Greenhouses are an excellent resource for gardeners as they offer a structure and space to grow plants year round. They also afford protection from the climate in any part of the country and the ability to grow non-native plants. Many horticulturists and hobbyist gardeners build their greenhouses and spend a lot of time in them.
Whether you want to grow fruits and veggies or flowers, it is possible to build a greenhouse by finding the needed parts on sale. Depending on the required size, the cost of getting a greenhouse professionally constructed or taking it on as a DIY project can vary.
Here are some of the things to consider:
- Size: This is the first item to consider as a bigger greenhouse will be more expensive. For a serious gardener, a structure which is 10 x 10 is the smallest. Keep in mind that a serious gardener can fill this space up quite easily. For an amateur gardener, a 6×6 greenhouse will be more than enough. Prices can range from $3,500 to $25,000.
- Amenities such as HVAC systems to maintain a constant temperature and humidity, sensors to open and close windows and vents, grow lights and feeders can be included – which will drive up costs.
- Choice of materials: Building materials usually add to costs. Wood frames or aluminium ones can be used with glass or polyethene siding. Glass is usually preferred in building as it is beautiful and more permanent, but more expensive. It conducts heat well and only has to be replaced if a pane breaks. Polyethene or plastic film is much cheaper and flexible. It can be fitted to any shape, but the downside is that it requires frequent replacement.
- Frames: Wood frames are beautiful and work in any landscaping setting. Such frames require regular maintenance. Steel frames are much stronger but also expensive. They do well in adverse conditions and don’t require much maintenance. Aluminium framing is another option as it is lightweight.
Once these choices have been made, the next thing on the agenda is flooring. If it is a DIY project and the greenhouse is small, flooring is already available, or it can be installed in the dirt. Other flooring options are concrete, gravel or paving materials.
Other factors to consider are getting an HVAC system and lighting, the latter being an absolute must for growing plants. These can be handled by the gardener himself for smaller greenhouses, but permits will be required for larger greenhouses. Hiring a licensed contractor to do this is recommended, and it will add to the cost of the project. A grow-light system is essential, so drawing up plans will help in figuring out the total cost based on no. of lights and wiring needed. Portable space heaters also work in tandem to boost growth. Make sure to check if a permit is needed for a greenhouse as it is considered an out-building. Not doing so could lead to problems in the future.
Whether you are a DIY’er or want to use professional help, taking some of the following into account will help:
- Do you want to work with recycled/salvaged materials?
- Learn about the climate so that you can build a good greenhouse with insulation for cold and shade for hot weather.
- Remember to account for air circulation, temperature controls and also pests.
- Make sure that you have enough sun.
- If you want a proper greenhouse, you can add to defray costs over time.
- Don’t forget about the need for storage space.
- Use good bugs to overcome the pest problem.
A greenhouse is a must for a gardener, and with right planning and budgeting, you can have a nice space to grow anything you want.