Generally speaking, a large and professionally built greenhouse could cost more than $10,000. However, smaller houses commonly made for home use could easily cost between $1,000 and $5,000 – the latter if they are well-made and permanent structures.
If your primary reason behind gardening is to save money on food, then the cost of acquiring a commercially built greenhouse is likely more than you can afford. With a few DIY skills and a bit of creativity, you can create a serviceable greenhouse at an affordable cost.
Below are a few tips worth considering:
Use Repurposed Materials
In general, a greenhouse is a structure with many windows. Sliding glass windows and used windows are always readily available.
You might have realized that online classified ad sites often have offered several for sale at any particular point. Sometimes even for free, provided by individuals who have replaced their homes’ windows.
Most cities comprise a used lumber yard where you could get reasonably priced wood for framing. Regardless of shelves, heaters, or fans, you can find second-hand offers at most online auction sites.
In the end, you can utilize these used materials and create a greenhouse.
Let’s be a bit logical. If all you need to do is prolong your growing season, you might not require a full-sized greenhouse.
In other words, you do not have to walk into your greenhouse to apply the greenhouse principle. This is where a cold frame and mini-greenhouse comes in.
It’s a box without a floor and comprises a glass lid that usually opens on hinges. You could apply it and start seedlings n flats during the next spring.
Alternatively, you could move it into your garden then put it over plants to maintain their warmth as the fall approaches.
Use Cheap Materials
All you need is a 4 or 6 mil plastic well-stretched over a few bowed ribs to make a simple DIY greenhouse. Typically, this greenhouse type consists of a wooden base built from 2 by six lumber, which is nailed to form a rectangle and placed on the ground.
Afterward, you will bow the ribs and form an arch over the base.
What’s more, the ribs can be built of hog panel fence mesh, PVC pipe, saplings, or even rebar. The plastic usually runs above the ribs and is nailed into the base.
Borrow a Wall
Another means to reduce your greenhouse’s cost is to borrow a wall from an already existing structure. For example, if you own a south-facing wall on your shed, garage, or house, you may be able to join a lean-to greenhouse.
Since you are only constructing three walls and not four, this lean-to greenhouse could be comparatively less costly than a freestanding structure.
Undoubtedly, attaching the greenhouse to the already existing property demands more skills than an amateur builder typically has. For this reason, you might need to pay a builder or architect to help you plan.
Different Homemade Greenhouse Ideas
As you’ve learned by now, you don’t have to spend a bundle to own a greenhouse, and it doesn’t also have to be plastic or glasshouses with a door and intricate framing.
Generally speaking, the primary goal behind owning a greenhouse is to offer protection from the harsh elements and allow an environment for plants where the humidity and temperature can easily be regulated for year-round growing.
Whether it is a free-standing, even-span, or a lean-to conversion, homemade greenhouses offer an efficient way of prolonging your growing season from several weeks to all year.
Typically, free-standing conversion begins with an existing structure like a tool shed, garage, or another outdoor framed structure. You will remove the walls and roofs and replace them with polyvinyl or polyethylene film, glass panes, or sheets of polycarbonate or acrylic material.
Furthermore, these types of conversions might already be wired for electricity. All you’ll need to do is offer a water source and a proper heating and ventilation system.
Generally, although still attached to another structure through the gable end, an even-span greenhouse is much cheaper than a stand-alone greenhouse. This is because it can use heat, water, and electricity from the main building.
What’s more, an even-span may be a full-size greenhouse. That means your only limitation is the actual building space.
This type of greenhouse is an ideal choice for year-round growing, unlike a lean-to. It’s primarily because of better ventilation, almost full sun exposure on many sides, and more uniform temperature control.
As the name suggests, a lean-to greenhouse is a building that is split along the roof’s ridgeline and “leans to” another building. Undoubtedly, these “half” greenhouses are highly economical and practical, especially in limited space.
The cost savings comes from the building it is attached already having a source for heat, water, and electricity. The problem comes in with the limited space, exposure to sunlight, ventilation, and temperature control.
As a general rule, a lean-to should be positioned on the building’s side that gets the most direct sun exposure for the longest part of the day.
High & Low Greenhouse Tunnels
A “loop house,” or a plastic-covered tunnel, makes a portable and cheap greenhouse that allows you to prolong your particular growing season by a few weeks. These mobile structures may mostly cover a whole row of many plants or an entire garden and eventually be moved elsewhere.
If you want to make a tiny portable greenhouse tunnel, you will need to arch over a PVC pipe to an existing bed and secure it to a suitable length of about two-by-four lumber. Afterward, you will drape the polyethylene sheets over the PVC piping and attach them to the lumber using staples.
DIY Cheap Greenhouse Plans
As you might already know, greenhouses prolong the growing season by allowing a warm environment for seeds proper sprouting of seeds in the earliest spring. They’re also beneficial for extending the harvest since they might stay warm enough during the earliest frost.
Although hobby gardeners’ greenhouse kits are costly, there are numerous practical ways to plan and build a lovely solar greenhouse that doesn’t break the bank.
A straight and inflexible PVC pipe is a versatile, easy to use, and lightweight material for building different structures. Check out any home and garden centers and plumbing section of hardware to find the wide range of shapes available.
Generally, a greenhouse shouldn’t have a flat roof since rain will build up and cause problems, for example, sinking plastic. For this reason, when creating a PVC pipe greenhouse, apply three-way pipe fittings to form an angled roof.
What’s more, a PVC pipe greenhouse must be covered using a 6-mil greenhouse plastic sheeting once complete.
At times, gardeners decide to cover a row of plants for partly the season. It’s the reason why plastic tunnels are sold.
But, they’re easy to assemble yourself and disassemble for storage. Furthermore, to secure a row of crops with this tunnel, apply either flexible PVC tubing or a metal piece that’s bent into a “U” shape.
Just push the “U” ends into the soil until it covers that row of plants, or utilize several to cover many rows. You can either use a four or 6-mil greenhouse plastic sheeting to cover.
Then, clip to the PVC using PVC clamps – you could also use binder clips from an office supply store. You should know that both DIY and purchased tunnels are temporary structures that aren’t made to bear high winds.
These are just some of the considerations for building a cheap greenhouse.
Remember to repurpose or buy used everywhere you can. This will end up saving you a considerable amount of money in the long-run.
And don’t forget to grow every food you can in your new greenhouse to cut down on your grocery bill!