How to build My 50 Dollar Greenhouse

October 27th, 2008 by David LaFerney Leave a reply »
  • First off – you really can build this thing very cheaply, but to do so you have to recycle, freecycle, and scrounge.  If you just go out and buy new everything it will probably cost over $200 – still not bad all in all.
  • This Article is featured in Jan 2010 issue of Birds and Blooms Magazine!
  • Want to find out if this thing works before you read all this?  Read 6 months in the Greenhouse first.
  • Want to see what happens when a few inches of wet snow accumulates on this?  Collapse!
  • Building the Greenhouse Doors is addressed in a separate article – isn’t this enough for one weekend?
My $50 Greenhouse

My $50 Greenhouse

Welcome Stumbleupon Gardeners! How about a Thumb up if you like this article?

Materials list

Construction Steps

Hind Sight – What I would do differently

The planning is over and construction on my hoop house greenhouse has begun.  I’ve rounded up all of the materials and it looks like I’m going to end up with about $50 in a 165 square ft. green house. Granted I already had most of the materials because I’m an incorrigible pack rat, but even if I had bought everything new just for this polytunnel It would still only come to about $120 $150 – less than a dollar per square ft.  Due to the fact that we are in the midst of a global economic meltdown, and the future is a bit uncertain keeping the cost of this project as low as possible is an important consideration.

After some research I’ve decided to build the structure of the hoop house out of 20 ft. joints of three quarter inch PVC plumbing pipe.  Some similar greenhouse designs that I’ve run across use 10 ft joints of pipe and then fasten everything together with pipe fittings, but I’m saving quite a bit of cash with the long joints of pipe and by not using any fittings – also overall simplicity is improved.  There is one thing though, you can carry 10 ft joints of pipe in the mini van, but hauling 20′ pipe requires a truck and preferably a ladder rack.  However, you could just cut them in half right at the home improvement store and then put them back together when you get home with the coupling that is built into one end of the 20′ long pipe joints – 10′ pipe joints don’t have the built in couplers – just go to the home improvement store prepared with a saw or pipe cutter.

My hoop house green house is going to be 11 feet wide and 15 feet long, and will be about seven and a half feet tall in the center.  You could make one of these as long or as short as you want, but using this design the width needs to be between 10-12 feet.  11 feet wide just happpened to work out with the layout of my garden which has 3 foot wide beds with 5 ft paths between (the wide paths are so that I can keep it tidy with my riding lawn mower) so eleven feet covers two beds and the path between them.  This width also makes the sides go fairly straight up from the ground for the first few feet – I’ve noticed that in some hoop house / polytunnel designs the outer edges are almost unusable because of the slope of the greenhouse sides.

If your Greenhouse is too Flat it will collapse!

You might be tempted to make your greenhouse wider and lower at this point to get more floor space out of it – but be careful.  If you have snow in your area it will slide off of a high peak a lot better than it will if your greenhouse has more of a flattened shape – and the same goes for heavy rains.  If your hoop house shape is too flattened it will cave in the first time it snows or rains really hard!

How to Build the $50 Hoop House

I decided to begin the construction by building the end walls first – even though it would be more fun to throw up the main structure in just an hour or so and make a big showing of progress, I think that in the long run it will be quicker and easier to build the end frames first on my garage floor.

I temporarily attached a joint of pipe to a piece of 1x4 to establish the outline.

I temporarily attached a joint of pipe to a piece of 1x4 to establish the outline. You might be tempted to make your greenhouse wider and lower at this point to get more floor space out of it - but be careful. If you have snow in your area it will slide off of a high peak a lot better than it will if your greenhouse has more of a flattened shape - and the same goes for heavy rains. If your greenhouse is to flattened it will cave in the first time is snows or rains really hard!

Pre-drill the pipe and use one screw so that the pipe can swivel to whatever angle it naturally aligns to.

Pre-drill the pipe and use one screw so that the pipe can swivel to whatever angle it naturally aligns to. For now just let the wood "run wild"

I used pressure treated lumber for much of the polytunnel end frames even though I usually try to avoid treated wood in the garden.  In this case I think it’s called for or else the greenhouse probably wouldn’t last more than 2-3 years without rebuilding the frame.  In any event I’ll try to keep it off of the soil as much as possible.

Build the rest of the frame to accomodate the door size that you want to use.

Build the rest of the frame to accommodate the door size that you want to use. My door will be 5 feet wide, but in most cases 3' wide would be adequate. If you want a more permanant greenhouse or you live where you will ever get more than an inch of snow you should use "two by" lumber instead of "one by" that is shown here.

Leave the piece that runs across the bottom of the door in place for now.  Once everything is set in place it will be easy to cut out with a hand saw.

I used a bit of weather resistand glue at all of the joints to help make it all more rigid.

I used a bit of weather resistand glue at all of the joints to help make it all more rigid. Notice the wood recycled from concrete form lumber.

Mark the final outline once the wooden parts are assembled.

Mark the final outline once the wooden parts are assembled. Watch out for that screw when you saw to the line!

Now just trim to the line - I used a reciprocating/sabre saw, but you could also use a hand saw or circular saw if its all you have.  Just make a straight cut in about the right place.

Now just trim to the line - I used a reciprocating/sabre saw, but you could also use a hand saw or circular saw if it's all you have. Just make a straight cut in about the right place.

Now re-attach the pipe to the outside of the frame.  I used screws and wire ties because Im a belt *and* suspenders kind of guy.

Now re-attach the pipe to the outside of the frame. I used screws and wire ties because I'm a belt *and* suspenders kind of guy.

The end wall frames ended up being reasonably light and very rigid. BTW, you might notice that the second one is different (simpler) from the first because this is a learn-as-I go process. Both of them work fine though.

back side of the green house end frame

back side of the green house end frame

and the front side...

and the front side... Notice that the plastic that will be the roof and sides of your greenhouse are going to fold over the ends and staple to the wooden parts. If you don't have enough wooden structure in the ends you won't be able to fasten the plastic and you will have trouble with it coming lose when the wind blows - and during heavy rain or snow you will be more likely to have problems with the very top sagging and holding water (or snow). If the top sags, it holds water, that makes it heavy and it sags more, then it holds more water... eventually it collapses. You don't want that

This is the front side because it is all on one plane so that the plastic skin will lay flat on it. The back side has reinforcement gussets that stick out.

And Now for the Plastic

The plastic sheeting that I’m using is plain old non-UV stabilized 6 mil “clear” plastic sheeting from the lumber yard.  There is exactly one  reason that I am using this particular variety instead of special polytunnel / greenhouse plastic – it’s what I have.  I cut a 22′ piece off of a 100′ x 20′ roll that I already had (I’m a contractor) which was about $90 for the roll – so in essence I used about $22 worth of plastic sheeting after you apply the 10% TN sales tax. Had I ordered real green house plastic from a similar sized piece of 6 mil plastic would have been about $71 with shipping. The real deal would no doubt last much longer than the “visqueen” that I’m using, and also probably has better thermal and light transmittance.  If all goes well maybe I’ll get some of that next year. Also, It’s hard to buy large pieces of heavy duty plastic like this without buying a whole roll, so unless you know a contractor or Mom and Pop hardware store that will cut you a piece you might really be better off ordering some of the good stuff.  On the other hand a big roll of plastic sheet is one of those things that comes in awfully handy some times.

I just rolled the plastic out on the frame...

I just rolled the plastic out on the frame... Notice the falling leaves - I'm racing against fall weather with this project.

and cut it off nice and clean with a sharp utility knife.

and cut it off nice and clean with a sharp utility knife. A scrap of wood to cut over and a sharp knife make this much easier.

after stapling the plastic to the front, flip it over and fold it over and staple it to the back.  Just fold the excess together as you go.

after stapling the plastic to the front, flip the frame over and fold over the plastic and staple it to the back. Just fold the excess together as you go. Fold in the direction that will be down so that condensation won't collect under the folds.

then trim off the excess.

then trim off the excess. Be careful not to make a miss-cut!

Cut the plastic out of the door opening - leave enough to fold double before stapling it to the frame.

Cut the plastic out of the door opening - leave enough to fold double before stapling it to the frame. Notice the cuts back to the corners of at the top.



Mark out the locations of the door sides on the ground, and drive fence posts or pieces of rebar.

Mark out the locations of the door sides on the ground, and drive fence posts or long pieces of rebar at the sides of the door frame.

If you have much wind I would recommend using steel fence posts or rebar that is at least 5/8″ diameter in these spots. My fence posts don’t match because they’re left overs from previous projects – remember, I’m on a tight budget!

Check the fence posts for plumb and bend them a little if they need straightening.

Check the fence posts for plumb and bend them a little if they need straightening.

Tie the hoop house end frames to the fence posts with wire ties, wire or rope.

Tie the hoop house end frames to the fence posts with wire ties, wire or rope.

The humongous wire ties made this really quick easy and strong, but If I didn’t already have them I would just use “baling” wire, and it would work as well.

Once the end frames are in place pull a string to line up the stakes for the ribs.

Once the end frames are in place pull a string to line up the stakes for the ribs.

Drive rebar pins every 3 feet to secure the intermediate ribs...

Drive rebar pins every 3 feet to secure the intermediate ribs...

At this point it takes about 2 minutes to install the pvc pipes for the intermediate ribs.

At this point it takes about 2 minutes to install the pvc pipes for the intermediate ribs - and the polytunnel takes shape. For a stronger, more permanant structure use more ribs and put them closer together - or even use larger pipe. I haven't tried it but I bet you could use up to 1 1/2" pipe - although you might have to bend it into shape on a warm day.

As you can see it’s getting dark, and I’ll have to finish this later.  Total time invested so far is about 2 1/2 hours.  I believe that taking the greenhouse down next summer, and re-assembling it in the fall will probably only take an hour or so, but I guess I’ll see about that.

Since the site location where I’m building my greenhouse isn’t all that level I had to raise up one side of the end frames with some 2x6s that I ripped to fit – later I cut the tail off where it sticks out toward the fence.  Also notice that this means that the PVC pipes that are the intermediate ribs are too low where they hit the ground…

So I extended them with some scraps of PVC conduit that I had – I never throw anything away. BTW, the gray PVC conduit is sunlight resistant unlike the white – although somewhat more expensive and is less expensive! If you want to do a really good job you could use it instead.  You should probably use the gray conduit instead of the white pipe that I used. You could even opt for schedule 80 conduit which is much thicker if you wanted to go whole hog, or if you needed to make a structure that is sturdier, more permanent or wider.

If you live where it snows or even rains very hard – You need to add a 2″ pvc pipe to the very top of the frame like this:


greenhouse ridge made of 2" pvc pipe

This 2" PVC ridge on TOP of the frame keeps the plastic from sagging in snow or hard rain and prevents the structure from collapsing.

greenhouse ridge detail

I ran a screw up through the ribs into the 2" ridge pipe, but I also tied a peice of 1/4" rope around each intersection as well - I don't trust screws alone in a spot like this.

When I originally built the greenhouse I didn’t use the ridge pole and it collapse under a snow load.  Since adding this feature It has been through several snows with no problem at all.  However when I know snow is coming I have two 2×4 props that I put under the ridge as insurance.

I strung it all together with 1x2s that I ripped out of some slightly used 2×4 studs.  Using full 1x4s (which I later did) or even 2x4s for the top set of these would make the structure stronger.

I used a few wire ties to get everything located, and then drove a 1 1/4″ drywall screw at each joint to secure it.  As you can see by the lay out marks, I first measured and marked all of the locations so that it would go together reasonably straight.

If you look really close in this picture you will see the wires that serve as X bracing on the sides.

