How to Start an Urban Greenhouse


Re-purpose an existing space to create an urban greenhouse. Typical city life is crowded and noisy. Create a calm eco-friendly oasis filled with herbs, food and other plants. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 15 percent of the world's food is grown in urban areas. Start an urban greenhouse to bring the country to the city.

Step 1

Select a sunny location. Greenhouses need sunshine. Choose a location with southern exposure. Rooftops, empty or underdeveloped lots, balconies and patios are all potential greenhouse locations.

Step 2

Secure all required permits and permissions. Contact your city planning department to determine if the zoning and building codes allow greenhouses at your selected location. If necessary, get approval from your landlord or condo/co-op board before you start construction.

Step 3

Get a price quote and rendering from an experienced architect/contractor. Obtain the dimensions of a greenhouse that could be built on your selected location. Use the sketch and dimensions to determine how many plants you can place in the greenhouse.

Step 4

Supervise the construction of the greenhouse.

Step 5

Select plants that will thrive in the local climate and in the soil available. Factor in space constraints. Choose herbs, spices, food and flowers that are pleasing to you and other people who will assist with the greenhouse maintenance.

Step 6

Create a maintenance plan for the greenhouse. Invite neighbors, friends and family members to participate with upkeep.

Step 7

Stock the greenhouse. Arrange your selected plants.

Step 8

Invite the community to the greenhouse grand opening. Demonstrate how to care for the plants using gardening tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Plant seeds
  • Plants
  • Planters
  • Soil
  • Garden tools


  • American Planning Association
  • Urban Agriculture News
  • United States Deparment of Agriculture

Who Can Help

  • The Urban Farm
Keywords: greenhouse, urban gardening, urban agriculture

About this Author

Dee Striker has been writing professionally since 2007. Her work has appeared in "The New York Amsterdam News" and several online publications such as Clutch and Get 'Em Girls. Her portfolio includes articles on real estate, love/relationships and politics. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a Master of Arts degree in urban planning from the University of Michigan.

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