Trying to choose the perfect greenhouse design? There are a number of things to consider when making your greenhouse system efficient and low maintenance. These days, there are so many unique types of greenhouse design options to choose from. If you’re new to setting up greenhouses, it can be hard to begin understanding the many choices available to you. Luckily, this article will tell you everything you need to know about choosing the right greenhouse design.
Here are a few crucial tips to help you choose the perfect greenhouse design.
Choose a structure for your greenhouse design
There are a number of elements that together help build the right structure of your greenhouse. Erecting a good greenhouse begins with knowing its purpose, capacity and requirements. Being a good judge of these 3 elements can help you make the right choice of investment.
Greenhouse design hack#1 — Define your greenhouse’s purpose
The first thing you need to know for sure before you begin to design your greenhouse is its purpose. The type of accessories, frames and plants you grow will vary widely based on the purpose of your greenhouse. You’ll have to decide whether you are setting up your greenhouse for:
- Hobby gardening
- Growing a constant supply of food for your family
- Commercial production
- One time use for competitions or events
- Decoration and landscaping
For a one-time event, you do not need an elaborate greenhouse, while for commercial production, you will have to plan for massive soil rotation, space and storage. If your greenhouse is only for decoration, then it needs good aesthetics over functionality. Garden furniture and benches will play a big part in a decorative greenhouse.
Greenhouse design hack#2 — Decide what type of greenhouse you want
Secondly, you’ll need to decide what type of greenhouse you want. There are a few greenhouse structures that are most commonly found across the world. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages. Below are a few of the main greenhouse types with their essential features:
A gable greenhouse is a type of greenhouse that is usually attached to a wall or garage. It is similar to sunrooms and is decorated not just with plants, but with furniture as well. It can serve as a place for family get-togethers. One need not exit the house to reach it, thereby it becomes like another room of the house. Gable greenhouses also typically feature flat roof panels and vertical sidewalls that are slightly sloped. They come in materials like steel, glass and wood and are aesthetically pleasing.
A barn-style greenhouse is exactly like it sounds. These greenhouses are similar in appearance to a traditional barn. The greenhouse features a slightly domed roof along with shorter interior walls. This style is often used in a country setting. It can be an excellent choice if you’re going for a rustic-styled look. These greenhouses can also be easily assembled with greenhouse kits by hand as all they need are pieces of lumber, covering material and screws.
A dome-shaped greenhouse is spherical and free standing. It often won’t feature typical side walls. This type of greenhouse structure can be a bit more expensive than other styles. This is due to the different types of glazing pieces that are needed for the design. Dome greenhouses are good for organic farming in harsh climates.
Gothic Design Greenhouses
A gothic greenhouse can be either freestanding or attached to another wall or structure. Gothic greenhouses are, as you would expect, influenced by historic gothic architecture. The walls and roof of this design are created with a continuous form that allows snow to easily fall down the sides during the winter. By maintaining warm temperatures, you can grow summer crops and vegetables all throughout the colder months in it.
A hoop greenhouse structure includes an enclosed plastic covering along with a metal pipe or PVC which forms a hoop shape. This type of greenhouse uses either lightweight weatherproof aluminum or sometimes wood or galvanized steel. While it can be very cost effective to create a hoop greenhouse, the structure can require a lot of maintenance and may cost more in the long run.
Greenhouse design hack#3 — Don’t forget about greenhouse ventilation
Proper ventilation is an important feature of any greenhouse. While accounting for your greenhouse design, you will need to plan out where to place the ventilation. Ventilation helps to maintain and control temperature while also protecting against airborne diseases. Ventilation is especially crucial in tropical regions and warmer climates. It’s important to have not just one or two, but multiple vents, to make sure that the ventilation is adequate throughout the year.
Greenhouse design hack#4 — Cast some shade on your greenhouse
In addition to needing ventilation, an efficient greenhouse design should have adequate shading as well. If you’re planning to use your greenhouse year-round, shading is especially important during the spring and summer months. For the best results, you should utilize external shading rather than internal shading. Internal shading will do a great job at reducing light in a greenhouse, but will noticeably fall short when reducing temperature build-up.
