Backyard Extensions: How to Build a Fabulous Greenhouse

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As the pandemic continues, more and more Americans are finding themselves with extra time on their hands. And what better way to spend that time than making some much-needed home renovations?

According to a recent survey, nearly 60% of Americans plan to make some home improvement in the next year. And it’s not just small projects, either – almost one-third of all respondents said they were planning major renovations, like adding an addition or gutting an entire room. Many are even contemplating adding new backyard extensions.

So why the sudden urge to renovate? For many, it’s simply a matter of being stuck at home with nothing else to do. But for others, it’s a way to invest in their homes and make them more comfortable – or even more valuable – should they decide to sell in the future.

If you’re considering adding some extensions to your home, a greenhouse is one of the best things you can build.

Why Build a Greenhouse?

A greenhouse is a beautiful addition to any home, especially if you love plants or gardening. Greenhouses provide a controlled environment for your plants, which means you can extend the growing season and grow plants that wouldn’t normally thrive in your climate.

Plus, there’s something so satisfying about being able to walk out into your backyard and pick fresh tomatoes or strawberries in the middle of winter. A greenhouse is one of the easiest things you can build by yourself or a contractor.

What You’ll Need

Building a greenhouse is relatively simple and only requires a few materials. But, first, you’ll need to choose the right location for your greenhouse. It should be in an area that gets plenty of sunlight and is protected from strong winds.

Once you’ve found the perfect spot, you’ll need to gather the following supplies:

  • Treated lumber or PVC pipe for the frame
  • Glass or polycarbonate panels for the walls and roof
  • Gutters and downspouts (optional)
  • Seedlings or plants
  • Potting soil
  • Fertilizer
  • Watering can or hose

If you’re not sure where to start, plenty of greenhouse kits is available that come with everything you need.

A person holding an uprooted cabbage


  • Start by creating a foundation for your greenhouse. You can do this by pouring concrete footings or setting treated lumber posts into the ground.
  • Assemble the frame of your greenhouse using the lumber or PVC pipe. Make sure the frame is level and square before attaching the walls.
  • Install the glass or polycarbonate panels on the frame, first starting with the roof panels. If you’re using glass, be sure to use tempered safety glass or laminated glass to avoid injuries in case of breakage.
  • Seal any gaps around the panels with caulk or weatherstripping to keep out drafts.
  • Install gutters and downspouts
  • Choose your plants or seedlings and pot them in moistened potting soil.
  • Place the plants inside the greenhouse and water them regularly. Apply fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Ventilate the greenhouse on hot days to prevent the plants from getting too much heat. Prop open doors or windows, or install an exhaust fan if necessary.

At this point, you’re now able to build a functional greenhouse ready to grow any plants you might desire. Remember, you can even grow off-season plants in a greenhouse if you know what you’re doing. However, you might want to elevate your greenhouse to a whole new level. Here are some optional additions you can make to make your greenhouse a lot more fabulous.

Add Sidings

Sidings can add a fabulous finish to your greenhouse. A stone siding can make your greenhouse look a lot more rustic and natural, while a brick siding can give it a more classic look.

You can also install wood siding, which will need to be painted or stained to protect it from the elements. Synthetic siding is another option that’s easy to maintain and comes in a variety of colors and styles.

Install Heating and Cooling

You can make your greenhouse even more comfortable – and extend the growing season – by adding heating and cooling. A simple space heater will do the trick on chilly nights, or you can install a more sophisticated forced-air heating system.

For cooling, evaporative coolers are an inexpensive option, or you can install air conditioners designed for greenhouses.

Add Lighting

Plants need sunlight to grow, but in some cases, you might need to supplement the natural light with artificial lighting. This is especially true if you want to grow plants that require a lot of light, such as orchids.

Fluorescent bulbs are a good option for general lighting, while high-intensity discharge (HID) lights are better for plants that need more light.

Now that you know how to build a greenhouse, there’s no excuse not to get started on your backyard extension project! Greenhouses are easy to build and can be tailored to any budget or skill level. Plus, they make a great addition to any garden. So what are you waiting for? Get growing!



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