DIY Greenhouse on the Cheap

DIY Greenhouse Cheap!

Having a greenhouse can revolutionize the amount and kinds of vegetables you can grow around your home, which means a more reliable and enjoyable supply of replenishable food in the event of an emergency. These relatively simple structures allow you to extend the growing season in colder climates or even grow heat-loving plants like tomatoes in places that are otherwise too cold. A greenhouse can also serve as an incubator for plants grown from seed, which means you can purchase seeds in bulk rather than rely on having to purchase starter plants to grow your vegetables. In extreme cases, having a greenhouse in your yard can even serve as a warm retreat when there is no heat source working inside your house.

While it is possible to purchase a pre-constructed greenhouse and have it installed in your own yard, building your own is often more fulfilling and offers a variety of advantages. Building your own DIY greenhouse cheap allows you to scale the size and complexity of the structure according to the amount of food you want to grow while also keeping the price of having a greenhouse way down compared to purchasing a prefabricated greenhouse. In fact, a cheap DIY greenhouse can cost less than $50 and require only materials from your local hardware store. Plus, there are a nearly endless variety of ways to build your own greenhouse, so you can add your own personal flair to the structure and pick and choose the methods that work best for you. Small greenhouse plans have endless options, so check out these below and add your own customizations!

10 Best Small Greenhouse Plans

1) 5 x 5 PVC Greenhouse

This small greenhouse is about as simple to build and inexpensive as they come, costing under $25 after a trip to the local hardware store. The design essential uses PVC piping bent into semicircles to form the backbone of the traditional greenhouse shape. Although the PVC frame will not necessarily stand up to strong weather, this frame is plenty strong to hold up the plastic sheeting that traps heat within the structure. Zip-ties hold the whole thing together at a minimal cost, although it is possible to build the greenhouse even more cheaply by using duct tape instead. To make sure the greenhouse doesn’t fly away in a gust of wind, be sure to secure it to the ground with tent stakes, cement blocks, or by tying it down to other structures in your yard.

2) 8 x 10 Wooden Greenhouse

This expansive greenhouse design from BuildEazy features an all-wood frame, in contrast to the simple PVC-based greenhouse designs that are lighter and faster to build. The advantage of the wooden frame, however, is that it can stand up to serious abuse by the weather. The greenhouse remains cheap to build by relying exclusively on 2” x 4” boards, which are typically inexpensive at the local lumber store even when treated for weather sealing. This greenhouse design also includes optional doors at either end, which can be quite useful if you are working in the greenhouse frequently or moving large amounts of soil around. The greenhouse can be staked into the ground, although a cement foundation is a better idea if this is anticipated to be a more permanent structure in your yard.

3) Geodome Greenhouse

Your DIY greenhouse doesn’t have to lack style – and this geodome-style greenhouse from Northern Homestead is sure to catch your neighbors’ eyes. Thankfully, this eloquent design is not nearly as difficult or expensive to build as it might seem at first glance since it primarily relies on treated 2” x 4” boards. The main problem with this design is that it takes a significant amount of time, since the struts need to be very carefully measured and cut so that they fit together evenly without resulting in an annoyingly uneven base. The struts also need to be drilled such that they can be held together with a series of miter joints – screws will also work, but add to the overall cost of the greenhouse. Also note that the plastic sheeting will need to be cut into multiple sections since it will not lay over the dome evenly in a single piece.

4) Barn Greenhouse

This barn-style greenhouse requires a bit more effort to construct, but allows you to customize the size to your needs. Plus, the resulting structure is much sturdier than many other DIY greenhouses, making it a perfect choice for those who live in windy or snowy areas. The original designs call for using metal roofing panels along the sides of the greenhouse given the durability of this material, although plywood can be substituted to further reduce the cost of the project. Be sure to use the plastic ribbing strips, rather than plastic sheeting, to cover the greenhouse since these will do a much better job of insulating the interior and protecting the roof from falling in if rain or snow pool up on the roof.

5) Storm Window Greenhouse

This small greenhouse is more decorative than practical, but the design offers some intriguing insight into how you can make a DIY greenhouse extremely cheaply using materials you have lying around – like old storm windows. Of course, this does require having several storm windows that are the same size and not so hazy with age that they will prevent sunlight from entering. The frame for this greenhouse is constructed from inexpensive 2” x 4” boards, although note that you will need a pitched roof if this is not protected under your house from rain and snow piling up on the top. The design can be expanded from small windows to storm doors to create a larger greenhouse space as well.

6) Pallet Greenhouse

Looking to get the 2” x 4” boards called for in many DIY greenhouse plans even more cheaply? Pick up a stack of pallets from your local hardware store, or for free from a local business that has too many pallets on hand. The frame for this simple greenhouse structure is constructed entirely from pallet wood, requiring about six to eight pallets in total. Where the plans call for securing the greenhouse frame directly into the ground, note that this greenhouse can also be pitched using heavy-duty stakes or with concrete blocks if you would like it to be somewhat mobile.

7) Removable Cover Greenhouse

This ingenious greenhouse design is perfect if you already have a raised bed in your yard and would like to convert it to a greenhouse for planting vegetables that are less cold-tolerant. The frame of the greenhouse uses bent 10-foot PVC pipe sections to create a frame over which you can fasten plastic sheeting, similar to many other DIY greenhouse designs. What sets this design apart, however, is that the greenhouse frame rests on top of the raised bed and can be safely lifted by installing a few metal hinges and chains to keep it resting upright. Note that the plans do not include a way to fasten the greenhouse frame to the raised bed when the roof is down – this can be done cheaply with additional latching hinges, or even by adding industrial Velcro strips.

8) Box Greenhouse

This box-shaped greenhouse is extremely simple and cheap to build, making it ideal for people who don’t have a jigsaw or aren’t as comfortable cutting wood ends at exact angles. The frame is constructed entirely from inexpensive 2” x 4” boards and can be easily customized to your desired dimensions, including the height. The addition of a front door within the frame also makes it easy to get a wheelbarrow into this greenhouse if you are moving a lot of soil. Note, however, that the flat roof is prone to collapsing if you live in a wet area since rain and snow can pile up on the roof.

9) Garage Greenhouse

This greenhouse is perfect for starting plants from seed in areas that have cool springs but moderate summer temperatures since it is lightweight and easy to remove from your plants when not in use. The greenhouse relies on the side of your house or shed to give it primary structure, but then simply calls for a few pieces of PVC piping to suspend plastic sheeting over a small area. The PVC piping can be made to hinge at the base with a few elbow fittings, allowing the plastic sheeting to be folded back and tied down with either chains or zip ties when not in use. When the sheeting is down, bricks or even duct tape can be used to cheaply keep the plastic sheeting attached to the ground.

10) 11 x 15 PVC Greenhouse

This spacious greenhouse design from The Door Garden costs less than $150 – that’s less than $1 per square foot – and even less if you are able to use recycled materials rather than purchase everything new. The greenhouse is approximately 11 feet wide by 15 feet long and 7.5 feet tall in the center. The secret to the low cost compared to similar designs is that this greenhouse forgoes connecting the PVC pipes with fittings, opting instead to use 20-foot sections of pipe that can then be drilled on either end to 11-foot long pieces of wood to form the bent shape of the frame. Additional wood on the end frames and across the length of the greenhouse provide extra reinforcement to ensure that the structure will stand up against wind, rain, and snow. Also note that any wood used in this greenhouse should be treated to ensure that the frame lasts more than a few years.