Greenhouse design hack#5 — Optimize greenhouse roof pitch and height
Having a greenhouse design with plenty of height and an adequate roof pitch is essential. This will help with maintaining a flexible growing environment and in controlling temperature. The roof should be pretty steep. An angle of at least 25 degrees or greater from the horizontal is needed for the best results. Roof pitch will also give you additional working height above the staging of the greenhouse.
Additionally, adequate roof pitch will create a chimney effect, allowing warm air to rise and escape through the vents. Air frost, on the other hand, will take longer to descend and this will allow more protection for unheated plants. Read how to manage internal temperatures in our article here.
Greenhouse design hack#6 — Build a strong greenhouse foundation
You also need to give some thought to the design of the greenhouse foundation. The foundation is the base of where your greenhouse will sit. Its requirements will be decided by the type of greenhouse, local building codes and personal preferences. Greenhouse bases can be made out of wood, concrete, galvanized steel, aluminum or other materials.
Greenhouses attached to the house will usually have different requirements than freestanding structures. Local building codes vary, so you will need to find out the specific requirements for your area.
One of the most important parts of a foundation is the footing — the part of the foundation where the greenhouse structure meets the soil. Footers are usually cement and are determined by local codes as well as frost levels in the location. Footers aren’t always necessary, particularly for hobby greenhouses.
Greenhouse design hack#7 — Choose the right greenhouse materials
Several materials can go into a greenhouse design. As an alternative to glass, you can use polycarbonate, polyethylene plastic film, fiberglass, acrylic or vinyl.
In the past, greenhouse frames were usually made of wood. In modern times, aluminum is also common for greenhouse frames as it has several advantages over wood. Aluminum is very durable and stable. It is also available in longer lengths, which makes it much more suitable for a larger structure.
Greenhouse design hack#8 — Greenhouse appearance
It’s important to take into account the actual appearance of the greenhouse. You should consider where it will be located in your yard or home. This will help you plan the design and appearance of the structure. A greenhouse that is in the center of a garden would be a focal point for the eyes of onlookers. It needs to be designed and decorated accordingly. As a general rule, a greenhouse with a dark color will be more hidden while a light-colored greenhouse will draw more attention.
Greenhouse design hack#9 — Decide on your greenhouse budget
There’re a wide range of designs, sizes and factors that affect the cost of a greenhouse. The amount of space in the greenhouse is a big part of the cost. Larger spaces will usually cost a good bit more than smaller ones. A greenhouse can be built quite simply, or it can be made more complex by adding levels and equipment. A greenhouse kit can be a great way to get started with a greenhouse on a budget.
As a side note, it’s ideal that a greenhouse is subdivided with an internal partition. This allows for two or more temperature zones to be maintained in the greenhouse at the same time. Budget considerations will help you decide whether this is possible or not.
Greenhouse Design Hacks
There are tons of unique and creative greenhouse designs to choose from, and plenty of ways you can design greenhouses to fit in with your home or space. These tips should give you a good idea of what all should be considered while designing a greenhouse. Budgets can vary. But no matter what your requirements and considerations are, building a greenhouse of choice, perfect for your home or garden, is easier now than ever.
More resources on greenhouse design and structure planning:
- 10 hacks to maximize space in a small indoor greenhouse
- Which is the best greenhouse to buy?
- Best greenhouse equipment and accessories you need
Having a good greenhouse design can boost the yield of your crops by maintaining year-round temperature and humidity levels. Efficient greenhouse designs also provide value for money.
Before choosing the type of greenhouse design, you will need to know the purpose of your greenhouse. Whether it’s a hobby greenhouse or a commercial one, the design requirements will vary according to the purpose. Once you know why you want to garden, you can decide the type of greenhouse you want, depending on the crops you wish to grow and area you live in. Next, you’ll have to plan for the heating, ventilation and shade of the greenhouse. Greenhouse designs are considerably affected by these three factors. Good designs can promote internal heating without extra electricity. Also, if you optimize the height of the greenhouse well, you can plan for better climate control inside it.
Laying a sturdy foundation and building with the right materials can lengthen the lifespan of your greenhouse. Ultimately, a decent appearance can improve the aesthetics of the structure. Well-planned greenhouse designs have a balanced amalgamation of all these factors.