I used a doubled wire that I attached at the top and bottom of the ends using a washer and a screw.

I then used some scraps of wood to twist the double wires together and tighten them up like a rubber band airplane.  You just want them to be snug so don’t go nuts tightening them up.  These wires really go a long way to make the whole structure more rigid and sturdy.

Now for the plastic covering – measure and cut your piece of plastic – you want a little extra in all directions – the piece that I used is 20′ x 22′.

My greenhouse is 15′ feet long so I cut a 2×2 x 15′ – Here I’m positioning it in the center of one of the 20′ edges of the plastic – leaving 2 1/2 of plastic past the ends of the 2×2.  Staple it together just to hold it in position.

Now roll the 2×2 under one complete turn so that the edge you stapled is facing up under the top layer of plastic sheet.

Now screw a 1×2 on to secure the plastic. By wrapping the plastic around the 2×2, and then sandwiching 2 layers between the 2 pieces of wood you make a very secure connection, and also add some weight to the bottom edges to help keep them from billowing up in the wind.  Do the same thing to the opposite edge, and then roll it all up and get someone to help you carry it to the hoop house and unroll it across the top…

Thusly.  Now you almost have a greenhouse.

Roll under the edges on the ends and staple them securely (Note: now that I have taken this down for the summer, I think that when I put it back up next fall instead of “stapling it securely” I’m going to just staple it a little bit to get it positioned, and then screw battens made of 1×2 or strips of plywood to hold it in place – it should be stronger and quicker), and other than the doors the structure of your polytunnel greenhouse is finished. Total time at this point – about 6 hours.  Everything is a bigger job than it seems like it’s going to be. Rake soil or mulch up to the gaps at the bottom to keep out drafts and (larger) critters.  Cats in particular are likely to be attracted to such a nice sheltered spot with a bed full of soft loose dirt to dig in so pay attention to the details. Rocks, bricks or concrete stepping stones or blocks placed on top of the soil/mulch around the outside edges are probably a good idea.

Here is a forum discussion on alternative ways to fasten plastic to your greenhouse. I haven’t tried the poly pipe clips that are discussed, so I can’t vouch for them, but it looks like a good idea that I would consider.  Here is a picture of a small greenhouse which uses that method:

This greenhouse uses clips made of sections of black poly pipe to attach the skin.

This greenhouse uses clips made of sections of black poly pipe to attach the skin.

Before I even started on the hoop house I tilled copious amounts of compost into the beds where the greenhouse was going to end up.  So, even though I probably won’t get a chance to put up the doors until next weekend (which is Halloween), I’m all ready to plant some lettuce and spinach for (hopefully) some fresh mid winter greens. One of my goals in building this polytunnel is to have something fresh coming out of the garden or greenhouse all year long. That might be a little optimistic, but I’m going to give it a shot.


Complete Materials list for the “$50 Greenhouse” – As Built

Each      Qty    Total
$4. 23   6        $25.38           20′ x 3/4″ PVC schedule 40 plumbing pipe
$6.70    6        $40.20           1x6x8′ pt – ripped into 1x3s
$4.99    4        $19.96           8′ steel “T” fence post
$2.18    3        $6.54             2×4 stud – rip into 1x2s
$3.97    2        $7.94             1x4x12′ pt
$5.73    1        $5.73             2x4x16′ rip into 2x2s
$7.91    1        $7.91             20’x1/2″ rebar – cut into 18′ lengths
$4.88    .75     $3.66             8″ nylon wire ties – 100
$5.47    .5       $2.74             1 1/4″ x 1lb drywall screws
$6.97    .3       $2.09             16 guage galvanized utility wire – 200′ – for X braces
$2.97    .25     $0.74             3/8″ t-50 staples – 1000
$79.00  .22     $17.38           20′ x 100′ x 6 mil clear plastic
Scraps of plywood for reinforcements – scrounged
$140.27      Total

In the comments:

Deb says: August 23, 2009 at 5:36 am

I built this a couple weekends ago and it cost $136 and some change from Home Depot. While it is more than $50 in reality in August 2009, it is an easy and fun project you can do in an afternoon the first time around easily.

OK, that’s a bit more than I estimated because I didn’t count all of the minor bits that I just take for granted because I buy them in bulk and keep them on hand.  These prices are what you would pay if you just bought the quantities that you need for this project.  Drywall screws for example are only about a third as much when you buy a 25 lb box like I do being a contractor.    However, you can shave most of the 20 dollar overage by using 5/8 rebar instead of fence posts, and gray UV resistant PVC conduit which is actually less expensive than the non resistant white plumbing pipe that I used – you can also do without wire ties, and use scraps of wire instead, etc.  I already had everything on hand except for the PVC pipe and a couple of pieces of 1×6 lumber.  However, surely almost anyone can get some of this stuff for cheap or free if they put some time and effort into it – so shop around and use your imagination to find what will work best for you.

Admittedly it might be hard for most people to build this for just $50 out of pocket, but then again a serious scrounger can probably do it for even less.

Hind Sight – What I would do Differently

  1. When I originally built this  hoophouse it collapsed under a moderate snow load but after adding the 2″ ridge on top of the ribs I have had no more trouble – despite several even larger snows.  I do put a pair of 2×4 props under the ridge when I know that snow is coming though – for insurance.
  2. Use UV resistant gray PVC Conduit instead of white plumbing pipe – it should last longer and is actually less expensive
  3. Use UV resistant greenhouse plastic instead of “visqueen” construction plastic – It’s a good bit more expensive, but I’m so pleased with how the polytunnel turned out so far that I’m pretty sure the investment in durability would be worth while.  However, if the extra expense meant putting off the project I would go ahead and use the cheap plastic because  1) The plastic will have to be replaced sooner or later anyway and the difference in cost seems proportional to the difference in life span 2) It wouldn’t be worth putting off having a perfectly usable greenhouse.
  4. I should have painted the PVC pipes with latex paint before applying the plastic sheeting – apparently this makes the poly sheet last longer, and maybe makes the frame pipes more resistant to UV.
  5. Site Selection – As you can see in the pictures my garden is in a clearing in the woods and the truth is it doesn’t get as much sun as I would like for it to – however I can still grow a nice garden – it just doesn’t yield as much as it might.  I can’t really do very much about this, but you should keep in mind that you want as much sun as possible as well as a sheltered well drained spot that is as close to the kitchen as possible so that it isn’t too much trouble to trot out and get a bowl of fresh lettuce for supper. All that being said – do the best you can with the spot you have, and you might be surprised with the results you can get with a little effort.
  6. Next time I think I will use screws and  battens made of plywood strips to secure the main skin to the end walls (I’m not talking about the end wall skin here) so that instead of using 200 staples I will use a couple of dozen screws to accomplish the same thing, but it will make it quicker to put up and take down.  When I do it I’ll add pictures for clarification.

BTW, Stumblers – Thanks for all the thumbs up.  Feel free to hotlink the images or scrape the text as long as you leave the links intact!

Other homebuilt greenhouses:

The Greenhouse doors are built now and my small hoop house is complete.

Update – Dec. 10, 2008 – we had 2″ of rain and 30 mile per hour winds last night and so far so good – no damage to the greenhouse.

Does it really work? Does the wind blow it away?  Is it even worth the effort?  Read 6 months in the Greenhouse.



  1. George Deligiannis says:

    how are the PVC pipe ribs attached to the ground?


  2. Carl says:

    I built the 50 dollar greenhouse, but it cost me more like $200, because I had to buy most of the materials new, I did save a lot of money on the plastic, I know a guy that has a couple commercial greenhouses, one collapsed last Winter under the weight of the snow, so he sold me enough plastic for my green house for $30.

    I found it easy to build, but made a few changes, I made mine 12 feet long, because I didn’t have enough room for a 15 foot greenhouse. I also nailed lathes where the plastic was stapled on the outside to hold the plastic on better in high winds. I’m happy with how the greenhouse turned out, would recommend it to anyone that wants an affordable greenhose…it also is much easier to build if you have a helper.

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  5. Susan Graf says:

    I looked at the picture that shows how you used the thick plastic zip tie to secure the door frame to the the metal rods in the ground. Did you have to pierce a hole in the plastic sheet to get the tie around the door frame?

  6. Stanton says:

    Hi there to all, the contents existing at this web site are really remarkable for people knowledge, well,
    keep up the nice work fellows.

  7. Michael B. says:

    Hi, My name is Michael and I live in Tasmania. My fiance put me on to this web page, as we have had severe winds and at times it has all but wrecked our initial building of a smaller broken down structure. I am in the process of building a new front with door opening as you have so kindly shared with us. The front is all finished now,complete with plastic wrapping (bought myself a cheap staple gun set at bunnings in Launceston for 22.50 Aus currency). I was just looking at your side structure now and will certainly implement some of that to complete making the greenhouse a lot stronger sturdier job. I will post a picture once I have it complete. Your latest greenhouse student. Thanks heaps for making this such an easy plan to follow, Cheers Michael!

  8. Nick says:

    This may be a dumb question… I’ve gardened a lot… my wife and I just bought a new house with quite a bit of land and I’m trying to take my gardening to the next level. Of course that means harvesting my own produce in the winter… So here’s my question…

    Why UV resistant greenhouse plastic? Don’t plants need the UV light? Does the plastic still let UV light through and just not get degraded by it as quickly?

  9. Balustrading says:

    Great post about building small green house. I must try this.

  10. If anybody facing problem while making the greenhouse then go for it. Read this step by step whole post. At the end you will get what you actually want. I also want to make it fast. Thanks for sharing this post. Really i enjoyed it.

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  12. Cheryl says:

    Love your greenhouse but way too much trouble for me even if it was only $50. I’ll be buying a kit. LOL

  13. James Neo says:

    Building green house is very interesting idea. I love to have green house with each family on earth. I have also studied some others place too.

    Most pre-built greenhouse you buy need to be assembled anyway, you’re really just paying hugely inflated prices for the material. But now you can build your own cheap professional greenhouse in a single weekend. Check out the buling details and green house plans from here:

  14. Dayna says:

    What country are these prices from? My husband is a builder and told me that in 2008/9 the price would have been excessively higher. Then add the GST!

    • Tracy says:

      Note he did say he was a contractor and so therefore he would get contractor prices. Also he up cycled and recycled alot of his stuff. So if you find things a a Restore shop it will be cheaper.

  15. Carmen says:

    ithink its very nice happy for you. However it’s not for me i dont have that talent to build but good for you you can build it. My only hope for a green house now is when it goes on sale , i’m ok to spend $150 for a ready to do greenhouse, and will ask my son to do the assembling and building for me. There was one time i saw its’ on sale , i guess i will wait for one.

  16. nounou says:

    Awesome! Thanks!

  17. Wade S says:

    I would think that spraying the outside with NeverWet would help increase resistance to things like heavy rains, ice buildup, and snow.

    Something I may end up building in the future myself. Except it would be a bit more expensive, was wondering perhaps about not piercing holes through the PVC to secure the structure and instead use straps of some sort. Simply because if you re-rigged it a bit, you might be able to use the PVC as a watering system. Just some very tiny holes in it and keep the PVC all connected to make it self watering in a way (if you got a timer). Though that would require a bit more planning and reworking it up.

    Mainly because here in Arizona, things get really dry quite quickly. The sun would rot the plastic too, would be my fear. The sun seems to destroy everything! D:

  18. Harriet Russell says:

    Lots of good ideas and tips in this article, even to modify something already built. Thank you!

  19. Binny says:

    Had bought two poly tunnels. And twice the snow destroyed it, so I gave up. Thanks anyway for the detailed instructions.

