A backyard greenhouse is the ultimate addition to your garden, protecting your seedlings from weather conditions and extending your growing season beyond what your climate naturally provides. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, materials and prices — so which one is best for you? Here are five things to consider when buying a backyard greenhouse.
Greenhouse frames are usually made from aluminum or wood. Durable, lightweight aluminum is the most popular and cost-effective frame option, but if you want a more classic look, you might prefer a wood frame. Keep in mind that wood frames cost significantly more and tend to be less durable.
Most models are square or rectangular. Hexagonal or octagonal models are more expensive and harder to find.
Most backyard greenhouse covers are made from plastic, polycarbonate or glass.
Greenhouses with plastic or polycarbonate covers tend to be more cost effective, portable and easier to build than glass. But those materials are unlikely to last through winter weather.
A glass greenhouse might be worth the investment if you’re going for style, or want more durability.
Greenhouses can cost as little as $100 or upwards of $5,000 depending on what type and size you choose. The biggest price difference lies in the material — glass greenhouse kits are significantly more expensive than those made from plastic or polycarbonate.
There are two primary types of backyard greenhouse kits: standalone greenhouses and “lean to” greenhouses, which are installed against an outer wall of your house. Lean-tos are great for smaller yards and to be able to feed in electricity for lighting or hoses for watering.
Standalone greenhouse kits come as small as 4 feet by 4 feet, to as large as 8 feet by 24 feet. Which size you choose depends on your individual needs.
Consider the size of your backyard and how much real estate you’re willing to sacrifice, as well as which types of plants you’ll be growing in your greenhouse.
For example, if you’re looking to grow squash or tomatoes, these plants take up lots of space when growing. But if you’re growing flowers, greens or herbs like parsley and cilantro, you’ll be able to fit all those in a small space.
Orient the greenhouse for maximum sunlight. North-south is best for summer; east-west provides more light in the winter.
Make sure your greenhouse is set on level ground to keep it in place. You might consider placing it near a fence or wall to protect it from wind. It’s best to keep your greenhouse away from trees.
Katy Severson is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews analyzes and tests products to recommend the best picks for consumers.