DIY Mini Greenhouse (Cold Frame)
Materials: Old windows, Plywood, 2 Hinges, and Nails
While cold frames can only accommodate a small number of plants compared to your usual greenhouses, this mini cold frame is portable, customizable, and easy to make. This DIY project is also perfect as a mini winter greenhouse and keeps plants in warm temperatures.
Measure your old windows and base the total size of your cold frame on that, taking note of both the length and the width. Afterward, hammer 4 pieces of measured wood together, as if to build a square or rectangle shape.
Then, attach hinge spacers, and then the hinges on your window; secure this cover on top of your wooden box. That’s it!
This DIY cold frame can be tailored to your needs. For an angled cold frame like the ones at your local store, you may want to make angled wood panels according to your desired shape.
For the Budget-Friendly Gardener: DIY PVC Pipe Greenhouse
Price: Less than $50
- (13) 5 ft PVC pipes
- (4) 3.5 ft PVC pipes
- (6) 3-Way Fittings
- (4) 4-Way Fittings
- (4) 45 Degree Elbow Fittings
- Plastic Cover
- Saw or Knife for Cutting
Note: For this DIY greenhouse, you will want pieces with the same diameter. A good size will be 1-inch circumference PVC pipes.
This portable greenhouse plan is simple to make and produces amazing results. It is best used for small gardening spaces and can be modified to add more space and uses pipes as frames.
Start by taking four pieces of your 5ft pipes. Cut off at least 4 inches from each 5ft piece, and you’ll be left with four pieces measuring 4.67 feet (or 4 feet and 8 inches).
Take the pieces of your 4.67ft pipes and connect them like a square with all of the 3-way fittings for the base. Afterward, take four new pieces of 5ft pipes, and attach them on top of the 3-way fittings.
Then, take all the 4-way fittings and attach them on top of the recently placed 5 ft pipes. On the sides of these fittings, you will be attaching a total of four 5-ft pieces to produce another square shape. On top of the fittings, put in the 4-inch pieces you cut off from earlier.
With the 4-inch pieces in place, attach all 4 elbow fittings on each side. Make sure that each pair of elbow fittings will face each other and add in two 3.5ft pipes for each pair.
To connect the 3.5 ft pipes, use a 3-way fitting. You will be doing this twice.
Finally, connect each ‘roof’ of this greenhouse with your remaining 5 ft pipe. Use a plastic sheet cover as the walls of your house and you’ll have your own backyard creation in no time!
For The Practical Gardener: DIY Hoop House
Materials: Raised Beds, PVC Pipes, Plastic Cover
- (3) 10 ft PVC Pipes
- (2) 5 ft PVC pipes
- (4) 56-inch PVC pipes (4 ft 8 inches)
- (4) 4-inch PVC Pipes
- (4) 90 degree Elbow Fittings
- Plastic Cover
*Note – Use the same circumference size for every pipe.
This simple DIY greenhouse is a great way to extend your growing season and one of the best greenhouse plans for vegetable growers. The hoop-like frames of this greenhouse can be used as a trellis for plants that enjoy climbing.
Assemble your pipes by taking 1 90-degree elbow fitting and attaching 1 4-inch pipe. Afterward, connect the pipe to a 3-way fitting. Make sure that the 3-way fittings are pointed upward, while the elbow fitting is parallel to the ground. Do this 4 times.
Afterward, take a pair of the newly assembled pipes and attach a 56-inch piece in between the elbow fittings. Do this 2 times. This will be the width of your greenhouse.
For the length of the greenhouse, attach a 5ft piece to the other end of the 3-way fitting from the width, and then add one more 3-way fitting at the end. Do this twice, and connect the entire base together.
At this point, you will have a rectangular base and four 3-way fittings facing upward. Attach a bent 10ft PVC pipe in between a pair of the 3-way fittings in a hoop-like shape. Do this twice, and cover the greenhouse with a plastic cover of your choice. Feel free to add your raised beds inside afterward!
This DIY greenhouse plan is extremely affordable and takes less than an hour to assemble. For added stability, feel free to tie your plastic cover to the pipes.
For The Fool-Proof Gardeners: Greenhouse Kits
If you’re a fan of small DIY projects and prefer zero hassle, a greenhouse kit may be for you. Several of these greenhouses are already equipped with all of the materials you already need.
A greenhouse kit is great for smaller gardens and has its own tutorial included. Most of these greenhouses are created with plastic or thin metal frames.