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  21. John says:

    This is a great idea, however as mentioned in the article even with UV resistant poly film (visqueen) with a 4 year warranty you will only get about 1 years use before the PVC(polyvinyl chloride) degrades the plastic. PVC has a chemical reaction with the UV inhibitors in commercial greenhouse poly film so some form of protective barrier would have to be used to lengthen the life span of any poly film covering.

  22. Nic says:

    I’ll have to try this to believe it. $50? Amazing.

  23. DIANE says:



  24. Bruce says:

    while reading about your greenhouse project you stated how you used treated lumber to your own objection. I too plan to build a greenhouse in much the same fashion as yours, but I plan to build it on top of at least 2 to 3 inches of road grade gravel. The reason for this is the gravel is rough enough that it will bind together by friction. The only water that will be standing will not be in contact with the wood. I also plan to put a weed barrier between the gravel and ground to discourage weeds from growing up through the “floor” of the greenhouse. Just my thoughts. I will use the same plan when I build my shed. I will be using at least 6 inches for this just because of the sheer weight of the shed. Also, it looks like you used a good share of “re purposed” wood in this project.

    • Jim says:

      I have tried several versions of weed barrier and found them to be inadequet. While you may have a better plan I had to comment just in case you were unaware. If I may suggest something solid be used

      • John says:

        I commercial grade ground cover is much better at controlling weeds than the typical weed barrier sold at most home improvement stores. send me an email and I will be happy to get you a price.

        Thank you,

  25. Jennifer says:

    I love this idea and I think it would be great to add over my raised beds for the winter. Thanks for such detailed instructions.

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  27. Song Huang says:

    Thanks for this article. It was helpful as I designed and created my greenhouse. However, my 20 x 9 x 8 greenhouse ended costing about $600. Just the plastic alone from a Greenhouse warehouse distributor was $215. I didn’t have much stuff lying around so most of it was purchased. In the end, it was still a good price compared to commercial units of that size.

    Here’s a link to my experience with pictures:

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  29. Heather says:

    I had a similar greenhouse some years ago that cost more then than to build this – even purchasing all of the materials. The base was 6″ X 6″ timbers with holes drilled into the long sides to accommodate the piping. It worked well for three years in an area where we got up to four feet of snow in winter – it was destroyed when a small twister threw a large tree on top of it and collapsed everything. Great plan!

  30. Grant says:

    I DONT recommend you use drywall screws, as they WILL rust and deteriorate over time.

    Coated deck screws, or stainless screws is a much better and more viable option, though will raise the cost slightly.

  31. Rod says:

    this greenhouse would not survive a winter in Ireland unless it was very very well sheltered and protected from snow

  32. Cindy says:

    love this and would like to attempy this project. Do you have a printer friendly version. Thank you

  33. Cindy says:

    Do you have a printer friendly version? I love your plan and would like to attempt this [roject

  34. Stefan says:

    Hi, fount this through StumbleUpon. Fine,but still much overcomplicated.
    here is how to make it even simpler and cheaper:
    1. the easiest way to fix the cover foil to the ground is to dig a 30 cmditch alon, put 70 cmof the foulend into it and shovel the earth on it. Requires 2 persons and 15 minutes.
    2. The best way to fix foil to foil (eventually to itself) is to use simple 4 inch nails. They rust in 2 days and never come out.
    3. The wood planks used inside will rot from the condensate
    4. You add much to the stability by tying together 2 water-filled plastic bottles and putting them over the tent – eliminates wind induced problems.
    br. S

  35. Warren Alimamy Kargbo says:

    It is great to see this green house plan. I am in Sierra Leone, West Africa . Incase I want to order it how much will it cost me including shipment.
    please let me be informed

  36. Great article. The pictures and step-by-step instructions were well thought out and displayed. Also, for $50, what a great DIY project for any gardener needing a greenhouse. Thanks for this post!

  37. Very good Site.- Big thanks and greetz from Cologne (Germany)

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  42. jim says:

    Hi. I like your greenhouse. I built one in N.Y. state by lake Ontario. The one thing differant is i put 2 layers of plastic and used a blower off a electric dryer betweem the two . The air is helful for keeping the plastic titght and also it gives a litle insulation. Jim

  43. David says:

    What the fuck? The title needs to be, “How to build My 140 dollar plus change Greenhouse. This is stupid.

    • Janice says:

      dumbass…are you jealous that you cant do it….suggestion….DEAL WITH IT!!! This is a great idea…like he said SCROUNGE!!!

    • Jim Belliveau says:

      First cussing right out of the box especially when there are I’m sure ladies and kids that will see this is ridiculous. Second, he said right off the top he was a contractor and used a lot of the materials from his leftover pile (i have one of those too btw , LOL). If your not a contractor like some of us and have a lot of the materials on hand then you will have to pry open your wallet and go buy the materials or either somehow, someway scrounge them up. Stop being such a cheap ,whinning crybaby. I think this is a GREAT idea and will be building one myself which will make the wife happy since it will reduce my pile of leftover scraps from work !!!

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  45. Melanie says:

    Great article and detailed steps. Much appreciated. Showed it to a friend who is now using it as a framework to build an extension to his home. I wish I was joking – but I’m not!

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  48. Matt says: i the only person who understands that $50 does not equal $140? Im so tired of this false advertising click bait BS. I DO NOT want to build a $50 greenhouse for $140. F OFF.

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  50. Carole says:

    It would be my dream come true to have a greenhouse but that would not be practical in Minnesota unless I used it as a cold frame. It gets -30 below sometimes in the winter. Only a heated glass one with solar panels would work here. Dang! Jealous of those who live in warmer zones!

    • jfrench says:

      You may just need a Walipini in Minnesota, a specific type of greenhouse that’s recessed in-ground a little bit. :)

    • Morris says:

      I live in Minnesota and they will work good for starting things very early if you have them up in the fall so it heats the ground in the spring. I also have a chicken run that is covered in clear plastic and it gets up to the 50’s even when it is below zero and the chickens love it in the middle of the winter.

  51. Jake says:

    Awesome article! I’m really eager to do something like this. Can you tell me, did you put anything, like low tunnels or cold boxes, over the beds in the greenhouse? Thanks

  52. Kristine says:

    could you put doors on both the back and front side and just remove those in the spring/summer instead of taking the entire thing down?

  53. Kathy says:

    How much sun does your greenhouse get in a day

  54. Joe Wampler says:

    How do you heat this green house?

    • PierreM-M says:

      With the door(s) closed Joe I suspect the Sun would do a reasonably good job of heating it.

      However, the plastic might not retain heat as well as glass green houses do.

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  58. xeli says:

    Thank you! I can start to grow my own produce now x

  59. Bridget says:

    When you attached the front and rear panels to the garden stakes with zip ties, did you have to poke holes in the plastic? If so any precautions to keep the plastic from ripping?

  60. Joe Cushing says:

    I’m thinking small maple trees would work where the PVC pipes are.

  61. Smeg says:

    Another alternative is to use old C band large sat dish channel supports. Shim them together after removing them from the dish, they are much stronger and will hold a snow load.
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  64. The rebar idea works really well. My husband has been creating backyard Haunted Houses for over 20 years using many of your techniques used to build your greenhouse. I can’t believe I’ve never asked him to build me a greenhouse the same way. I have a small store bought unit that cost $200 and yours is much bigger. Thanks for sharing – he has a new fall project!

  65. kestral says:

    what a great little greenhouse! I have a question though- what would recommend to use in a high hail area? I live where there is cloud seeding- the farmers to the east of me see less hail because of it, but my yard is trashed a few times a year. that plastic would be ripped to shreds here.

    • Helpful Horticulturist says:

      Polycarbonate would work wonders for you in a high hail area. Unfortunately it can get quite expensive. I have built several greenhouses from scratch before and have used it. It lasts for 10 to 15 years.I always get mine from Mermaids.

  66. Jennifer Stewart says:

    This looks like some great work. It is a little hard to copy and paste this page though. Could you send me the link for the page.

  67. Pattiemelt says:

    Thanks for the step-by-step description. I’m planning to build a semi-permanent greenhouse as the first structure on some land I’m in the process of buying and this looks like the perfect way to go.

    One suggestion – if you have access to it, use electrical PVC Sch. 40 conduit. Electrical PVC conduit is made for exposure to the elements so it is UV resistant whereas the white PVC is made to be buried & will break down faster in sunlight. Plus, if you’re buying your supplies, the PVC conduit is cheaper than the white PVC.

  68. Jaime says:

    How very kind of you to not just plan and build this but also you went out of your way to type this all out and share with others. It’s a shame some didn’t read the whole thing, seeing that you used recycled materials you had saved up vs buying everything new – saving you a lot of money. Thank you!

  69. Terry says:

    The 2 end walls , are they set on rebar? If so how to get past the screw holding the PVC. I’m in the planning stage.

  70. andrew says:

    thanks for the 50$ greenhouse dipshit. talk about truth in numbers.

    • Jackie Jepsen says:

      It looks like the $50 greenhouse, turned into $140.27 to me!!!

    • Mrs Bblernelson says:

      If you had read from the beginning you would have seen this: “If you just go out and buy new everything it will probably cost over $200″ It’s really unnecessary and very juvenile to call names.

    • Cathy says:

      Andrew ,this world already has an overflow of negative folks running around . Give the man a break, HE is the one with this great idea and plans ! If you can’t say nothing good, then don’t say nothin at ALL! (Somethin tells me that are either jealous or B. Your mama didn’t rock you in a rockin chair as a baby. ) GREAT work to the builder and a MANY thanks for sharing !

    • Andres says:

      better plant a money tree with your broke ass then.

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  76. Kiril says:

    Great project – thanks for detailing. Very inspiring and informative.
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  77. Deborah Brown says:

    I see some people are using 3/4 inch tubing while others are using 1inch. Do you need the added strength of the 1 inch? Thanks

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  79. Karen says:

    Great plans and straightforward to make, thank you! No doubt about it, a ‘polytunnel’ as we call them here in Ireland definitely increases your growing year ….. salads in winter! Very early greens in spring …..

  80. Cecilie says:

    Hey! :D

    I have looked a few greenhouse plans, and I must say I really love your greenhouse the most. I am going to my own, and I will start the project as soon as I have gathered all the materials. I live near the west coast of Norway so I have to reinforce the greenhouse a tiny bit.

    And being norwegian, there was a few things that got lost in translation, so I would be incredible happy if you could explain some things for me about the materials list….

    You wrote that I need 1x6x8? pt – ripped into 1x3s. What exactly is “pt”?

    Also you wrote that I need 2×4 stud – rip into 1x2s. What is a stud? I image-googled it and I hope you didn’t mean a good looking man or a pony, cause I don’t want to rip a pony ;)

    If I were to use logic, I would assume that these things are some form of woody material, but I don’t want to start bulding before I’m a 100% sure…

    Also, how tall will the greenhouse be at the tallest point?

    Thank you so much in advance for your reply :)

    Best regards,


    • John Tucker says:

      I think you write in good English. I have always wanted to visit your country.
      PT means pressure treated lumber and a stud means a 2″x4″

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  84. Paula says:

    Thanks for such great instructions. I can’t wait to get started. One question though. When tying the fence post to the end frame with your ties or wire you are putting a hole through the sheeting. This does not cause a problem ?

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  86. gabe gabe; says:

    PVC is all very well but I have had great luck with 16′ x 56″ wire fence panels from a farm store. I framed doorways and made ‘dutch ‘doors to add ventilation. After replacing cheap plastic sheeting the first year I went to nursery plastic sheeting. My time is valuable, especially in early Spring. I also left one side of the plastic half attached so that in Summer I could roll the side part of the way up, more air and more insect pollination. I also can roll the side back down to extend the heat in Fall. I live in North Idaho, even adding a few weeks to our growing season up here is worth the greenhouse, this adds at least six weeks….and holds up to our snow load.

