Are you an avid gardener who wants the joy of nurturing plants to fruition all year long? Or maybe you want to create a warm outdoor space that you can enjoy during the winter while still being “outside?” Whatever your reason, if you have come across this article, you have researched how to build a greenhouse. To get you started on building a greenhouse, we have written a comprehensive article to address the purpose and building style as well as building requirements and materials. Let’s jump right in!
What to Consider Before Building a Greenhouse
1. What is the Purpose of the Build?
First and foremost, what is the purpose of this build? Most homeowners invest in a greenhouse to grow produce or plants all year long, even those in the temperate climate of Southern California like Encino. However, others have chosen greenhouse designs to build a conservatory, a garden shed, a recreation space, a hot tub room, a dining room, etc.
You, as a homeowner, can do whatever you want, but determining its function will significantly aid in designing the greenhouse and minimize unnecessary costs.
Before diving further into building a greenhouse, take the time to analyze your budget and timeline. Greenhouses start at $250 and can be as expensive as $25,000, so it is highly advised to lay out a budget before making decisions. Plus, remember to consider operating and maintenance costs that will continue after the build.
2. What Style of Greenhouse Do I Want?
There are two ways to determine a “style” of a greenhouse, according to temperature or architecture.
2.1: Temperature Styles
Temperature styles are based on the desired temperature you want to maintain within the greenhouse, such as:
– Cold Greenhouses: Below Freezing
– Cool Greenhouses: 45-50F
– Warm Greenhouses: 55 F
– Hot Greenhouses: 60F
2.2: Architectural Styles
When choosing an architectural style for your greenhouse, it is generally recommended to pick one that complements the home’s existing architecture. Here are a few general styles to choose from, although a designer may be able to modify the structure depending on your specific wants.
– A-frame: Minimizes materials and looks like a triangle.
– Gothic arch: Curved roof and resistant to extreme temperatures.
– Conventional / Post & Rafter: Excellent roof support and maximizes space.
– Freestanding: Allows transport or removal of the greenhouse when not needed.
Welcome to Part 2 of the What to Consider Before Building a Greenhouse Guide! In this two-part guide, we walk homeowners through the greenhouse building design process. If you haven’t read Part 1 of the series, we highly recommend reading it first. If you have, good job, and let’s go straight into the next part!
3. What are the Building Requirements?
After determining the function and style of the greenhouse you desire, it is necessary to determine what building requirements you will need to have a safe and effective greenhouse. These internal systems must work cohesively together to create a functional space. Here are the basics that must be addressed:
– air circulation
– flooring type
– heating or cooling
– water access & irrigation
– weather resistance
– sunlight maximization
*If you intend for this greenhouse to be a recreational area, some of the above may not apply to you.
3.1: How Much Space Do I Need?
How much space you will need depends on how you plan to use the area. If you are using it as a recreational zone, you will need to plan out which furniture and items you intend to put in the space (with some wiggle room, of course).
However, if you are like most who plan to use a greenhouse to grow produce or plants, you will need to consider:
– What and how much do you want to grow
– How much space each plant will take from seed to full growth
– How much space each plant will need around it as “dead space”
– Where you will place aisles, walkways, and working space
– Where you will place benches, racks, hanging baskets, or other tools
– How much room your essential utilities and building requirements will need.
Additionally, remember to consider how much space you have available to work with before making lofty plans; it all has to fit in the end.
3.2: What permits do I need for building a greenhouse?
Whether or not you need permits will depend on your specific location and what you intend to build. We highly suggest researching your city’s requirements and speaking with a hardscaping consultant.
4. What Materials Do I Want to Use?
Again, your function and style will significantly determine what materials you will need. For example, an A-frame would likely have glass windows, whereas a freestanding would use plastic.
The primary materials in a conventional greenhouse build include that needed for covering, framing, and excavation:
– Covering: Glass, fiberglass, polyethylene, or polycarbonate
– Framing: Wood or steel
– Excavation: Concrete, pavers, or gravel
Speaking with a design consultant will help you narrow down which materials are suitable for you and your budget. We want to point out that greenhouses are ideal for using recycled or repurposed materials. If you have access to old windows or are willing to hunt for recycled materials, you could save quite a lot of money and reduce waste.
In Part 1, we briefly talked about budgeting. Choosing the appropriate materials for your budget is highly important, but it is also critical to add in the costs of labor as well. When pricing out your build, make sure to get an in-depth estimate from your contractors that includes all materials and labor.
Design Scapes Garden Landscape Services – LA
Are you ready to take the next step in designing your greenhouse? Give us a call today to book a consultation. We will help guide you through the backyard design process and advise you on which actions you should take before building a greenhouse. We serve the greater Los Angeles area, from Encino to Rancho Palos Verdes.