🌳 The Essential Greenhouse Guide for Beginners

The essential greenhouse guide for beginners


Home gardening has boomed up to 200 percent in the United States, with 1 in 3 families growing food at home or in a community garden. If you were tricked into buying a greenhouse with these stats, you’re going to want to give this essential greenhouse guide for beginners a go.

Exaco Janssens Royal Victorian VI46 Greenhouse 13ft x 20ft

🌳 What is a Greenhouse?

Let's start off with the most obvious! What is a greenhouse?

According to Encyclopedia Britannica

"a Greenhouse, also called glasshouse, building designed for the protection of tender or out-of-season plants against excessive cold or heat. In the 17th century, greenhouses were ordinary brick or timber shelters with a normal proportion of window space and some means of heating."

A greenhouse is a great way to become sustainable. You can grow your own plants, organic veggies! A greenhouse is the ultimate gardening solution for extended growing seasons, greater weather protection, and pest prevention.

⚠ Building codes and Permits:

In many cases, mainly in rural areas, no building permit is needed for greenhouses. However, it is recommended to check with the municipality to find out whether you will need one before building a greenhouse. Some communities and HOAs will require a permit if the greenhouse is a certain height, or square footage or if it's a permanent structure. Certain cities may require a permit if the structure requires any type of foundation or is a permanent structure.
We highly recommend adhering to building codes and asking locally before purchasing a greenhouse. 


Greenhouses harvest great returns on investment as they are designed specifically to cultivate plants. But there isn’t just one type of greenhouse — there’s the wooden greenhouse that keeps the harvest warm, metal greenhouses that are incredibly long-lasting,  polycarbonate greenhouses that allow for efficient light diffusion, in addition to cold frames

🏡 Wooden Greenhouses: 

There are many type wooden structures out there. Most wooden structures, if well maintained can last up to 50 years. That's why it is recommend to pressure treat them and let then dry out completely before using them. The wooden structures go from classic freestanding, LeanTo, Planthouses, cold frames and RHS Freestanding. 

What you need to know if you a wooden structure is that they can rot if they are subject to humidity. That's why, wooden greenhouses are recommended in hot and dry climates and to be treated to perform and last for a very long time. 

 wooden greenhouse

🏡 Aluminum Frame Greenhouses:

Aluminum Frame Greenhouses are the most commonly used greenhouses in the market. 

Aluminum greenhouses are usually built with a polycarbonate or a Tempered Glass panels. Although aluminum frame greenhouse are the sturdiest with a minimum needed maintenance, it is also less expensive than most wooden structures. The question we face now, is which glazing to choose, the glass or polycarbonate. Here is a great article to read to make the right choice about types of panels to choose.

aluminum frame greenhouses

🏡 PVC Frame Greenhouses

One of the cheapest ways to build a greenhouse is by using PVC pipes. These type of greenhouses require minimum skills with basic tools including permanent glue, screws and bolts. To make a really sturdy PVC greenhouse, you will need to make sure that you have a very strong foundation. PVC pipes can bend to create an greenhouse arch, pvc connectors and stakes are also necessary for flexibility and sturdiness.

🌳Best Location For Your Greenhouse

Regardless of the frame or glazing material , a flat, firm surface makes for an ideal spot for your greenhouse. If your region is susceptible to flooding, it’s best to place it in an elevated region. Another important characteristic is to keep sunlight in mind, so you receive maximum exposure to the sun to stimulate the growth of your plants. The best spot for a greenhouse would be the south or southeast side of your house. The sunlight is essential for plant growth and warmth too. 

south east

🌳 Check for Air Circulation

Plants need airflow, moisture level, and temperature to grow adequately. Unfortunately, greenhouses don’t ventilate on their own. You’re going to have to go the extra mile to ensure uniformity of humidity, carbon dioxide, temperature, and oxygen. Environmental consistency ensures optimal growth and encourages pollination. We recommend exhaust fans by Riga for air circulation. 

