Types of Greenhouses that You Could Build
Like homes, sheds or summer cabins, greenhouses come in all shapes and sizes. A person building their own DIY Greenhouse has a lot of options when considering their build. In general however greenhouses can be broken into two major categories, each having it’s advantages and disadvantages, depending on the reason that you are looking to build a greenhouse in the first place.
If you are looking to extend your growing season(earlier in the spring and later in the fall), start your seeds earlier and keep costs to
an absolute minimum during construction; a freestanding greenhouse is the way to go. If however you are looking to grow plants year round, want a comfortable room you can enjoy through all the seasons, or are looking to add to your home or other outbuilding; an attached greenhouse is the avenue you should pursue.
Freestanding greenhouses, as the name implies are greenhouses that are a stand-alone structure. They can be made from a host of materials including PVC piping with plastic coverings, right up to full-framed buildings with glass. Their construction is limited only to the designer’s imagination and budget. Often people who build their own DIY greenhouse are not looking to grow or farm during the winter months if they live in a northern climate. While this would certainly be possible in a freestanding greenhouse, the owner would need to add amenities (at a large cost during construction and use) such as heat, power and water in order to accommodate this out of season growing. Most freestanding greenhouses however are not this fancy, nor do they need to be! You can save significant time and money by building a simple greenhouse used only during the spring, summer and fall months – while adding a boost to your growing season!
Attached greenhouses, as you may have guessed are greenhouses that are attached to other buildings. Normally they are built on the south sides of homes, garages or barns – depending on the owner’s choice and room for construction. Unlike freestanding greenhouses, which often lack amenities, attached greenhouses often have electricity, heat, insulation, and water and are usable year round. More; they offer the user a usable space year round, and one that you may spend more time in as a result. Though they may be warm during the summer and cold during the winter months, proper design and insulation can mitigate this concern. Attached greenhouses are often referred to as “sun rooms” and because they naturally trap heat (greenhouse effect) they can aid in reducing your home heating costs if allowed to also heat your home (just leave the connecting door open). Unfortunately with this upside, they are often more expensive as they can require poured concrete foundations and often use double paned glass instead of the cheaper 6 millimeter plastics common in freestanding greenhouses.
Whichever type of greenhouse you decide to build it is important to realize its limitations. While it may be possible to grow warm weather vegetables or fruit in your attached greenhouse year round, it will cost you an arm and a leg in heating expenses and may lead to frustration on your part.
Its important to make sure you know the pluses and minuses of whichever greenhouse you do build. It would be a shame to put in all of the effort of a DIY greenhouse and end up frustrated.