How to Design Your Own Greenhouse


Designing your own greenhouse is an exciting part of gardening. Growing cuttings and seeds into mature plants provides plenty to do in the winter months. And when the weather outside just is not cooperating, your own greenhouse keeps you busy for when the sun shines. Whether a hoop house or a plastic panel house, there is a greenhouse style for everyone and every budget.

Step 1

Determine the size for your greenhouse. A greenhouse designed to start plants early for the family garden requires less space than one used to produce nursery cuttings.

Step 2

Decide on a location. Your greenhouse needs six to eight hours of direct sunlight; it also needs a nearby water supply. If warmed with an outside heat source, the greenhouse must also be close to that source. Make sure there's proper drainage so no flooding occurs during rainy weather and spring thaws.

Step 3

Explore design methods from hoop houses to wooden-framed buildings. You can choose from stand-alone greenhouses or an add-on. Again, size, use and duration all figure into designing your own greenhouse and the type of structure best suited for your needs.

Step 4

Choose the type of material for building your greenhouse. PVC pipe and plastic film offer a quick way to build, but may only withstand one growing season. Polycarbonate plastic panels last for several years, but have a higher price tag.

Step 5

Draw out your ideal greenhouse on graph paper, using a scale to make the sketch as accurate as possible. Include fans or exhaust systems, watering systems and the location of the heat source. Add amenities such as work tables, growing platforms or storage space.

Step 6

With the information you gather, determine cost, size, structural form and amenities. Doing all these steps gives you a good idea of what you can afford and what is necessary in your greenhouse. If cost becomes a factor, choose a simple plan you can expand in the future.

Tips and Warnings

  • Choose durable material in high-wind areas---or the cost of building the greenhouse will increase with possible repairs during the year.

Things You'll Need

  • Graph paper
  • Tape measure
  • Calculator
  • Various greenhouse plans


  • West Virginia University: Planning and Building a Greenhouse
  • Frugal Living: Build Your Own Greenhouse
Keywords: greenhouse designs, designing a greenhouse, planning a greenhouse

About this Author

JulieAnn is a freelance writer from Ohio. She has been writing poetry and short stories for 30 years. Recently JulieAnn has written a variety of e-books and numerous articles on gardening, small business, and farming. JulieAnn is currently enrolled at Kent State University completing her Bachelor's degree in English.