There are a number of things to consider before you go ahead with buying or building a greenhouse. These considerations can help you save time and energy when you plan ahead and avoid common problems.
There are so many greenhouse designs and styles to choose from these days. If you’re going for pre-made greenhouses, you will find a whole range in plastic, glass, polycarbonates, and partial aluminum or wood. Building your own might save on costs, but you’ll still be faced with many of the same issues to address.
First of all, consider the foundation. Will it be gravel, wood, cement, or brick? Or maybe you want to add a small pond inside it? Will you cover the floor with linoleum, carpet, or tiles? With a carpet floor, it is easier to change it in future, but it gets dirtier faster. Some greenhouse floor heating systems may need compatible flooring material, as well.
The location of the greenhouse is important. Depending on where you live, you might get only a few hours of sunshine a day or much more than that. Are there many trees surrounding your house? Make an observation regarding the amount of sunshine you get for your planned location. Also, if you live in a severe climate with lots of hail or snow, you might need additional protection for your greenhouse roof.
Although greenhouses can run on artificial lighting, the amount of sunshine it gets is still an important factor when planning your greenhouse. Southern latitudes get more winter sunshine in contrast to northern latitudes but less so in summer. So if you’re in the northern latitudes, make sure your greenhouse is sited where it receives the most sunshine. Also, you’d need to note that the climate exerts a major influence on the heat and humidity, and therefore, your watering frequency.
Constraints such as trees, uneven ground, or hilly terrain will influence your choice of location for your greenhouse. Trees and walls can provide protection against wind and rain in certain directions, but may also reduce the amount of sunlight the greenhouse receives. Space is a major constraint. If you only have a small garden, will the greenhouse take up too much space as to look out of place?
The climate/weather also needs to be considered. The amount of rain that the greenhouse receives requires you to build adequate drainage to deal with the rain runoff, while the wind speed and direction will require proper orientation of the doors and windows. You wouldn’t want a blast of wind entering the greenhouse every time you open the doors; neither do you want mud or sludge to pile up outside the greenhouse’s walls after a rainstorm.
While you don’t need to be an architect to build or install a greenhouse, you should try to think like one when you’re planning to have a greenhouse. Some gardening common sense and pre-planning goes a long way as well. There are greenhouse plans online that you can refer to, which helps. If you really don’t wish to plan so much, there are “pop-up” greenhouses available now, which are somewhat portable – and therefore, require less planning to setup. All the same, spending the time in planning up front will eventually give you more time for your plant care later on.
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