The Best DIY Greenhouse Plan for Orientation

Finding the right spot for your DIY greenhouse is so important that it might

Get the most light for your greenhouse!

mean the difference between success and failure. A poorly sited greenhouse will grow leggy, weak plants or will cost you a lot of money for additional heating and lighting that you will need to provide.

Most people have little choice over where to site their greenhouse. If your backyard is small, the available space might be very limited. Your family might not want to have the greenhouse in front of the living room window. Your local zoning might have strict rules how far from the neighbor’s fence can you build a structure. Parts of your property might be on a steep slope, others covered by tall trees.

To have a successful greenhouse, your first goal is to find a spot that will have as much sunlight for as much time as possible.

Keeping the greenhouse a certain distance from the house, trees and hedges is important, but the trees and the house also act as a barrier which protects the greenhouse from strong prevailing winds, which can significantly impact the greenhouse by either causing extra loads or damage. This is particularly true during the key growing times of spring and autumn.

Orientation of Your Greenhouse

The rule of thumb regarding the orientation of the greenhouse is that the ridge of the roof should point east to west, so that the longest side will get as much of the southern exposure as possible. If that is not possible, the next best orientation is west, as the sun heats the greenhouse until late in the day, so that it stays warm long into the night.

An east-facing site is a poor choice as it cools off even before sunset and the early morning sun can damage plants as the greenhouse may heat up to quickly. If you have no choice but to orient your greenhouse to be north-facing, be prepared to spend money on artificial lighting, even for low light tolerant plants.

If your neighbor’s trees are surrounding your property, keep in mind that some trees shed their leaves in the fall and will not cast deep shadow during coldest months, when you need most sun.

Drainage For A Greenhouse

Good drainage is almost as important for the greenhouse as light. It is recommended to build your greenhouse on elevated ground so that the runoff flows away from the building. The greenhouse foundation has to have a drop of 1/8 to ¼ per linear foot, so that the inside excess water does not accumulate among the plants, lowering the temperature and encouraging growth of bacteria and fungus.

Outside drainage is as important. If the greenhouse is on a slope, spring thaw can cause flooding, destroying property as water runs off from higher ground. Level ground for building is always best, but in any case, a system of drainpipes, gutters to control the flow of water is crucial if it is required.

Access To Your Greenhouse

Keep in mind that unless you automate most or all of your processes you will have to access your greenhouse twice a day, rain or shine. Easy access and a good paved or graveled path can make a difference between dreading a trip to your favorite place through the mud, or taking a quick easy stroll to enjoy your gardening.

The distance between the greenhouse and utilities like water and electricity can increase your building costs. The further from your house you place your greenhouse, the more money you will spend on electrical cables for light, ventilators and misters, water and irrigation pipes.

Keeping all these considerations in mind and doing a good research before you buy or build your greenhouse will help you avoid making a costly mistake. Good siting and orientation will ensure that your DIY greenhouse will have the best possible chance of providing a great environment for growing successful plants and flowers year around.

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