Greenhouses you can assemble yourself

There exists a wide choice of designs now available in small, pre-fabricated greenhouses which can be easily assembled by the homeowner. The time required for assembly depends on the type of construction and the size of the structure. Most of them require only a few standard tools. (For more information on where to find them, check the yellow pages of your telephone directory, your local nursery, or builder’s supply store.)


When you begin shopping for a greenhouse, you will want to consider these factors: Size. Greenhouses range in size from a 3 by 6-foot structure through the standard 9 by 12-foot amateur’s model and on up to commercial sizes. Whatever size house you choose, always give a thought to its potential for expansion. Additional sec-tions, 2 to 3 feet wide, are available to expand most of the models illustrated here.

Wood or metal frame. Whether you select a wood, steel, or aluminum frame depends largely on how much money you want to invest. The average life of a redwood frame is 20 years or more. A steel greenhouse painted often enough to keep it from rusting will last indefinitely. An aluminum greenhouse will do the same with little or no maintenance.

Glass vs. plastic. Although glass is still the most widely used of the greenhouse glazing materials, some greenhouse experts feel that fiberglass will replace glass for greenhouse construc-tion within the next few years. It’s more resistant to breakage and makes construction cheaper.

Pitch of the roof. A greenhouse roof needs a vertical rise of 6 inches per 12 horizontal inches to handle the run-off from condensation on the glass. If the covering is polyethylene, you can reduce condensation by stretching muslin over the rafters before putting on the covering.

Ventilation and heating. Be sure the greenhouse you buy has some kind of vent for air circulation. Also be sure to have some kind of auxiliary heat if temperatures should drop below freez-ing in the winter. Small gas or electric heaters are adequate in most cases.

Curved design of roof is more expensive than angular frame. Cement block, brick, or stone sides are also more expensive.

Workshop-greenhouse combination has 10 x 13 ft. of growing area and a 7 x 10-ft. Work room; example includes benches.

Plastic panels cover a lightweight wood frame on this easy-to-build structure. Plans available where the plastic is sold.

Lean-to frame is used for a long, narrow area against a building. Used as extension of house. Best with south exposure.

Aluminum frame has been pre-glazed. The structure has 10 sides, and comes 7, 8, or 10 feet in diameter.

A-frame has panels of corrugated plastic. Construction details available where plastic sold. Vented at top, door at one end.