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  88. Allan says:

    Great Plans. I used much of your ideas to create my own greenhouse. I wanted a peak rather than a dome, and it cost me under 200 bucks, but more than the 50 bucks you advertise. You can see my video on youtube, or check out my website where I also have it posted. thanks

  89. Grace says:

    I live in an apartment and want to build a greenhouse. Do you have any instructions on how to do this, ie, smaller size, do I need heat lamps in lieu of the sun, etc. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  90. Tasha says:

    Thank you for giving such detail. I love this so much. Thanks!!!

  91. Jinny says:

    Hi, good job on instructions, I use hoop houses and find Seal tubing and 3/4 fill with water. This provides fluid dampening and stability/weight. The fluid absorbs the wind energy. My system actually uses this water in gravity feed to hydroponics internally then recycled, part of a larger aquaponics system, can send details for anyone interested. Contact F/B Ozsea 4CE Peoples Confederacy, my NGO. Be Blessed…Jinny

  92. Phyllis says:

    I think that I noticed that your greenhouse is under the cover of trees (based on the pictures). Is this true? If so, then why? Wouldn’t you want direct sun or would it get too hot in the summer? Thanks.

  93. RPorter says:

    I think I can get the material ant the rehab store.

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  95. Denise Pothier says:

    Someone was asking about upper waste but that would not be an issue if the chicken wire was used as some potted small hanging veg plants could be hung from it.

  96. Greenie says:

    Unless this is well ventilated the heat produced (if in a warm climate) will soften the PVC and it will buckle, filling the tubes with bamboo for instance might solve this problem, if you have access to a bamboo plot its a good replacement for the PVC.. use 1m lengths of old water pipe hammered in the ground for anchors stick the bamboo in them and bend and tie overlapping at the apex. Its pretty strong.

  97. gary sorichetti says:

    how do I get a kit and how much??

  98. Mark Barnett says:

    Spraying the “roof” with silicone spray will help with the snow too. Any that accumulates will just slide off… even smooth plastic isn’t as slick as you think. The type I used claimed to be safe for tents and plastic tarps and I haven’t seen anything bad going on with the plastic. I had some that claimed to block UV, if you can find some that blocks UV too it couldn’t hurt.

  99. susan says:


    • Pauline says:

      I had the same problem with a commercially bought greenhouse. I am planning to use the frame and am going to design a cover from plastic sheeting. I WILL find a way to recycle it!!! lol

  100. jack says:

    Nice green house. i was looking around the web for the same project and finally found one. thank you.

  101. AaronAllen says:

    Whatever way you are adopting for making your green house. Do it with a good ventilation in it.

  102. Jailine says:

    Hello, im president of my schools ECO club and im trying to build a greenhouse to grow fresh produce for our schools 40 families that are in need. as of right now we have a pantry filled with canned food items but we would love to give then an option of receiving fresh veggies. My school is very picky and will only let us build this greenhouse if its cheap enough and if it is portable (the school is going through some construction so the greenhouse needs to be able to move to a new location at any given time) I would really appreciate it if you could help me come up with some ideas to make this greenhouse of yours work for my situation. Please email me at
    thank you!

    • Staci says:

      I could not leave this website without a comment. I can not tell you how impressed I was to read about your plans. I commend you on your efforts. I think what you’re doing for others is fantastic!!!!!! I wish you lots of luck and may your veggies be plentiful!

    • Eva says:

      Perhaps you can ask the parents of the school for any spare supplies they may have around their yards.

    • Pattiemelt says:

      This website has lots of ideas & plans for greenhouses, both permanent & temporary. You could probably convert a temporary greenhouse to portable/moveable pretty easily.

      As far as cost, have you tried online crowd-sourcing to get money donations? You can also ask DIY/building supply stores & nurseries to donate supplies. Also check with contractors in your area to see if they have leftovers from buildings they would be willing to donate. You could put a sign on your new greenhouse to let people know who donated to help your project & stores & contractors LOVE free advertising!

  103. Norm says:

    Thanks! Used your plans to build a smaller version and I am very happy with it. I made some mistakes along the way that will probably bite me later on, but they were user errors, not design issues.

    I have a question; during a sunny day in fall/winter it works awesome! 20 degrees or more warmer than outside. But then the temp drops to near ambient temps after the sun goes down or on cloudy days (which we have a lot).

    I tried covering the plants with a row fabric. No difference. I tried putting milk jugs filled with water along the walls. (I can hear the laughter now). I looked at soil heating cables, and nearly fainted at the cost! A solar panel would cost too much, and after built how would I store/provide heat — too much system costs, there.

    I would like to add some heat, but everything is either ridiculously expensive, costs too much to run (electric bills skyrocket), or is dangerous. Some ideas I have seen are just folk lore or stupid. Any suggestions?

    • Idnar W says:

      A friend of mines uses 2 metal coffee cans in her small greenhouse (6’x8′) with a large pillar candle in each. She always buys them after what ever season-yardsales etc. You would be surprised at how much heat this will produce and is safe. The bigger the greenhouse the more you would use.

    • Beverly says:

      How about using a pile of fresh manure that will create heat as it decomposes and will provide planting material later on. You might have to wet it down every so often as it would not get water from rain or snow to keep it working.

    • Sarah says:

      Try gutter defrost tape, reptile heating tape, or for basic greenhouse heating – old incandescent xmas lights.

    • vickie says:

      have you heard of the tea lights and flower pots? you type that in on google it will pull up it . i know people that say it works , but for outside building dont know and you would have to be careful .

  104. Angela says:

    If you put chicken wire over the whole thing before putting on the plastic snow will not be a problem!

  105. I had no idea making a greenhouse could be this cost effective. I have plenty of space in my backyard and not enough vegetables. This is a great how-to with really awesome pictures. I’ll bookmark this when I’m ready to start building. Thanks!

  106. Jen says:

    This is a great idea and I will begin gathering the bits and pieces as I can. Too great of an initial expenditure, but I hit flea markets, hardware sales and yard sales on occasion so I’ll keep this list with me, checking off as I go. Hopefully by next fall I can get one of these babies built. No garage for storage so it will have to stay up for the summer and I’ll hang shade cloth over it. Or use it to grow tomatillos which need a long hot season…

    The above link is to the plastic I use for my small raised bed hoop covers. It has held up well to the weather, winds and UV. It has kept already grown veg comfy over the winter – and I tend to plant cold hardy varieties to overwinter as well.

  107. Tom Bergstrand says:

    I read a reply a while back where a guy claimed that Home Depot visqueen made his plants go “statious” and did not grow since (as he claimed) the good rays from the sun failed to penetrate the visqueen. Anyone have any ideas on that position?

  108. linda says:

    I made one for the summer in Arizona ..I used 2ft rebar for early shorter garden the went to 4 foot when plants got taller on the ground and slid the pvc over the rebar..used shade cloth..22.00 a roll and the shade cloth clips..just drilled holes in the pipe to attach with zip great..and is easily removable for weeding or just to get more sun when temps finally arent blazing base is it all holds together great

  109. Awesome idea and plan. I just had a client ask me how to build something like this next to the new retaining wall I built for him. I didn’t have a good, low-cost answer for him. I’ll send him over here to see how to build this using your plan. Thanks!

  110. lejandro says:

    Thanks so much, was great.
    I am wandering, if it need heat and light for winter?

  111. Linda says:

    Awesome! I like your step-by-step pictures. Some of the tunnel greenhouses on youtube show them being put up so quickly that we couldn’t get a real good understanding of some of the ways they fit together. Thank you for taking the time to go step by step and put a list of the materials that are needed!!

  112. gina says:

    i wonder if i can use this project for covering my classic car….and use a car cover instead of plastic?

    • Beverly says:

      I built a quick shelter garage without ends for my stepdads trike when he first got it. It was summer but it was windy and rainy. I used t-posts and strapped pvc pipe to them and covered it with clear plastic held on with zip-ties. Worked till we could make room in the garage for it. Plan on doing something similar for my car (Honda crv) this winter so I don’t have to deal with snow every morning. I live in northern Ohio so may have some snow to deal with.

  113. J. Mickelson says:

    A few years ago I built a similar one with a little more reinforcement. It work great and I enjoyed it. But like you I used the 6 mil non-stabilized plastic and in a years time I was re skining the whole thing. and since I got it in a roll I re did one more time after that. My advice is if its is worth your time use the right uv plastic to start with. ps I had mine up all year around.

  114. Jared Hodgkins says:

    I was curious as to which grey PVC conduit to purchase? I am looking at home depot’s website and various others online and I’m only finding it in 10 ft lengths as opposed to your design of 20ft. Also some of the conduit looks really flimsy. *I haven’t done much handy work please excuse me here!* Assuming that I went with the 10ft sections of pvc do you think it would be sturdy enough using connectors? (maybe i could drill screws into each pipe at the connector) Love your work though, it’s been a huge inspiration, so thank you for sharing!

    • Ken says:

      Jared, my hoophouse is 15′ x 12′ and I used grey, 1?, schedule 40 pvc pipe in 10′ lengths cemented (pvc cement) together to make the hoop ribs and the horizontal supports and they are plenty strong. For a top ridge pole, I used two, 10′ x 1″ metal electrical pipes joined together and cut to length instead of PVC because it’s stronger, doesn’t “sag” in the middle and costs the same as PVC. The horizontal PVC is screwed into the PVC ribs at their crossing points, and also reinforced with gorilla tape. Works great!

  115. SusiQ says:

    Hi– A Question??

    We have a dreadful squirrel problem. Despite dogs and mothballs, and garden set right next to the house, they DECIMATE EVERYTHING, when they are way too green to pick– including tomatoes and blueberries and dwarf peaches.

    Do you think this hoophouse could be covered with chicken wire instead of plastic? Would it stop these nasty gluttonous creatures and save our crops?

    • SD Farmer says:

      While this may sound treasonous to some but squirrels are rodents and love Dcon… I live in a farming community and squirrels eat our children’s future. My Dad used to wire little boxes of Dcon in the trees (keeps them away from the dogs). Took two seasons before the problem was totally gone. Gotta’ watch the cats when they are out killing the bird babies… oh and there is You choose.

    • Gary Kimes says:

      Pick ‘em off with a 22 / It gets down to you or them..

      Use chicken wire & plastic.

  116. Dragon says:

    This is fantastic I have been wanting to build a green house ever since a wild fire burned us out last year but with everything else it was just too expensive but this I can swing and the comments are full of good ideas as well

  117. tbdean says:

    I haven’t had a chance to read all through these directions yet, but did glance at the pictures. One thing I think I’m going to do is to drill holes in the pvc to create some sort of watering system that I can plug a hose to on the outside and turn on when needed. Don’t know if that was mentioned or not.

    • Ken says:

      Dean, I strung 35? of 1/4? rubber tubing along upper horizontal braces (15′ each side w/5′ across top at one end) with mister nozzles every 3ft ($15 on Ebay). You could then hook it up to a garden hose or do what I did (see my post below). Easy and cheap!

  118. Cherie says:

    Thanks for posting this. I’m seriously considering building a little green house, and this project might be a nice way to do it. I just have one concern. I was just wondering if you know if this covering is hail resistant at all. We get a lot of hail in my area, and up to golf-ball sized hail is common especially in the spring. If it can’t hold up to the hail it would probably be destroyed pretty much every year. If it’s too weak for the hail, is there something else that could be used as a covering for it?

