Thinking of building a greenhouse in your yard? It’s not really as hard as you might think. If you’re rich, that is. If you don’t quite possess the financial resources of the Kate Hepburn character in “Suddenly, Last Summer” or that cracker white supremacist from Mississippi who gets a much-needed slap from Sidney Poitier in “In the Heat of the Night” it can be more difficult. The important thing to keep in mind is that it’s not impossible to build a greenhouse on a budget. The key to pulling off a budget greenhouse–or, really, any greenhouse-is planning ahead.
Advanced planning really is the key component to making your decision to add a greenhouse to your garden a reality. And how does that advanced planning start? Locating the greenhouse in exactly the right spot should be at the forefront of what comes next. This is especially true if you plan on using it during the winter months, but it’s not just winter that makes location matter.
Pick a location for your greenhouse where there will be no obstruction created by the house, a wall or trees. Perhaps most importantly of all, pick a spot where no obstruction will result from your neighbor’s house, walls or tree. Or future location of your neighbor’s house, walls or trees. It pays to plan ahead, see. The last thing you want is for your carefully planned greenhouse to suddenly be obstructed from the sun because your neighbor decided to add a privacy fence or a second story. If you are going to use the greenhouse during the winter, you want to utilize the complicated mathematics known as the Pilkington Sun Angle Calculator. Or, if you would prefer not to spend the rest of your life figuring out this complicated geometry, just situate the greenhouse somewhere in your yard where will receive at least four hours of sunlight on the winter solstice on December 21.
The next step in successfully planning for a residential greenhouse involves addressing whether you want ort or can have a freestanding greenhouse or whether you want a greenhouse that you attach to your house. The attached greenhouses are generally cheaper because you only have to build three walls. The utilities that expand to the greenhouse generally are more convenient with an attached greenhouse than with a freestanding model.
Consider investing in a solar greenhouse that is equipped with heat-absorbing materials and ratio of glass area specifically calculated to potentiate heat gain during the winter months. A solar greenhouse may cost more upfront, but you will potentially save significantly over time because you don’t need to use as much power to heat the greenhouse during the winter. Gain as much control over the environment within the greenhouse as possible. This mean weather-stripping the door and vents and sealing the joints between the roof and walls with caulk. Make sure that the glazing fits snugly to the window frame.
Conduct a thorough search for cracks before you go to the trouble of installing a heating system. Line the cracks with either plastic sheeting or sealant. If you life in a region where the cold can get severe during the winter, use the strategy of lining the walls and the roof of your greenhouse with a 4 mils thick layer of clear plastic sheeting.
Plan for an efficient ventilation system to promote air circulation. Greenhouses tend to get very humid by nature, but an overly humid atmosphere can lead to problems with your plants like stem rot . Part of your dehumidifying strategy should be the introduction of a fresh-air intake situated at the lower part of the greenhouse wall along with an exit vent located on the upper portion. This plan create warm-air convection currents that facilitate air circulation.