Thursday, October 1, 2009

Building a Lean-To Greenhouse

A lean-to greenhouse is a great choice if you are looking to extend the growing season for your fruits, flowers or vegetables. It is a practical cost saving structure with several advantages. First, it is an ideal choice when space is at a premium and second, it cuts heating costs because the common wall between your home and greenhouse absorbs heat during the day and radiates it back when temperatures fall at night. An access door from the interior of the house would help in saving plants from blasts of cold air when you enter or exit. Building a lean-to greenhouse also allows you easy access to utilities such as electric points and water source. If you build it abutting your garage wall, all the better! You can store your tools and equipment right next door.

With all these advantages, building a lean-to greenhouse makes sense. Here are a few tips on setting it up:

1. You can begin with a basic carpentry set and equally basic carpentry skills!

2. Site your greenhouse for best exposure to the sun in early spring and late autumn. For this purpose, the south side of your house would be most suitable.

3. You can opt for a lumber foundation as you can install it yourself. Begin by clearing the area and marking the perimeter of the structure you plan to build. Use measuring tape and wooden stakes. Make maximum use of the wall you plan to lean you greenhouse on by using as much of its length as possible.

4. Dig a foundation trench on three sides to accommodate the foundation planks according to the boundaries you have marked out.

5. Use pressure treated timber eight inch by eight inch in size. Dig only as deep as necessary to fit in the timber. Recheck that the trenches are the correct length and width as planned. Check that the foundation is level. Use a carpenter's square to ensure that the planks are at right angles to each other.

6. Go in for spruce or cedar wood to build a frame nailed to the wood foundation. Your greenhouse should be about seven feet in height from the ground.

7. Build the outside wall frame first, then the roof rafters, and finally the side wall frame.

8. Make space for a door on the west wall. Add a thin strip of plywood on the lower part of the door frame for added strength. Put in the door hinges and attach the door.

9. Build two vents on the lower side of the west wall and one in the centre of the roof.

10. Attach glazing to ensure that there are no gaps or leaks. Use poly film, polycarbonate, glass or fiberglass.

With these tips to help you get going, building a lean-to greenhouse will take you no more than a weekend once the foundation is ready.

Autor: Bill Keene

Bill Keene is a former farmer and author of of the "Building A Greenhouse Plans" and website

Added: October 2, 2009