  119. John Traise says:

    Have just gone thru your DIY Greenhouse, and I am absolutely astonished that you took the time to share your obvious talent and ability with multitudes of unseen (potential) friends and miscellaneous visitors! I am retired, live in Florida im a typical 3+2+2 home with a 50 X 80 back yard. Am completely frustrated with my attempts to grow a few tomatoes, cukes, peas, etc, they simply will not produce, or more correctly, REproduce, initially growing, blooming, and then, blah! nothing to eat for all the hard work.
    I’m going to build that greenhouse, I’m going to equip it with whatever it needs, then I’m going to see what I can learn about pollenation techniques, and I’ll let you know how it all works out!
    Thanx a lot, the world needs more people like you, maybe we can trade in a few million of the Obama freeloaders for a half dozen or so like you in this country, thanx again
    John Traise, North Port, Florida.

  120. Bill says:

    Does anyone know what the formula is in determing the length of pvc I need to build the arches over my exisitng garden? It’s 16ft wide so if I want the center to say be 8ft high how do I calculate it?

    • Sam says:

      It’s been a while on the calculus…but 8ft high by 16ft wide. You would take the half circle equation: y=sqrt(r^2-x^2) (Assuming you want it to look symmetrical a semi-circle would be the ideal shape)

      Radius of circle is 8ft.
      Centered at 0, so endpoints would be -8 and 8
      Plug into the arc length formula from calc.

      Integral of sqrt(r^2+(derivative of equation)^2) from -8 to 8.

      I am feeling lazy right now so I just used an online calculator and got about 25.133 feet.

      Hope that helps!

    • Mike says:

      pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter so 1/2 the circumference would be your length (L).
      L = 1/2 (pi*D)
      pi = 3.141
      D = 16 feet
      L = 25.128 feet

  121. Ken says:

    Great project..well done! Two suggestions and two questions if I might.

    First, instead of cedar or redwood for your raised beds, consider using James Hardie 5 1/4″ x 144″ Cedar Mill Fiber Cement Lap Siding (Item# 165986 model# 6771101 – $7.47 ea. at Lowes). It’s strong, safe for your crops, easy to work with and so much more affordable!

    Also, I’ve hung solar lights from the overhead ribs to provide illumination at night when I need it…and solar powered fans at each end to provide some degree of air movement to help with ventilation. Both work great!

    Second, I have a couple of questions to anyone that can answer them:

    1. Why can’t you just use the same PVC pipe (I’m using grey, 1″, schedule 40) for the horizontal braces as used for the ribs instead of wood? It seems to be just as strong but way cheaper?
    2. David suggests using 2x4s instead of1x4s for the end wall structure but if you want your end wall “skin” to fit correctly, shouldn’t you match the wood’s thickness with the size PVC used? For example, I’m using 1″ PVC so using 1×4″ pine to make the end frame means the “skin” fits tightly and without bulges.
    3. Has anyone designed a workable irrigation system for use in one of these structures? If possible, I’d really like to use a rain barrel as a passive water source and a solar powered pump to draw the water from it…any one have a workable system or ideas on this?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Ken says:

      Update…the fan I’m using is a 10″ 12 V Slim Car Radiator Fan ($17 on Ebay) that blows (or sucks) at 1550 CFM which means the all of the air in my 12′ x 16′ greenhouse (roughly 1200 cu ft) gets replaced once/hour. I also installed an automatic foundation vent ($16 at Home Depot) at the opposite end to the fan for draft. For irrigation, I strung 35′ of 1/4″ rubber tubing along upper horizontal braces with mister nozzles every 3ft ($15 on Ebay). Misting system is powered by a solar pond pump ($15 on Ebay) which draws water from my rain barrel. All of this (Fan/lights/water pump) is powered by a 100W solar panel with a voltage regulator ($150 on Ebay) that powers everything during the day and charges a 12v car battery (free) for night time power. I know this adds another $213 to the project’s cost but I think it’s well worth it to have “off the grid” ventilation, lights and irrigation…oh yes, instead of a PVC ridge pole, I used 1″ electrical conduit pipe which is much stronger and costs the same as PVC.

  122. Elva says:


    • Norm says:

      Yes, it does. I live north of Seattle and west of the cascades, and believe me, the winds can get nasty in the winter! I built a smaller version of this plan with the greenhouse running north/south so the prevailing winds hit the ends and not the sides. The other day it was 42 outside and 64 inside the greenhouse. On a sunny day it works great! However, after the sun goes down the greenhouse will return to close to the ambient temps outside without a heat source of some kind.

  123. Ron M. says:

    We live in central Texas. No snow down here, but summer hailstorms can sometimes occur. How hail-resistant is this covering?

  124. Crabgrass says:

    This is really ingenious – I just wish I had the space in my yard for the footprint of this green house. Could this be imitated on a smaller scale?

    • mel says:

      You absolutely can! My sister has a very small hoop house that she built. When she is on her knees gardening, it is at head level, but she has a flourishing little food garden happening inside! It is much more simplistic as well with no wooden framed ends, just the wooden frame base, the hoops and the plastic that has flaps she folds over to open each section she needs access to.

  125. KayleneP says:

    I have wanted to build this type of greenhouse for some time now. Your article will provide lots of hints and ideas when I do actually build one! Thanks for the information.

  126. Terry says:

    We built several similar to these but without ends…on an idea we had for livestock shelters but they also work as garden houses when you need some shelter from sun (Texas). Cheapest most secure way we found to make them was to use “cattle panels” (purchase at farm stores). These are 16′ long and made to last. Put t-posts in the ground spaced for the height of the panels, as many long as you want the space to be. Create the hoop with the panels and secure with t-post fence wire at bottom and heavy duty zip ties up the post. Use a tarp or shadecloth over the panel again secured with black uv zip ties. Our shelters made it through the hurricanes that went thru east texas and only needed the tarps changed about every 2yrs.

  127. oldguybob says:

    I would use the gray electrical PVC, its UV resistant; also, to avoid holes in the PVC, was thinking about pipe clamps that would hold the pipes to the wood frame…definately would use the ridge pole. Any guidance on how narrow the structure can be?


  128. Tim Anderson says:

    How did you hinge the PVC door to the house in the night pic? I’m building a garden fenced in with U posts but I wanted to make a door out of PVC very similar to the one in the picture attacked to a PVC post I sunk into the ground. But my hinge I idea was a bust. How did you do it? I have a 1.5 inch PVC pipe in the ground, and I made the door out of lighter 1/1/4 PVC. I need to connect them like a hinge on a door.

  129. This is really creative . Thanks so much for delivering your expertise on putting together such an affordable Green House. You have even provided and list of the prices and material that you used. Looks like I am going to have to return some things that I bough t because i see you got me on the affordable route now.

  130. Sergio says:

    Any updates on durability or things you’d do differently?

  131. I love the basic design of the house. It’s things like this that excite me for a greener environment and lesser impact on our delicate ecosystem. This, along with alternative fuels, and lesser factory impact will go so far with the correct implementation.

  132. Lisa says:

    Where did you find the gray PVC? I’ve checked online and my Lowes and HD doesn’t seem to carry it.

  133. Sue says:

    This is the second winter & third spring my green house is up. I had it covered with a tarp through the winters. First year it withheld a 15″ snowstorm plus whatever else winter gave us. This year it had some hefty snow on it and hung in there. This last couple weeks we have has some awful wind and a tarp ripped and a place in the plastic ripped with it. I guess I will have to replace the plastic now but I am really satisfied with how well it handles the Wisconsin weather. I built it just like your pictures show. I want to build another one near the barn to use as temp storage for stuff.

  134. Landon says:

    I really like this style of greenhouse. The hoop house, on a budget PVC greenhouse is something I am planning to build. I think this walk through will help me out too – good post! Thanks

  135. dee says:

    I have been looking into building my own. You have provided fantastic instructions and insight. Thank you!

  136. keryn coulter says:

    Love it . Thank you.

  137. jacob says:

    This is an awesome how to! Really shows everything great! Will really help in my project, thanks for posting!

  138. T E Church says:

    this was a good article, I enjoyed reading it

  139. Well done friend that’s terrific

  140. Keren T says:

    I would like to contact David LaFerney, who wrote this summary. How can i do that?
    Thank you

  141. alain gallet says:

    Hi everyone, thanks so much for all your informations. I am writing from France, the North of France, from Lille where the weather in summer is wet and rainy. So without a greenhouse it is hard to get safe tomatoes. This year I decide to build a hoop house like yours.
    So long,

  142. Tim says:

    Awesome article and very in depth. I’m planning to make a greenhouse in the next couple months and am researching what I need to do.

    Nice to know it doesn’t have to break the bank, though it might my back LOL.

  143. hamid says:

    Thanks for the info..I.m from iran.kerman city

  144. Tiffany says:

    We just got the materials and built a much simpler version today. Total was about $73. Ours is 6×9, so a bit smaller!

  145. debbie says:

    A huge thumbs up on this article! I’m brand new to the idea of greenhouse gardening but decided there must be a way to put our unused car cover frame to use as a greenhouse. I didn’t even know if regular clear-ish plastic would allow the kind of light the plants would need. You’ve answered all my questions and with a little deviation I think I will be able to do it. I’m so excited and learned so much in a short time. Cheers! and thanks for taking the time to put it out there!

  146. arsalan says:

    tnx for that,would it be possible to help me for the cheapest way.

  147. Daniel says:

    This greenhouse looks really promising for our 50 bucks. But I am so scared about the use of plastic sheeting coz it’s like one heat strike and it will be the end of it. Maybe this is good for those who always have a cold weather but I am in a sun area so I am afraid this won’t work for me. Nice one there though.

  148. Laura says:

    Don’t use cable ties in very cold climates. They get brittle, and snap in the cold. By which I mean most won’t even last a night below freezing.

  149. Cap'n JUan says:

    Very nice! I, too, bought the cheap-o 6 mil construction grade plastic. Expensive, but if it lasts a couple years (or even one), I get 3 covers from it. Lucky me that I have a really nice shed I built that holds all my ‘pack-ratty’ stuff. Hmmm. Well, it holds most of it. OK, some of it.

    Really nice design, by the way!

    Fair Winds,

    Cap’n Jan

  150. Cam D. says:

    Wow at last I don’t have to burn some brows learning about every detail of making a greenhouse. This is quite an extraordinary one here but I like the step by step showing of the pics along with instructions. The writer’s view on keeping the budget of this project as low as possible is also awesome!

  151. John says:

    This is an excellent idea, my father used to do something similar each year. You can also use this technique for storing snowmobiles, lawn equipement, etc.

  152. Archive says:

    It’s amazing designed for me to have a website, which is valuable for my know-how. thanks admin

  153. Hi to all, how is everything, I think every one is getting more from
    this site, and your views are nice in support of new users.

  154. Chris says:

    Great idea and thanks for sharing. Mine is almost finished by using your ideas, thanks. I had extrapipe laying around so I slid a peice of 3/4 into the 1 inch which increased its strenth tremendously. Also on the end walls I used 4×4’s concreted in for extra strenth. Hey i lived through a few storms in south Fl. Anyway want to say thanks. I will be growing microgreens in this one. I wish I could send a pic.

  155. Skro says:

    Nice and easy. Sure looks like a project even I can manage ;)

  156. Noah says:

    I made a cold frame last year using the Blue Hawk plastic from lowe’s. It’s 6 mil and very clear. I bought a 100′ foot roll of the “same” material yesterday and it is very different. Translucent but not Clear/Transparent as labeled. It’s almost creamy white but you can see through it. Is this OK? The gardening store here (Fifth Season) sells 20′ wide greenhouse plastic but it’s $3.99/foot. That is prohibitive.

  157. Melissa says:

    Would it work if i used a 20’x50’roll of plastic sheeting instead of the 20’x100′ roll. I really dont need the extra plastic lying around and i don’t want to waste it. I am hopefully going to build this in the next few months or so.

