Greenhouses: Comprehensive guide to buying a greenhouse

The trusty greenhouse.  This simple building made of glass, who’d believe just how many opportunities owning one would create when it comes to growing your own fruit, veg plants & flowers. 

Flowers

US Botanic Garden

Owning your own greenhouse is an amazing adventure.  As mentioned above, it really does open up a whole new world of plants to the avid, amateur and pro gardener, as well as providing a nice place in which to work.

As mentioned above, it really does open up a whole new world of plants to the avid, amateur and pro gardener, as well as providing a nice place in which to work and learn.

One of its many features is the way in which colourful and pretty flowers can be grown to perfection all year round and the only thing stopping you is being able to regulate the temperature.

A whole new spectrum of colour, fragrance and fascinating form are the excitements which lie in store.

Fruit

A greenhouse has considerable utility value as well.  The exquisite flavour of home-grown tomatoes can only really be appreciated to the full when they are cultivated in a greenhouse.

tomatoes in a greenhouse

It doesn’t matter how big or small your greenhouse is, a relatively small one can quite easily provide sufficient fruit and vegetables for the average sized family for the season.

Delicious melons become a reality and the salad bowl can be supplied with an avalanche of colour and quantity.

Not only is there great satisfaction in growing your own fruit and veg but also a considerable saving than buying at your traditional U.K supermarket.

Automation – It is the 21st century

Not only will the various plants provide endless hours of fascination, but the huge range of modern technology can now save you a tremendous amount of time.  This will give you hours of fun and intrigue along the way.

There is a large amount of automation available for greenhouses and too much to completely cover in this blog, but rest assured if there’s a painstaking job then there’ll be something you can buy to do it for you….

Things like automation really help when you are on holiday, it’s push button simple to set before you go and then it does its thing while you’re away, perfect!

How to select a Greenhouse that’s right for you

Diagram of a greenhouse

  1. Good ventilation is a must
  2. Strength, particularly in the roof bars
  3. Basic, so it’s minimal maintenance
  4. Good light
  5. Simple but nice appearance
  6. Able to comfortably walk around most of the greenhouse without straining

 

6 Important buying tips

  1. Your greenhouse regardless of size can never have too many ventilators.  The smaller ones should ideally have a minimum of 2, ideally more.
  2. Consider the weather conditions as heavy wind and rain or snowfall can put your greenhouse roof and glass covering under a lot of pressure.  That’s why, as mentioned above it’s so important to have a sturdy roof frame.
  3. Metal or rot resistant timbers such as cedar reduce the need for painting and repairs.
  4. Large panes of glass admit a lot of light, however, breakages can be expensive.
  5. Always double and treble check the sizing of the greenhouse your thinking of buying.  You don’t want to wait for it to get delivered to find that you’re sending the bugger back.

Greenhouse Materials – Most Common

Aluminium

Maintenance free and therefore stress-free.  Although, unfortunately, it’s not easy to fix things too.

Strength, combined with a thin cross0section allowing panes of glass to be fitted which will admit large amounts of light into your greenhouse.  They are usually made of aluminium alloy to provide ample strength.

Cedar

Attractive wood with a natural resistance to rot or warping.  Needs occasional treatment with wood preservative to maintain its colour and durability.  Unfortunately, it’s not a strong material but very easy to attach things too.

Oak

Really rough, durable timber but it’s also difficult to fix anything too.

Steel

Very strong but on a downside, you can get condensation.  It will also need to be heavily galvanised to prevent rusting and will even need painting eventually.

Styles of Greenhouse to Buy

This section is all about personal preference and the size of the greenhouse required.

Palram Harmony 6×8 Greenhouse

I’ve listed this greenhouse as it’s one of my favourites, however, below I have also added a quick reason why but also a few links so you can view other greenhouses on Amazon.

Palram Harmony 6x8 Greenhouse

The all-glass sides provide maximum light but heating costs will be higher because of this feature.

Really good quality greenhouse with a strong aluminium frame and although it may not seem that strong when constructing it, once all the pieces are connected and the cross pieces are fastened in it’s then really compact and sturdy.

Perfect to rest on a concrete base and easy to assemble when following the instructions.

Check out these other types below on Amazon.

 

Tips on where to put your greenhouse

Here’s an essential guide on where and where not to put your greenhouse.

Maximum Sunlight = Obviously

Your greenhouse must be located in the best possible position to ensure it gets as much light through the day as possible.  The ideal position is for the house to run East to West so that it can receive the maximum benefit of the low winter sun too.

Whereas its good to be exposed to sunlight, on the other-hand your greenhouse ideally should be in a sheltered area.  By sheltered, I don’t mean from the sun I mean from the sides to protect it against the wind.   This will lower heating costs drastically and also help protect from damage.

Near to the house

I’ve mentioned above about location and being sheltered but ideally, your greenhouse needs to be located near to your home.

located near the house

During the fierce winter months when it’s dark, cold and miserable you don’t want to be traipsing too far with water or whatever else you’re carrying to the spot your greenhouse is.

Avoid Shadow

If the greenhouse is shaded by trees, hedges, tall buildings or something similar this will mean you obtain poor results.

greenhouse under tree in shade

The plants grown (If they grow at all) will lack light and will, therefore, appear spindly and never grow into strong, robust plants.

Nearby Neighbours

The nasty nuisance of neighbours when you have a greenhouse is all too problematic.  Often it’s by mistake but you’ve seen all those TV programs where the ball goes through the greenhouse window or maybe next doors children are climbing their tree and branch snaps.SMASH!

smashed windows in greenhouse

2 types of base to rest your greenhouse on

Brick

brick base

One of the tidiest ways of providing a solid base for your greenhouse is by building a brick foundation.

It is imperative that your base is flat and level.

A little care will be required when laying a brick foundation and also the regular use of a spirit level to ensure your plot is level.

 

Mortar

3 sand 1 cement

By creating a strong mortar mix to bond the bricks together will ensure a greater strength and stable base.

All brickwork can be bonded with: 1 part cement to 3 parts builders sand.

 

Foundations

Your bricks will be laid on a foundation made of: 1 part cement, 2 1/2 of sand and 4 of aggregate

cement, sand, aggregate

 

Alternatively, you can lay your greenhouse on a concrete base.