Styles of DIY Greenhouses

With the economic and social changes over the past few years many people are turning to greenhouses to grow their own plants and vegetables. The good news in regards to this is that a DIY greenhouse is not hard to build or manage and you will be sure to have plenty of fruits, vegetables, and more plants to enjoy. Greenhouses are convenient in all seasons because they help to grow plants, keep them safe, and also allow you to grow plants and vegetables in the coldest of winter months if you have the proper style, shape and outline of your greenhouse. Previously we discussed the pros and cons of freestanding verse attached greenhouses. If you missed that posting, go here. If you do decide on a DIY greenhouse, one of your first considerations should be the style and structure of your greenhouse.

“Framed” Greenhouses

Framed greenhouses are fairly popular as they usually are sold in kits and are known to be easy to put together. They also allow you to choose from several different designs such as a dome shape, sphere shape, or even a house like shape. The framing is usually made of aluminum but can be made out of other materials depending on application and design. If you do decide to build a greenhouse yourself, you may decide to choose wood to construct a framed greenhouse as lumber is easier to source and manipulate for the average DIYer.

Pros of a Framed Greenhouse

  • Can come in a ready to build greenhouse kit.
  • Generally easy to assemble with basic construction skills.
  • Can come in a broad variety of designs.
  • Easy to find online or in catalogs if ordering a kit.

Cons of a Framed Greenhouse

  • Are often times more expensive than other styles as they can require additional materials, or shipping charges if using a kit.
  • Will not come with a foundation in kit form.
  • Can be very hard to build on to in the future.

“A-Framed” Greenhouses

A-Frame Greenhouse


Another popular style for greenhouses is the A-frame. The A-frame is known for being shaped like a triangle (or the letter A as the name implies) at the roof point. The pitch of the roof is generally anywhere between 5/12 to 3/12. This pitch is needed for shedding rain and snow easily to avoid heavy loading of the structure. The walls and roof can be built in sections on a flat surface and then lifted and nailed together. These can be made in a broad variety of materials but are most typically framed in metal or aluminum.

Pros to an A-Framed Greenhouse

  • Kits can be purchased for this type of greenhouse through an number of vendors.
  • An A-frame configuration allows for simpler construction methods due to it’s design and configuration.
  • Great for letting more sunlight get to your plants, which of course aids in their growth.

Cons to an A-Framed Greenhouse

  • A-frame design may not be visually appealing to some gardeners or property owners.
  • Can be difficult to add on to in the future given the lack of flat walls for expansion.

“Single Sloped” Greenhouses

Single sloped greenhouses have gained popularity in the recent years for their ability to be easily installed pointing south (and thereby receiving sunshine the entire day) or toward the best angle of the sun in relation to the season and it’s orientation in the sky. This allows for an optimum growing location, which increases the efficiency of your greenhouse leading to a better end result for your fruits, vegetables or other plants. You can even add a single slopped greenhouse to your house or preexisting greenhouse for even more growing room. They are can be simple to build and offer a great DIY greenhouse experience.

Pros of Single Sloped Greenhouse

  • Greatly lessens the use of electric power by capturing more solar energy for heating and lighting.
  • Orientated toward the sun for greater solar usage and more efficient plant growth.
  • Users have noted lower levels of carbon dioxide emissions from single sloped greenhouses.

Cons of Single Sloped Greenhouses

  • Structure relies on the sun and will not function as well as other styles in the winter months.
  • Can be expensive depending on configuration, building materials and expense of tying into an existing structure.

“Barn Style” Greenhouses

Barn style greenhouses are a very popular style choice for DIY greenhouses and are great for smaller yards or those who do not want the burden of a huge greenhouse. They can come in many different shapes but most often, as the name implies, they come in a form that resembles a miniature barn coming to a peak along their ridgeline. These greenhouses work well and are very easy to construct yourself. Kits or plans can be found online and with a few sketches and simple materials, you will have a greenhouse in no time.

Pros of Barn Style Greenhouses

  • Can be attached to existing home or greenhouse.
  • Can be free standing.
  • Can be found in kits for purchase.
  • Allows for good lighting in for optimum growth.

Cons of Barn Style Greenhouses

  • Can be expensive depending on kit brands, materials and configuration.
  • May require accurate and potentially expensive foundation design and construction.
  • May not be big enough to accommodate all of your needs, as you may trade style for cost.

“Gothic” Greenhouses

Gothic greenhouses are greenhouses that are typically made to look older, as if they were built around the 1800’s.  This greenhouse usually has a tall steeple and at least one pitched gable to make it fit in with the Victorian style. These can be great and efficient greenhouses and if you own a Victorian home, it could even add to the look and feel of your home and property.

Pros to Gothic Greenhouses

  • If styled correctly with existing property they could add value to your home and property.
  • Works as an efficient greenhouse because of the pitched gables.

Cons to Gothic Greenhouses

  • Can be very difficult to construct without proper plans and materials due to the design features of the style.
  • Due to architecture and design, can be very difficult to clean.

“Lean-to” Greenhouses

Lean-to greenhouses are popular because they can be built to an existing structure like a home, barn or garage. They differ from “single slope” styles of greenhouses in that they may be made up of more than one angle when placed against an existing building. This style does limit the room to be used for growing due to it’s slanting nature but does offer an easier installation project if you are doing it yourself.

Pros to a Lean-to Greenhouse

  • Cost effective.
  • Will not have to run new utilities if connected to a home or building with water and power.

Cons to A Lean-to Greenhouse

  • Great care will have to be made to make sure that the plants have proper lighting to grow.
  • Looks may be an issue if not done properly or with care.
  • Slope of the lean-to can cause issues with rain run-off and snow if not designed properly.

As you can see there are many different styles of greenhouses that you can choose from. Once you choose your style of greenhouse that is right for your needs and property, you can move on to how to build your greenhouse. DIY greenhouses can be a rewarding experience that is easy to complete. With all the different styles and designs available you are sure to be able to one that fits your needs and wants.


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