    • davidw says:

      You should do the calculation, it depends on what is the size of the greenhouse you want to build. So for each side, if you go for 12′, you can split a 20′ wide, so you need total 12′ of the sheeting, you have 38′ left, that means you can build a max 12 by 38 greenhouse, but with edge cound, it is safe that you build a 12 by 35 one

  158. Chad S says:

    Great page, I’ve been looking for something constructive to do in my days off and I found it.
    Now I got the supplies and I have the framesade up. My next step was I ware to build the doors, but not sure if I missed it in the instructions above or how to construct the doors for the round house?
    Thanks for the help and fun. Awesome web site.

  159. jeff button says:

    How would go about making the plastic, from the ground to the horizontal wood piece,
    so that you could roll up the plastic during the really hot summer days?

  160. Kaelin says:

    How did you make the doors and how are they attached?

  161. Jeff Button says:

    Your greenhouse list of materials shows: (1) 20′ of 1/2″ rebar cut into 18′ lengths. What is the actual lengths of rebar that you are using to hold the pvc ribs in the ground?

  162. Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed!
    Extremely useful information specifically the last section :) I care
    for such information much. I was seeking this certain information for a long time.
    Thank you and good luck.

  163. davidw says:

    Hi, could you post where you found the gray conduit is actually cheaper than the white pvc water pipe? I found the sun resistant conduit is much more expensive here.

  164. Sue says:

    I just spent the last two weekends putting together a hoop house while using your instructions as a guide. It came out really well and all I have left is a door and a window to do but I am well on my way to greenhouse gardening. Thank you.

  165. Stela says:

    Great idea and it looks simple enough that anyone can likely do it.

  166. I was looking for a backyard green house solution and you -really- hit the nail on the head with this one. I was consider expensive prefab solutions .. older post sure but your info is solid, I know what I’m doing this weekend..home depot here I come :) Thanks!

  167. Jason says:

    I would like to thank you for your design. I built a 14’X14′ hoop house using your design to cover my koi pond for the winter. Instead of using 3/4″ pvc I used 1 1/4″ pvc ( I live in Canada where we get a lot of snow). It worked great. I also tried using clips made of sections of black flexible pvc to attach the poly; It did the job, but I would not recommend it for people that live where there is high wind.

  168. cynthia says:

    This is exactly the kind of information I have been looking for in order to construct my own green houses on our property:) GREAT STUFF !! Thanks.

  169. Buy Car Wash says:

    I will try making this really cheap green house! It would be really useful for my business-

  170. Aaron says:

    You da man Dave. Gonna do this and do an aquaponic farming applicaiton. Thanks A Lot.

  171. Weerapol Ruetrakul says:

    Could you please explain how to join plastic sheets together? Thank you.

  172. Oh nice, thanks for sharing this. I have a massive backgarden and I was trying to find a cheap way to build a greenhouse. I need you to come to my house and do it for free. You obviously know what you are doing!

  173. Andrei says:

    I think that now there are some tools and materials which are cheaper than those!

  174. Nancy says:

    Living in Windy Dallas suburb, and being a woman, who doesn’t use tools much, I have tried many things for 12 years. I highly recommend using tarps, instead of plastic. By March, my plastic was torn when built “correctly” by a carpenter. Since then, I started using the blue tarps, which worked out fine. I didn’t have to water more than once a month, because it became a terrarium. Now, I have a sunroom built out of sliding glass door glass. The tarps are strong, never tear, insulate better, and the sun comes through.

  175. Jessie says:

    Great post. My husband and I are going to try this over the weekend. Fingers crossed.

  176. Kelly says:

    As for attaching the plastic, we just built one last weekend (THANKS DAVID FOR ALL THE GREAT INFO!) we took a 1″ chunk of PVC, ran it across a table saw and sawed off about 1/4.. maybe 1/3 of it. Then cut it in 4″ chunks and then I sanded any harsh edges off. We popped it over the plastic and onto the 3/4″ pipe.. worked like a charm (only for the ends, cant use on ribs-with the plastic pulled taut it will rip it) A bit hard to pop on but they worked! We put them roughly 18″ apart along both ends and the plastic held up to the 30 MPH winds we had yesterday!

  177. vicky d says:

    i used strips of left over linoleum pieces to staple the plastic to the side boards. the strips help hold the staples in place in wind storms. living in an area that is very windy and snowy this helped alot.

  178. Brian says:

    thanks for the great instructions on how to build this.
    about 6 months ago i built the structure. it is still standing except the plastic has been replaced 3 times. the first 2 times the plastic seemed to be defective and shredded in many pieces. the most recent time however I used a special green house plastic that is UV resistent. This plastic just blew off the structure. I was wondering if there were a better way to attach the plastic to the structure with out the use of staples because it does not seem to be working.

    • Oshua says:

      I don’t know how close to a home depot you are but if you are close enough, they have these green spring clamps for 99 cents each in the tool section. they are strong and also adjustable in terms of where you can put them….you could make operable flaps and doorways, vents etc…..

    • David LaFerney says:

      I don’t know Brian – I just haven’t had that problem. You may be in a windier place than I am. I can say this though it seems to be more wind resistant when all of the doors are closed.

    • Kelly says:

      I should have posted this as a reply so it would notify you… sorry, I dont post much. On 04/10/12 I wrote: As for attaching the plastic, we just built one last weekend (THANKS DAVID FOR ALL THE GREAT INFO!) we took a 1? chunk of PVC, ran it across a table saw and sawed off about 1/4.. maybe 1/3 of it. Then cut it in 4? – 5″ sections and then I sanded any harsh edges off. We popped it over the plastic and onto the 3/4? pipe.. worked like a charm (only for the ends, cant use on ribs-with the plastic pulled taut it will rip it) A bit hard to pop on but they worked! We put them roughly 18? apart along both ends and the plastic held up to the 30 MPH winds we had yesterday! As for holding it down along the sides, we used strips of wood and screwed it onto the base boards around the garden.. that worked perfectly too.

  179. kevin says:

    you could get it under $50 but wouldn’t look as nice. but you should use it to grow plants on the ground and use the black ground cover. not as much wasted space

  180. Kev says:

    Good job. Nice of you to document the procedure too, but that seems like a lot of wasted structure for just those two narrow raised beds? You could easily add racks or shelves for another level or two. Or make lower tunnels instead with much less heat loss and thermal variation. We also construct ours using a 90 degree PVC fitting to join the pipes at the roof ridge, creating a nice sharp pitch that no snow amount has been able to hang onto yet. Good luck.

  181. Lily Tinkle says:

    Wow, this is a great design! And thank you so much for taking the time to share your ideas and thoughts as well as the plans. I plan to adapt this into a grape arbor, and was looking for plans that would be simple enough for a short person to build by herself without too many tools and purchases. The glorious simplicity and cleverness of the design is *beautiful*, too. Thank you again!

  182. Pretty very good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you article again soon.

  183. rick says:

    I am building a desalinization project overseas. I will need greenhouses 15′ w x 5′ high x 120 ft long.

    I will need 20 of them.
    Can you help lme aquire the materials, and teach me how to build these things?
    Email me.

    Many thanks,
    Rick Mannoia
    RMannoia at Juno. com

  184. Joshua says:

    im building a larger scale pvc and im wondering how the white schedule 40 plumbing pipe will hold up in the oklahoma sun, any body have a pvc greenhouse for awhile? does the uv protectant paint make a difference?

  185. James says:

    Looks great! I was reading about using hoophouses for free-range chicken shelters. Do you think this design would work well? I would probably have to put in some cross bars for roosts, but that looks to be the only modification. I’m in Florida, so the snow issue wouldn’t be a problem :)

  186. Oshua says:

    I have built quite a few of these on the fly and would only add one thing to make it more sturdy and to save a bit of time…. and that is simply to anchor the ends with t-posts or something like that… Basically you tie a rope to one end and then go and loop the rope around each rib of the greenhouse two or three times(two is easier to adjust but three holds better) when you get to the end make a loop in the rope, pull it around the other t-post, and then cinch it tight. works well, and fast….
    I built a whole hoop house that way one time( with t-posts)
    I just rammed them in at an angle, place the pvc on them and connected to the other side, used U-bolts through scrap wood to connect all of the ribs, and then the rope technique described above… actually, you can make a greenhouse any shape and any size that way.. the t-posts really help the stability when u-bolted together. Cheers!

  187. Francie Painter says:

    I love this! I am wanting to build a cheap but functional greenhouse when we move into our new home, and this article was perfect for the “instructions” I was looking for. I am not a technical person, so step-by-step kind of instructions confuse me…haha. I am more the hands on figuer-it-out-as-you-go kinda person, too. I do have a cute idea for an automatic watering system if anyone is interested. It would cost maybe $10… :)
    Anyway, thanks for the great pics and steps!!!

  188. dickson gray says:

    this is great, i can fit my little pony in it

  189. JacLynn says:

    Can’t wait to do this project. I’m going to start collecting the supplies. Hello ReStore, here I come!

  190. I’ve watched some u-tube videos with different ideas in design, but still yours seems to be very practical and acceptable with low cost.

    I like it!

  191. jim says:

    very clever and great use of available resources…I enjoyed the read-keep up the good work….Jim

  192. Bulmaro says:

    Thank you for the info. Most useful

  193. james r says:

    Awesome post. I like the design and the use of pvc piping. I am looking to build a similar structure with pvc. Def. easier material to use than traditional framing methods. How has your greenhouse held up? also do you have to use heaters in the winter to keep the temperature up? thanks

  194. ronald ladd says:

    well layed out i’m gonna build one kinda like it but with major changes in frame it won’t cost me much cause i am cheap cheap cheap i do thank you for puting this on this site Ron

  195. Great job David! Every time I come back, your blog is looking better and better. Excellent step-by-step instructions for the Do-it-yourself gardeners. I’ve got some related articles on my website, too. Everyone is welcome.

    Thanks for the great job you do. I really do appreciate your contribution to this interesting gardening field.

  196. Jason says:

    I love your blog and all the stuff you are doing with self-sufficiency in gardening. I wish you would come back and tell us how you are doing!

    The growlights really inspired me as did this post on the greenhouse. I’m sorry to see it later buckled under the load of snow.

    What part of TN are you in? I’m in SW KY. We don’t get much snow here but you never know. I ended up building a greenhouse out of treated lumber and plastic. We’ll see how it holds!


    • David LaFerney says:

      It did buckle under snow – until I upgraded it to the current state. Well, actually it’s current state is that of needing new skin, but you know what I mean. If you tried to point out the very center of a TN map you would just about hit Cookeville.

  197. Rose says:

    Most of my qustions has been awnsered.thanks

  198. Kate says:

    This has been such an inspiring blog, but I tell ya for us it turned out to be the project from hell. lol. We are fairly decent at DIY but for something this size we really badly needed a step by step version of the build.

    We had issues with the end piece turning out to be the wrong size/curve, and kept catching ourselves having to undo things. I realize this is user-error, but if you ever felt like writing up the actual steps in more detail that would be so awesome!

    We also got nowhere near $50 despite getting all of our PVC for $2 total, and going with the cheapest wood we could get our hands on. We’re a lot closer to $200. But very excited about being able to grow this winter! *fingers crossed* Thank you for all the wonderful pictures and inspiring vision of how to do one of these neatly and functionally.

