Tips for Constructing a Greenhouse Kit
After months of careful research, your quest for the perfect DIY greenhouse is over. You have decided on a lovely freestanding greenhouse, you found a reputable distributor and you are expecting the delivery this weekend. You hope to have your hands in dirt by Monday, at the latest. Or so you think. Things are almost never as easy as we think. There are a few tips, based on other people’s (often bad) experience, which might make the entire process a little less painful.
1. Prepare the foundation
You chose the greenhouse kit because it looked easier than a true DIY greenhouse. But, regardless of how easy the kit assembly is according to the manufacturer’s website, you still have to have a solid base frame. Even if you choose frequently optional base frame with your greenhouse kit, you still need to install PVC pipes filled with cement. If you do not want to spend the extra money for that, you need to pour the cement foundation on which to bolt your greenhouse, or to make a lumber frame, placed in a gravel-filled ditch, for the same purpose. Preferably, prepare the foundation well ahead of the greenhouse kit arrival, so that you are well rested and ready for the kit assembly.
2. Be realistic about your skills
Even the simplest greenhouse kit still requires you to use a screwdriver, a drill, a wrench and maybe few other tools. If you have never done any house projects, find some help. Hiring someone to assemble your kit might be expensive, but getting a few friends for a day will only cost you a case of beer and a lunch. Extra hands are also necessary for the assembly of larger pieces.
3. Check the list of parts
Before you start opening the boxes, excited like a kid in the toy store, get the list of all the parts that should be there, and tick each one as you open boxes. That way you will know what is missing, so that you can contact the manufacturer and order them. Even the smallest missing piece can halt the entire assembly.
4. Read the instructions
Many men think that the instructions are for the wimps. Your greenhouse kit is one case in which you should very, very carefully read the instructions if you want the greenhouse to look right and not like a leaning tower in Pisa. Read the instructions even before you start opening all the boxes, and open boxes one at the time, so that your kit’s (many) parts do not get mixed. Also, that way the job will look less daunting.
5. Start assembling your greenhouse kit next to the prepared foundation
This might sound silly, but many impatient greenhouse kit owners cannot wait and start opening the boxes where the delivery truck unloaded them. Bring boxes to the site and open them where the parts will be assembled and installed.
6. Keep things level
Use your level frequently, to make sure everything is level as you go. Once the entire greenhouse is finished, and it is not level, you will not easily see where you went wrong.
7. Don’t forget the caulking
Seal all the joints, especially around windows and doors. You will need silicone and silicone gun.
8. Ask for help
Keep the phone number of the greenhouse kit manufacturer handy, so that you can call for help if you get stuck. Don’t be shy to call as often as you need, it is their job to answer your questions.
9. Don’t wait for the rain
Many better greenhouse kits come with the system of gutters and downspouts. Don’t wait for the next rain to install them, or you will have a soggy mess to take care of. If they are not included, make sure that your greenhouse has proper drainage, inside and outside. Inside, it means sloping cement foundation or a layer of at least three inches of gravel, if you built your greenhouse over bare earth. Place some stepping stones for easy movement. On the outside, install French or trench drain to take the excess water.
If you have followed all the tips, you now have a wonderful DIY greenhouse, ready for plants. Your next step is going to the nursery for some stock and seeds. Try to get your entire family involved, otherwise they might resent the amount of time you will spend playing in your new playground.