If you’ve always dreamed of growing tomatoes, vegetables, herbs or flowers in a greenhouse but you feel daunted by the idea of building your own, we’ve got some great news for you. You – yes, you can build a functional, stylish greenhouse with minimal skills and few or even no tools. No, you don’t need a wood saw. All you need is a plan and a tiny but of space. Ok, and maybe a hammer and a few nails.
Many DIY greenhouses can be done on a tight budget in less than a day, so if time and money are what’s been stopping you, now you have no excuses! The trick to keeping your greenhouse low cost is using outdoor curtains made from clear vinyl. You can buy industrial curtains or any weatherproof clear vinyl curtain intended for outdoor use. They are every bit as effective as glass-walled greenhouses, unless you live in a part of the country that gets intense snowstorms. Otherwise, clear vinyl curtains are your best bet, and so easy to assemble!
Here are six simple steps to building your own easy to do greenhouse on a budget.
Step 1 – Choose Your Structure
The first thing you need to do is choose the type of structure you plan to build upon, and if you don’t already have one, determine what type you want to build from scratch. If you already have a porch you want to transform into a greenhouse, then you can skip right to step two. Just make sure you pay attention to what kind of floor you have, because if it isn’t sealed and insulated, you’ll need todo that first. We searched online and found several cool ideas for transforming porches and decks into greenhouses.
We found this useful guide on Karmina Palace that details exactly what you need to do to turn a screened-in porch into a greenhouse with impressive results.
If you’re starting from scratch instead, the choices are nearly limitless. You can start with nothing more than a few two by fours and clear vinyl curtains and still have an efficient and attractive greenhouse in less than a day. Or you can really go all out and build something stunning. We saw some spectacular looking greenhouses made from recycled windows and others that use vinyl curtains, which are more economical and better at keeping your greenhouse well insulated.
Tip: Make sure you choose a place in your yard or garden that gets winter sun, and that you start on even ground. Nobody likes a wonky, unstable greenhouse.
Don’t get too hung up on size. You can really do a lot with a small space. Determine how much room you realistically have and measure how big you want your structure to be. Consider what you want to grow inside, and remember you can always expand later if you outgrow your original building.
If you can, drawing out a basic sketch helps. Browsing the internet brings up tons of ideas and it can get overwhelming, so we took away some of the burden and narrowed down our favorite articles and how-to videos. Since this list is based on budget-minded greenhouses, we chose plans that are affordable, simple to make, and highly attractive.
Step 2. Buying the Right Wood, PVC or Metal Frame
Now that you’ve determined the structure you’re going to make, you only need to buy the supplies. If using wood, we recommend using either your local lumber yar dor visiting a hardware store like Home Depot or Lowe’s where they cut the wood for you. Let them know what you plan to make if you have any doubts, and double check the measurements before taking the wood home.
There’s nothing worse than starting a project and realizing halfway through that you’ve got the wrong sizes! Also, what type of wood you buy matters. Cedar and Redwood are considered the standard, so that’s something to keep in mind. Wood is also considered the best quality frame, but if you’re into the look of metal or you’re building your greenhouse from a kit, skipping the wood is just fine.
If you’ve decided to for go wood, your best bet is PVC pipe material, because it won’t rust and tends to last longer. Some other options are going with aluminum or steel, all with pros and cons. The ready-made greenhouse kits are usually lightweight aluminum frames, and come with the plastic covering. If esthetics are your priority, we advise good old fashioned wood, which is also the easiest material upon which to affix your curtain walls.
Step 3: Build or Assemble the Frame
Admittedly, this is the trickiest part, but you don’t really need to be all that handy to get it done. Ask a friend or two to lend a hand (bribing with snacks usually works) and make a plan. Make sure you have everything you need first so no time is wasted having to rush off to the hardware store at the last minute when you realize your nails are too short! If building is just not your thing, there’s no shame in it. Pop-up kits are popular for a reason, so you can always go that route.
Step 4: It’s Curtain time!
Now it’s time to measure and order your curtains. You can easily customize clear vinyl curtains to your specifications, but first you need to determine exactly what you need. Select our cover clear color choice from our industrial curtains selection and enter the dimensions to place your order. You’ll also be able to choose the grommets. As a bonus, you can upload a photo of the structure you’ve built so our customer service team can ensure you get exactly what you need for your project. It’s a win-win.
Note: Our Cover Clear industrial curtains are weatherproof so they are UV resistant. This allows some sun to get through but if your greenhouse is on the small side it will prevent it from overheating if you have it filled with lots of plants and heaters.
Step 5: Putting it Together
When you’ve got your outdoor curtains ready, all that’s left to do is to secure them in place. Fortunately, clear vinyl curtains are easy to install, and thanks to our friend the internet, you’ll be setup in no time.
Bonus tip: Where you live will change how much sun exposure your greenhouse gets. You may need to use an alternative heat source, especially in the winter months. If your green house is attached to your home, you may choose to heat it with electricity or gas lamps, just make sure you follow all the precautions, especially if you’re using space heaters. Check your local hardware store for heaters and grow lights that will also add warmth.
Step 6: Bring on the Greens!
Now that your greenhouse is ready to be filled, it’s time for the fun part – filling it with veggies, flowers, plants, herbs, or whatever tickles your fancy. Now this is the part where you might be tempted to go overboard and break the bank, but hey, you just built an entire greenhouse for a few hundred bucks. So spend those dollars on the green goodies instead.
If you’re a tomato lover, a greenhouse is the best way to get a taste of summer all year long, and there are literally hundreds of varieties to experiment with these days. Heirlooms are as popular as ever, so you can impress your friends with a spectacular caprese salad, not to mention the new greenhouse you built with your very now hands.
Good luck with getting your very own greenhouse started. When you arrive at step 4, check out our selection of clear cover curtains and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions. We’d love to see your beautiful greenhouse when it’s compete, so keep in touch and let us know how it goes!