    • chuck says:

      Kate, yes it would be nice to have gotten more details. I put my poles up over an four existing beds making two greenhouses. I ran the poles past the ends of the beds for the frame and decided to take more poles and make the frame out of that then zip tie them to the poles that are at the end. I first measured the inside length between those end poles and marked the 1×4 board to screw the extra poles into it and started making my frame out of it but first once I screwed in the poles I set it up against the outer poles to see how it measured up and they came out workable not perfect but workable. The wind can be horrible here in Oklahoma so I drilled holes into the end poles, took bailing wire and wrapped it around the rebarb that I set the poles on and thread it through the holes wrapped it around the poles a few times and twisted it off. it works. my poles do NOT come off of the rebarb anymore. This I will be able to use the same skeleton of poles next year for the shade cloth in the summer. It got hot quick here this year. Hope this helps.

    • David LaFerney says:

      I suspect that you are just worrying about the shape of it too much – if you look closely at the pictures of the finished project my ends ended up being a little bit taller, and less barrel shaped than the rest too. It doesn’t really matter very much, and as it progresses it all kind of pulls together.

      Sorry you had problems, but I really thought the instructions were pretty detailed – but then I’m an assemble it first and read the instructions later kind of guy.

      No secret that to keep this project really cheap you have to do some free-cycling.

      • Kate says:

        We found out you’re totally right! It all pulls together in the end. I think we were scared of doing it “wrong” and didn’t realize at the time we had so much flexibility.

        We’re both people who, when we’re out of our league on a project as we felt we were on this one (ha ha), we get all left-brained and feel like we need a clear, linear “recipe” to follow. We were so inexperienced and working in the yard with bare minimum in the way of tools, so we floundered a lot.

        We kept wishing we had a step-by-step, as there was a lot to figure out. Had to study the pictures and guess at figuring out some things that we couldn’t find in the blog steps. One early example would be if your materials list could say what the different pieces of wood were for.

        However, one can’t complain when you’re so kind as to post all this free information! Happily, our greenhouse is up and we learned as we went along.

  199. Maria says:

    How long did it actually take you to build this greenhouse? It looks really nice.

    • David LaFerney says:

      Most of 2 days. But I’m an experienced construction worker – with all the right tools, which I have a lot of practice using – and your mileage may vary.

  200. mary most says:

    I love this project!!!! I am about to start a green house of my own and this article was most helpful.
    Thank you.

  201. This project is really awesome. My mother really wants a green house, I think I might be giving this a shot next summer! Thanks for the info!

  202. Bart says:

    Almost unbelievable that you magaged to build this wit only 50 USD!

  203. Michelle says:

    Thanks for all the info. We are in our second year using the greenhouse and our plastic has ripped along the ribs again (same thing last year with different plastic.) I came back to the site to see what else we could do. I am going to paint the ribs (we have white pvc) and spend the extra $ for UV resistant greenhouse plastic. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this will increase the amount of time before we have to replace the plastic again. Thanks again for your generous sharing of info.

    • David LaFerney says:

      I’ve gotten 2 seasons out of my plastic by taking it off during the summer, but I’m about to replace mine with UV resistant too. I would still say that if you want to build one, but don’t have the $$ for UV resistant then use what you have. If you actually use the thing it would more than pay for replacing the plastic every year.

  204. chuck ward says:

    Hi David,

    You said above that you would put up pics for the changes in the future like using the plywood batten strips in securing the plastic down. Also, what thickness did you use for your plywood in the door and what would be a good thickness for the battens.

    • David LaFerney says:

      Sorry I haven’t done those updates – I tend to do most of that stuff during the winter. As far as how thick the plywood? Whatever thickness you can get for free would be my first choice. It just doesn’t matter.

  205. Farm Info says:

    David- you exhibit an admirable character that needs to be implemented in small agriculture. Utilizing inexpensive materials to yield valuable crops stuffs is the only way to go! Bravo!

  206. Wow very excellent! Thanks for sharing this steps. This will help me to make my own green house. Im glad I found this site. Because I’m able to know this things here. Nice post!

  207. gazebos says:

    I do not know but it’s nice idea to build a greenhouse at affordable price.

  208. Ej Martin says:

    Wow, what a great write up! This is by far the best I’ve seen for building a greenhouse that includes photos and helpful hints. For more information on things like heaters and DIY Greenhouse watering systems follow the embeded link for more great information

  209. Robert says:

    Hey David,
    Is that basic 6-mil hardware type or an actual UV Stabilized type?

    • David LaFerney says:

      It came from lowes and it isn’t marked as being uv resistant. But I’ve handled all of those grades of plastic sheet, and 6 mil is a lot more rugged than the thinner ones. 8 and 10 mil are very much stronger even yet – lots more expensive too.

      • Robert says:

        One of my problems was that I had my plastic cut up into three different sheets I wonder if keeping it as one sheet would help. I’ll give it a try.

        Thanks for the input David, this post has been a HUGE inspiration for me. (if you couldn’t tell from all my comments ;) )

  210. Robert says:

    For those of you keeping up with this post, after four months of using the plastic you get at a hardware store I have tried 2mil and 4mil plastic. These will hardly last more than a couple of months. Incidentally you will get one tear and if you do not repair it immediately the tear will quickly escalate until the entire thing is ripped.

    I am putting together a better design strategy and will post it here or my youtube video. Save yourself some frustration and spend the $100 you need for UV stabilized greenhouse plastic.

    • David LaFerney says:

      Robert, you might notice that in the bill of materials I used 6 mil plastic – and it really does last 2 years in my climate here in TN. The good stuff is absolutely the way to go if you can.

      • Norm says:

        I have found in the past that I get about a seasons worth to a year from the Lowes/Home Depot rolls of plastic. A roll of the 6 mill, non-UV, non-drip resistant, etc, etc is a LOT cheaper than the special plastics made for tunnels. If you can afford it, the specialty greehouse poly’s are the way to go. But for me it is cheaper to re-cover in a year or two using 6 mil from the cheapest source I can find!

  211. John OKeeffe says:

    I loved your project. I’m a contractor also. I came in about the same price as you. My modifacation. I live were we get lots of snow. I spaced my pvc @ 20″ w/a 2×4 across the top & 2 1x’s 18″ down from center. I also added 3 2×4 columns. Thanks for the great idea!

  212. dave says:

    another great use for plastic tubing is a chicken ark, where it brings the advantages of lightness and an impermeability that keeps the pests away. I am in the process of making one.

    • dave says:

      In fact you could use those advantages by stiffening the greenhouse frame a little more and making it mobile, If you wanted.

  213. I create one similar but over two raised beds:

  214. Zanne Rose says:

    I love your attention to detail for those of us who have never hammered a nail. Thankfully, my husband has, and he came into the marriage with a crate full of tools. I’m in Seattle, so there are only so many things that we can grow outside, and only so much room inside.

    Do you mind if I put a link to your site on my blog? It’s about cooking/re-discovering foods, and beginning herb abd vegetable gardening.

  215. Herb Bennet says:

    Very nice job! Both the design as well as your presentation. I was toying with the idea of building a somewhat similar construction over my 2 tiered raised garden bed this past winter (but I live in central Florida and the winters are so short I never got around to it. I may try it next winter.) You’ve given me some ideas on how to tackle it next year. Would love to have home-grown tomatoes all year long!

  216. Cristina says:

    This is great, thanks for sharing this. Very educational!

  217. Lorraine says:

    Hi there!
    How do I send you an email to get you a picture? We finally finished the duck run – The weather and other things took away from some of our time. Attaching wire, we found, took the greatest amount of time and effort, but part of that is because we needed to re-enforce the bottom portion to ensure that predators can’t get in.

    We’ve gotten the strong winds here, too, and so far it seems that everything holds up well. Part of the plan is to run pole beans up one side of the run since it’s already a trellis, which will provide some shade for the ducks, too.

    It’s an experimental work in progress, so we’ll see how it goes!

  218. Lorraine says:

    Good morning!
    How do I send you an email to get you a picture? We finally finished the duck run – The weather and other things took away from some of our time. Attaching wire, we found, took the greatest amount of time and effort, but part of that is because we needed to re-enforce the bottom portion to ensure that predators can’t get in.

    We’ve gotten the strong winds here, too, and so far it seems that everything holds up well. Part of the plan is to run pole beans up one side of the run since it’s already a trellis, which will provide some shade for the ducks, too.

    It’s an experimental work in progress, so we’ll see how it goes!

  219. Andre says:

    I am trying to discern where you have connected the crossed wires. One end is connected at the ends as shown in the photos. Where is the other end of the wire connected? Does it run to the opposite end or is it connected midway?



    • David LaFerney says:

      Both ends of the wires are connected like the one in the picture, one is high and the other is low.

  220. Christina says:

    This is a great idea! And also so very cheap. But is it good, I mean my plant’s will be safe in there?

  221. This looks like a easy green house to build. Thanks for the tips.

  222. Fern starling says:

    Terrific job! I fully enjoyed your clear instructions.Thanks so much for sharing so great an idea.I am going to try my hand at building one for myself.Gonna book mark your site too.

  223. Sally says:

    Is it possible to put a larger hoophouse over a smaller hoophouse to insulate it in the winter. Does anyone know if this works and can you tell us how?

    • David LaFerney says:

      You could do that – some greenhouses use two layers of plastic and use an electric blower to constantly pressurize the air between them. Another similar option would be to have cold frames inside the greenhouse – which is what Eliot Coleman does in “Four Season Harvest” I’ve done that before and it absolutely adds another layer of protection. However with any of these you also filter out more sunlight with each layer of glass or plastic, so it is a diminishing return. It still might be worthwhile in some cases.

  224. Lorraine says:

    We are nearly done with ours, and it has gone up in a snap! Ours is being used as a duck run, so we are covering it with chicken wire, then cage wire along the bottom to keep out “critters”. The door is at one end, the covered coop is attached to the other. Great instructions!

  225. Dmitriy says:

    Hi! Nice idea. What I’m thinking is that may be it will be nice to cover it with thin metal net firs (may be found in the garden section of HD or Lowes) and after that cover with plastic ? I’m thinking about squirrels and also you may remove plastic for winter season- metal net will keep reinforce construction. Just idea. Thank you!

  226. linda says:

    nicely done, all of it, documentation to photos to end results. We plan on doing it. Thanks

  227. Wonderful project documentation on such a useful item…I can’t wait to see the shares on the garden that will soon be growing in it Annie

  228. TIM says:

    this looks so cool! i really want to build my own greenhouse. and it seems so cheap too. i heard a great website for plastics is i heard they have lots of pvc and plasting sheeting. wish me luck!

  229. Lorraine says:

    I am soooo happy to have come across your information! I’m actually looking to use this as the basis for a duck run, rather than for plants, and will be using chicken wire for the covering. This is exactly what we need! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

  230. ben says:

    I just finished one of these. Very easy and fun, though I would plan it to get the doors on it the same day as I do the main portion of the skin as the wind came up today before I got to the doors done. They are up now and everything looks good.

  231. ed wilson says:

    i think its a good deal for 150. some people complaint about the 50. doller deal if you cant afford 150. then you cant buy the seeds to plant in it anyway so to all you who dont like it us a milk jug that may be more your speed

  232. Bridgette says:

    Awesome! Thanks! I think I will eventually try to make one of my own!

  233. Rob says:

    I am SOO glad you did this. I have just begun construction on my own greenhouse and am using the changes you suggested. I am using 1” grey pvc, and 2X4’s for the construction. Incidentally I am also using ‘lap-joints’ to hold it all together. I’ll send you the ‘PDF’ as soon as I’m done if you are interested.

    • Rob says:

      By the way. The cost of PVC has DOUBLED since you have posted this. I believe PVC is coupled with oil barrell prices. You can now buy grey schedule 40 for $.49 per foot for 3/4 inch, or $.59 per foot for 1”. I knew I could save $1 per piece if I went with 3/4 but I thought overall this was a minor cost.

