Assessing Your Needs to Get the Best Greenhouse Possible

Building your DIY Greenhouse starts long before you purchase your kit or start buying material. Many people spend years dreaming, drawing plans, checking catalogs, designing benches, or collecting seeds. It can be just as much fun planning for the greenhouse, as it is once you are able to start working in it. One important part in the process is accessing your real needs, as opposed to your dreams, which can be as unrealistic depending on how wild your imagination might be.

Available Budget for Your Greenhouse

Being realistic about our greenhouse unfortunately has to start with assessing how much money we can afford to spend on it. If you have saved the money for the express purpose of building the greenhouse, this part is easy: you can spend what you have. If you are dipping into family’s savings, you may want to check with your significant other before just spending the money. Otherwise, it will become a bone of contention that could seriously limit how much you are able to enjoy the greenhouse once completed.

Whatever budget you decide to devote to the greenhouse, stick to it. It is very easy to keep adding to what you want, or think that you need. There are thousands of accessories that can slowly add up over time and as a result push your budget far over your original expectation.

Reason for Building Your Greenhouse

Your reason for building a greenhouse will determine the type of the greenhouse, its size, location and the kind of accessories you will need in order to be successful. Be very clear (with yourself) about what the greenhouse will be for: having a regular supply of fresh vegetables, growing tropical plants, keeping your collection of orchids, giving a head start to your garden seedlings and plantings. You might want the greenhouse as a space to be alone and indulge in your passion for gardening, or a conservatory where you can spend winter months surrounded with greenery and reading a book. All your needs can be satisfied with a particular type and size of greenhouse, so make up your mind from the beginning. The mistake with this step can be very costly – a wrong kind of greenhouse which you will  use sporadically or not at all.

Size Needs for Your Greenhouse

The size of your greenhouse will depend primarily on the space you have for it, the kind of plants you plan on growing, and the budget. The easiest way to cope with this question is to buy a type of greenhouse that can be expanded later, as long as you have the space. Poly tunnels are much cheaper than the greenhouses constructed of glazed panels, but once built, tunnels cannot be easily expanded. If you are an amateur gardener and gardening is a weekend hobby, start small and expand later. You might find out later that you cannot devote the same amount of time to your greenhouse, or your circumstances might change. If you start small, you will not waste money unnecessarily.

The Outside Climate Around Your Greenhouse

The climate in your area makes a big difference to the type of greenhouse you can and should build. Strong winds require a very solid frame. Sloping terrain requires very carefully planned drainage. Very cold climate might suggest that a lean-too greenhouse is more cost-effective (you will have to heat your greenhouse in the cold months.)  You should not build a glass greenhouse in the areas where hail is common. Heavy rains can mean a requirement for excellent drainage and gutter systems. A climate that is either to hot or to cold will affect the cost of the maintenance of your greenhouse as you will need to cool or heat it to keep the inside temperature stable. Extreme climate requires a climate control system, which adds to the cost of the greenhouse.

Permits for Your Greenhouse

As soon as you have the design and the plan for your greenhouse, whether you are building it yourself or you are planning to purchase a kit, visit your local municipal permits office and check to see if you need a permit to construct it. Some small structures do not require permit, but most municipalities have strict regulations on the size and height of new structures. Drainage can be another important consideration, so make sure that your plans show how you plan to deal with the excess water (and fertilizer.) In some municipalities, only professionals can get a permit to build a structure. Think about insurance as well. Unless you get the necessary permit for the greenhouse, your insurance company will refuse to insure it. And once you want to sell your property, all structures need to be legal; otherwise you may have to remove your greenhouse after you’ve already installed it.

Maintenance Costs For Your Greenhouse

Maintaining your greenhouse means costs for heating, cooling, replacing of glazing (nothing lasts for ever), water, fertilizers, and, most of all, your time. You might want to consult other greenhouse growers in your area to find out how much in average they spend, so that you can budget for it.

Will You Buy a Greenhouse Kit or Not

There is a huge variety of greenhouse kits available on the market, and the only reason to build one from scratch is to save money, or because you actually like doing it. Be realistic and make sure that you have the skills to build a greenhouse that will last a long time and will be the real fulfillment of your dream.

Building your DIY Greenhouse can, and should, be an enjoyable experience. With good planning and realistic assessment of your needs, you will have many years of great pleasure growing your plants.

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