How to Build a Cheap Greenhouse


If you have ever wanted to extend your growing season past the first frost of the year, then a hoop house is an inexpensive way to create a greenhouse for winter gardening. You can put up a hoop house in one or two weekends with materials available at any hardware store. Make the hoop house any size you wish--whatever fits your budget.

Greenhouse Ends

Step 1

Lay out a 12-foot section of 1-by-4 inch wood on a flat surface. Flex a section of pipe into a U shape and attach each end of the pipe to the end of the 1-by-4 with a wood screw. Create a doorway by attaching 1-by-3 boards to the interior of the PVC arch with wood screws.

Step 2

Repeat to create a second doorway for the other end of the greenhouse. Reinforce the corners of the door with nylon zip ties around the joints.

Step 3

Cut a 22-foot section of plastic from the sheet of greenhouse plastic. Staple the plastic to the 1-by-4 board at the bottom of your end piece. Wrap it over the top and sides of the arching roof. Staple the plastic to the 1-by-3 boards. Trim away plastic from the doorway. Leave enough plastic so that you can fold it double, wrap it back behind the door and staple it in place. Trim away any excess plastic from the door.

Step 4

Repeat to wrap your second doorway in plastic.


Step 1

Drive T posts into the ground at the entrance points to your door. Place the end walls of your greenhouse against these T posts and secure in place with nylon zip ties.

Step 2

Drive lengths of rebar into the ground on each side of the greenhouse every 3 feet.

Step 3

Flex each section of conduit into an arch and place the ends over the rebar pins.

Step 4

Attach a 2-by-6 ridge pole to the center arch of the greenhouse with wood screws. This will keep the greenhouse from sagging and collapsing in heavy rain or snow.

Step 5

Attach 16-gauge utility wires to each lintel corner. Run the wire from the lintel corner across the ridge poles and to the corner on the ground of the opposite doorway. The wire should crisscross into an X brace over the center side walls of the greenhouse.

Step 6

Cut greenhouse plastic to fit over the walls of the greenhouse. Staple the bottom edges of the plastic to 2-by-2 boards. Slip the plastic over the roof of the greenhouse. Roll the ends of the greenhouse plastic and staple them to the braces of the greenhouse ends.

Things You'll Need

  • 6 lengths gray PVC pipe, 20 feet each
  • 12 1-by-3-inch boards, 8 feet each
  • 4 T-shaped fence posts, 8 feet each
  • 2 1-by-4 boards, 12-foot length
  • 2 2-by-2 boards, 16 feet
  • 14 pieces ½-inch rebar, 18 inches long
  • 100 nylon zip ties, 8 inches each
  • 1 lb. of 1 1/4-inch drywall screws
  • 200 feet of 16-gauge utility wire
  • 1,000 3/8-inch T staples
  • 20- by 100-foot 6-mil PVC greenhouse plastic
  • Drill
  • Phillips head drill bit
  • Heavy-duty construction staple gun
  • Utility knife
  • Rubber mallet


  • The Door Garden: How to Build my 50 Dollar Greenhouse
  • Washington State University: Hoophouses
  • University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service: Greenhouses and Similar Structures

Who Can Help

  • Texas A&M Extension: Texas Greenhouse Management Handbook
  • University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: Greenhouse Structures
Keywords: greenhouse construction, building a hoop house, putting up a poly tunnel

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."