When setting up an exhaust fan in a polycarbonate greenhouse, most people put the exhaust fan in the gable end of the greenhouse. With a Polycarbonate greenhouse, you can just cut through the panels and set the exhaust fan where you need it to be. However, with tempered glass, you cannot do that. You will need to get a Lexan panel to replace the gable end section otherwise, attempting to cut tempered glass will shutter it completely! 

🌳Temperature and Humidity Control

Extremely hot temperatures can cause your plants to wilt, whereas cold temperatures can halt growth and production. Plants are vulnerable to temperature changes, which is why you must allow for cool air to seep in and hot air to escape. Likewise, a high concentration of humidity accumulating into the greenhouse can result in fungi, mold, and mildew.

🌳Watering Systems for Plants 

Inappropriate watering can decrease shoot size, cause irregular drying, and account for the bad quality of root growth. Each plant needs a different amount of water to grow, which is why you must understand the water requirements of each plant. As important as it is not too underwater, it’s equally crucial not to overwater. Allow your soil to drain before the next drip.

🌳Cost to Consider When Buying a Greenhouse:

 Whens starting a greenhouse project, you have to keep in mind what kind of cost you might need to incurr before and after you construct it.

🌿 Permits: The need for a buliding permit will differ from town to town. In a rural area, the permits usually are not required. However, it is always recommended to check with your local city to check for what is needed to build a greenhouse. The requirements change depending on the square footage of the greenhouse, the height, the location (city, neighborhood) and wether it's a permanent construction. You will also need to check with your local HOA, some are very strict and might not allow a greenhouse in your neighborhood. Permits and licenses might cost you some money, so do your research first before purchasing a greenhouse!

🌿 Time: Time is money, indeed! Before you purchase a greenhouse, you will need to do a thorough research on the type of greenhouse you need. How big of a greenhouse, the kind of frame (aluminum, wood, pvc pipes), the type of glazing (polycarbonate, glass..). Do you want to construct one from scratch or would you just buy a greenhouse kit? All this may take time, and growing season might be around the corner. Also, be mindful of cold seasons when it would be hard to construct a greenhouse because the ground is frozen. You might need to purchase a greenhouse kit and store it in the garage until you are able to construct it.

🌿 The cost of the greenhouse will vary: Depending on whether you will be building one from scratch, or buying a greenhouse kit. If you are building one from sctrach you need to think about building material and also the cost of labor. In either case, you will also have to consider the type of foundation you will invest in? a Concrete foundation, a perimiter one? wooden floor? bricks? in addition of course to the cost of leveling the ground.

🌿 Maintenance cost: Bear in mind that there are costs that you have to consider as you own a greenhouse: How do you want to keep the greenhouse warm throughout the year? What kind of plants are you growing and what temperature do they require? (here is an article about how to keep your greenhouse warm without electricity). Is an electric heater a better option for you? Is your greenhouse glass or polycarbonate?. In addition to utilities, you will need to purchase plants, seeds, pots, shelves, seed trays, dirt, cleaning supplies, hoses, grow lights, fans. Possible broken parts (glass or other accessories that need replacement). 


Now that you know what you know, your next step is to head to Mulberry Greenhouses. Or if you need us to, we’ll give you free shipping in the continental USA for greenhouse kits, greenhouses accessories, and Smart Grow Cabinet.

Mulberry Greenhouses is a female-owned business that has qualified as authorized dealers for renowned brands including Exaco, Monticello, Riverstone, Riga, Lumen & Forge, Solexx, and Janssens Victorian Greenhouses.

Don’t feel guilty if you find yourself indulging in greenhouse heaters, greenhouse grow lights, shade cloths, Aerobin 400 composters, greenhouse solar power system, shelves, Solexx Greenhouse Flooring, greenhouse watering system, tie-down kit, fans, door kits, and greenhouse cold frames at our online store — it all comes in pretty handy!


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1 comment

Hey! My mother-in-law has been retired for five months now and since then she likes to spend some time at her backyard garden. That really makes me think of this article, particularly the part about how PVC frame greenhouse are basically way less expensive to set up actually. I’ll recommend this option to her when she refers to an expert to further enhance the area soon. https://www.harvesttechs.com/greenhouses/

Amy Saunders

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