Finding the Sunniest Spot For Your DIY Greenhouse

To find a perfect site for your DIY greenhouse means finding the sunniest spot, one that is legal (some municipalities have restrictions how close to your neighbors’ property can you build), the least sloping land, and the spot that will not provide a visual obstacle from your home. After all, you do not want to look at your greenhouse from your living room window at all times. All these points are important, but since your plants need at least six hours of sun a day to thrive, finding a sunniest spot for the greenhouse is a top priority before starting construction.

Farmers who make a living from their land and passionate, experienced gardeners know exactly how sun and shadows move. They use that knowledge to put plants that like shade in permanently shady sites and sun loving plants where they will receive maximum sunlight. But, if you are new to the area or have not spent much time gardening in your yard previously, you will need to spend some time observing what happens during the day and during the year. This means that you may need to spend a year noting your observations and drawing the path of sun and shadows in your garden, in order to have the full and precise picture where the sunniest spot is. If you do not want to wait a full year, make sure you spend time estimating these factors.

Conduct A Sun Survey

Finding the sunniest spot in your yard is a matter of observation of shadows of

Creating Your Shadow Map

all structures in your yard. Since the sun’s path is different during the day in different seasons, you need to observe how these shadows move not only during one day, but throughout the year as well. It looks like a lot of work, but it will pay off handsomely, once you find the sunniest spot in your yard and the perfect site for your greenhouse.

This simple drawing shows how different the size and the direction of a shadow of a single tree looks like throughout a year. Your goal is to monitor and note shadows of every structure in your yard.

To make things simple, make a plan to note the length and the direction of all shadows at 9 am, at noon and at 3 pm. Do it at least twice each season. You will notice how much longer the shadows are in the fall.

During the winter, deciduous trees are bare and do not have significant shadow, but all other structures, and trees like evergreens, have shadows in all seasons.

Generating Your Sun Map

Note all your observations on a simple map of your property, with all the structures in your yard tall enough to cast shadows. You will be able to see that there are spots where there are no significant shadows and where the sun shines unobstructed for most of the day. This spot is the best site for your future greenhouse.

If you are more technically minded and need a very precise calculation of all the shadows in your yard and wish to calculate truly perfect spot for your greenhouse, you might want to use Find My Shadow, a website that uses astronomical data and offers charts for each location. To find your exact location, check Earth Tools and get the coordinates of your neighborhood.

There are also professional services that will do a much more precise survey of the sun path for your location, but the expense makes using such a service economical only for commercial greenhouses. For your average DIYer the simpler approach outlined here should work nicely.

By now, you have figured out that planning and research for your greenhouse is quite a long but important process. Try to enjoy it, because you will find out very soon that good preparation helps in delivering excellent results and a thriving DIY greenhouse.

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