Polyvinyl Chloride plastic is an amazingly versatile material, most commonly sold in pipes used to perform basic plumbing and other simple construction work. Making a hoop-shaped greenhouse is quick and relatively simple for someone with a few tools and a free day weekend.
Cutting and Preparation
Measure, mark and cut the 1-inch PVC pipes to length. You'll need a front and back piece at 11½ feet long each, two side pieces at 12 feet 3/8 inches, five arches at 19 feet long, four spine pieces at 3 feet apiece, four side struts at 6 feet long, two door sides at 67 inches and 10 door and window strut pieces at 27 inches.
Also cut the 1¼ pipe into ten 4-inch lengths. Be sure to label your pieces as you cut them.
Bend the arch pieces so they open to 11½ feet at the bottom. See the video in Resources for more information on using the heat gun, scrap wood and wood screws to bend the pipe.
Glue two of the 1¼ inch pieces together, parallel to make a hinge. Repeat four times to make four hinges.
Glue a 1¼ piece parallel to one of the snap-clamps to make a latch piece. Repeat to make a second latch.
Cut the painter's plastic into a 20-foot-by-13-foot-4-inch top sheet, two 12-foot-½-inch-by-7-foot end pieces, a 6-foot-6-inch by 3-foot-4-inch door piece, and a 3-foot-4-inch square window piece.
Slide, but don't glue, three slip Ts onto the side pipe pieces, and two slip Ts onto the front and back pipe pieces.
Attach, but don't glue these pipes at the corners with three-way connectors to make a rectangular frame. Drive five stakes into the ground on either side to keep the greenhouse down.
Slip a pair of T connectors onto the middle three arches, and three onto the end arches. Don't glue any parts yet.
Attach, but don't glue, the end arch pipes to the corner connectors. Slide the middle arches into place on the side pieces.
Connect the arches together with the 3-foot spines.
Slip a hinge, a slip T and the other hinge onto one of the door sides. Attach a 90-degree elbow connector at the top and bottom. Connect three door struts to the elbows, then attach the other door side with a pair of elbows and a slip T to make a figure eight shape for the door. Glue all of the pieces, except the hinges, together.
Slip the two other hinges onto a piece of window strut, then glue two elbow connectors onto the ends. Make a square with three more pieces and two more elbows, gluing it together---leaving the hinges loose.
Make a door frame by attaching two slip Ts to a pair of side struts, and attaching them with a door strut. Slide the door itself onto the frame, and a latch on the other side. Attach the door rig to the hanging slip Ts on the front arch, and the slip Ts on the front base piece.
Repeat the prior step, but add a second set of slip Ts and a window strut to make the rear window frame.
Glue any pieces as necessary. The frame is complete, so test the door and window. Other than those parts, nothing should move.
Cover the door and window, using snap clamps about 8 to 10 inches apart. Make sure the plastic is taut.
Cover the ends with plastic, putting snap clamps to keep the plastic taut across the PVC, about 8 to 10 inches apart. Cut the door and window openings out of the end pieces.
Drape the top piece across the arches, and clamp it into place with more snap clamps, again spacing them 8 to 10 inches apart.
Tighten the plastic, then screw the snap clamps to the frame with the self-tapping screws.
Trim any excess plastic, then re-stake the hoop house to the ground.
About this Author
Grahame Turner has worked as a freelance writer since 2009, and a freelance reporter since 2010 for "Wellesley Patch" and "Jamaica Plain Patch" in Massachusetts. He also works part-time as a bookseller at the Northeastern University bookstore, and lives near Jamaica Plain, Mass. He's a Northeastern University graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in English.