  234. Nice guide. One can follow this guide to build a backyard greenhouse. Making a lean to greenhouse can also save one wall of a greenhouse if a wall of one’s home is taken as one end/wall of a greenhouse.
    My question to devid is that, whether it can withstand wind of moderate speed? If not, how can it be strengthened?

    • David LaFerney says:

      Actually it stands up to wind just fine – keeping the door fastened shut seems to help, but in about 3 years wind has not been an issue at all.

    • Dea says:

      be VERY careful using one wall of your home as an end/wall for your lean-to greenhouse. Most home construction does not plan for the moisture/heat encountered in a greenhouse. You may damage your home siding by using it as part of the greenhouse structure.
      HOWEVER, with proper precautions,such as a moisture proof barrier, a lean-to green house added in conjunction to a window (or several windows) can add warmth from greenhouse to home during winter. Passive solar heating.

  235. Kai says:

    Great guide, gave me a lot of good ideas and a great reference, but you could have been a bit more honest about it costing more than 50 bucks for most people ;)

  236. Nicely illustrated.

    So many sites and handbooks have inadequate drawings or images. Your article goes the extra mile.

    I’m still debating whether or not to add one to our own landscaping.

  237. Cheri says:

    You are awesome, to provide a pictorial step by step guide! I will build one of these as soon as I have $50 extra :-) Thanks.

  238. Wow! Amazing step by step tutorial. I am going to use that! We actually already have most of those materials just sitting around our shop! Thanks for taking all the time to post this and catalog the process.

  239. Shain says:

    I am planning on giving these instructions to my husband as a “Honey Do” project for this winter. I would like to use mine as a storage green house for my plants that love the heat and humidity of North Carolina, but can’t stand to be cold. In the past my home has suffered the brunt of the winter invasion. I am concerned though about how to retain the heat of the day to keep my plants warm enough at night. Do I need to keep a heater in it? Thank you for wonderful instructions and pictures.

  240. What a great way to build a nice little greenhouse with such modest means! With so much detailed instructions and even step-by-step pictures.

    Simply, excellent! It can’t get easier than that!

  241. kaevin lee says:

    I just have to say THANK YOU!!! i had been struggling with a sturdy design with out dishing out of pocket for a commercial style hoop house/greenhouse. However after coming across this. I decided to save it and give it a whirl. It was really easy. My father is an electrician so it was easy to find a lot of what I needed from his scraps. So that really cut down my cost.
    From start to finish. It was simple. Your pictures did help a great deal as I’m not the type to be able to picture building something in my head. I didn’t inherit that family gene haha. I was able to complete the construction myself. With just my father coming back to check my measurements. LOL. AND VOILA…an awesome hoop house. I did use the center board for extra support in case of snow. And it seems to be holding just fine. We had a bad rain and wind storm and a huge limb fell on the greenhouse.. It bounced off like a 10 year old on a trampoline haha. other than a little dirt and some minor scratches. It was perfectly fine. I cant express to you just how happy I am with this design. So thank you so much. it has really made my gardening an even bigger treat. not to mention I have been able to start my perennial business on the side selling babies and reproducing large quantities off cuttings from all my other shrubs and house plants. Just starting to build another one for my veggies. And I know this will be even easier the second time around.

    Kaevin Lee
    Richmond Va

  242. This is great information. I used to work at the Noble Foundation in Oklahoma. We built many similar structures for a few years.

    Thanks for posting this very detailed process.

  243. kim says:

    What a great site! Fabulous. Thanks! Kim

  244. thinayr says:

    I am building a similar greenhouse.

    I could not find grey PVC so I got the white and a quart of premium exterior paint ( as suggested)… I’ve painted two of my ‘ribs’ but started to worry that the paint was going to eventually break down and flake inside the greenhouse, which would be no bueno…

    Has anyone tried painting their pvc? I don’t know if I should continue or stop…

    • David LaFerney says:

      I haven’t tried it yet, but after 2 years I’m about to replace my plastic for the first time, and it has generally just given out all over not at the ribs.

  245. lmmoore333 says:

    We built one fall 2009 from these plans. Ours is longer due to size of plastic we bought (we didn’t want to waste it). We love it!!!!! We ate salad from Nov 2009 till May 2010. It really extends our growing season in east Tennessee. Thanks you so much for posting the instructions!!!

  246. Do it yourself and thrift are two great forgotten american values…I will be making one of these int he spring.

  247. Stephen Cope says:

    I am in the process of constructing a similar greenhouse with galvanised iron hoops and foundation tubes. As such, I have produced a similar blog at if anyone would like to compare notes. These igloo type greenhouses are now very popular “down under” and can be bought in kit form. The basics are still the same except ours don’t need to be disassembled for the winter. The cover will be ultraviolet inhibited polythene, and requires frame guard tape to protect it from any potential burning. Hope my finished “product” looks as good as yours.
    Regards, SJC.

  248. Garden Much says:

    Very thorough documentation – i like it :)

  249. DeniseinArk says:

    EDIT: I just realized that comment referred to here isn’t on the blog. I got it through email, but you must have already realized and deleted the comment. Forgive me for not checking first. @ DoorGarden admin: The exact same post under another name has come up on another blog to which I have subbed. The comment was about saving money on monthly womens’ supplies, so it’s not like the subjects were anywhere near the same. This person is likely either a spammer or someone who is just using your site to advertise his/her own blog. Just a head’s up.

  250. Nice easy to follow guide. Thanks for sharing this one. The green house seems to be pretty dang durable.

  251. tom russell says:

    sorry. the length and width of the shade cloth was 6 x 15.

  252. tom russell says:

    I built the structure as you described but did one really stupid thing. I obtained a piece of 80% shade cloth and placed it on the top to lower the interior temps which were reaching 110+. It dropped the temp down 15 degrees but when the outside temps reached 90+ degrees. The fabric heated up and warped the hoops even though I had the the door and the window in the back wall open. The weather has been exceedingly hot this week I wired concrete block to the hoops at the center of the bow and closed the door and window the extreem heat of 135 softened the pvc and the block pulled everything back in to line. the guy at greenhouse where i purchased the uv resistant plastic said I needed to cover the whole structure to prevent that from happening.
    sorry about the epstile, but I wanted to help stop anyone else from making such a bone head mistake. TSR

  253. Marty says:

    Outstanding job with photos and directions. Your as you go thought process really helped me think of I have to recyle into project. Looking forward to future engineering updates.

  254. lucie says:

    Nice job, I have been serfing for hours trying to find a greenhouse to build this was the only one that I understood, you see I’m a visual thank you

  255. micahel says:

    what size poly pipe is used for the clips

  256. Elena says:


    I found your article very helpful. I am thinking about building it and using it in the summer as well. If that were the case I know that I would need to provide some ventilation and cooling. Do you have any ideas on how I could do that? Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

    Also how do you provide air circulation in your greenhouse?

    Thanks, Elena :)

  257. Susan G says:

    I have visited your blog before. The more I visit, the more I keep coming back! ;~)

  258. dog food says:

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  259. Edward de Bruin says:

    This greenhouse seem to be very sturdy, I have no doubt that it will take all the snow that can accumulate on it! I saw such type of greenhouse a few years back on “Sherries Greenhouse and Garden” website and the pictures while covered in six inches of snow and it did the job well! Thanks for the idea and plans.

  260. Denise from ARk says:

    Oh and I have one more comment: For our quonset huts in camping, we use 10′ poles connected by a 4-way connector. Use 4′ poles as a “spine” between each set of “ribs” and it is stronger.

  261. Denise from ARk says:

    We’ve done this for years…not for a greenhouse but for camping. We just use the open tunnels over the picnic tables for camping and it only takes about a half hour to set up.

    I do, though, have a metal hoop house with 4yr UV rated plastic and 2 layers thick with a fan blowing to keep them apart. It works like a dream in central Ark. I only ran heat during a few cold snaps, and turned it off during the day. It would have needed more heat this winter, though. The first year we used the construction plastic, and it lasted exactly one season. But it was cheap cheap.

    Using a shade cloth over either type of plastic helps it last a little longer.

    Denise from Ark

  262. Ronnie says:

    Thanks so much. You did all the hard stuff. I just followed the leader.
    Works great.

  263. Pat Richardson says:

    This is just what we have been looking for. How about if we leave the plastic off during the summer and put netting over for protection?

  264. tom carsley says:

    Mr. David LaFerney,

    Please contact me about the plans for this greenhouse. I tried to find a contact email with no luck. I want to use your plans for a self help in crisis book. My email is in the form.

    Thank you,

    Tom Carsley

  265. Edward says:

    I would rethink using Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) pipe. Chlorine is used in the production and it is a highly toxic material. Go to
    and read this for some good information on hoop greenhouse structures. There is plenty of useful information in there.

    • I agree that we should all rethink all of the products that we use and the things we do. Chlorine is poisonous, but it is a naturally occurring element which is contained in all kinds of things we use every day – table salt for example. The fact that PVC (both the pipe and skin of the green house) are made out of Oil is a bigger issue to me. But any material you use has an energy/carbon footprint, and if a greenhouse like this is used to produce food in your backyard instead of 1500 miles away like most of it is then I think it probably improves the sustainability of our life style. Thanks for the comment though

      • Dale says:

        It’s a common misconception plastics are manufactured from oil. Even those of us in the plastics industry are guilty of that from time to time. Plastics are actually made from natural gas. The amount of plastics made from natural gas is less than 5% of the total. So, you can rest easy about the amount of plastics manufactured from oil.

  266. Steve Cope says:

    G’day David from Downunder,

    It was your design that finally decided the intended shape of my own greenhouse which will be assembled after I have had my heart operation. In Melbourne an igloo type greenhouse can be purchased for around $860.00. The only major difference in design is the use of hollow stirrups for the hoops to be inserted, which are hammered into the soil (or concreted) during construction. The base frame and door frames are treated pine and UV protected clear PVC sheeting is used for the roof and walls. Gravel or small pebbles will be used to bury the ends of the PVC sheeting to ensure no movement. The greenhouse will be 4.5 metres long x 2.8 metres wide x 2.7 metres high and will contain staging instead of soil beds. That way I will achieve 2 growing levels on the left and right hand side and 2 smaller levels at the front and back. As we will be growing most of our own vegetables, herbs and berries I need all the medium I can get. I will send photos as the building commences. Thankyou for your article; it has given me many ideas. Well put together.


    Steve Cope (Melbourne, Australia)

  267. Char says:

    I’ve been looking for several years for a inexpensive greenhouse but they have always been beyond my reach. I found your site and it appears to be what I’ve been wanting. Thanks for the detailed instruction and pictures. Hopefully with the landlord approval I can try building this. I’m kind of got the same problem you have though, there is only one area available and it is in a shady spot. Plus I live in NE Indiana which has some pretty harsh winters at times.

  268. eugene says:

    also, can you go a bit further into how you tensioned the wire. i’m not quite sure how you did that. thanks.

    • You just wind them up like the rubber band in a model airplane. The wire is run in a loop so it is doubled exactly like a rubber band, so you put a stick between them and start winding. When it is tight enough you just leave the stick in and let it lodge against one of the frame parts. Maybe tie it a bit to make sure it doesn’t unwind.

  269. eugene says:

    what length rebar is that? how far down did you drive it into the ground? and how much sticking out of the ground? also, what grade rebar is that? is it resistant to earth?

    • The ones I used are 18-24 inches long and I left about 6-8 inches sticking up for the pipes to slide over. It’s just regular 1/2 rebar not rust resistant, but it should last a pretty long time. If your soil is soft or sandy you might want to use longer pieces and drive them in farther.

  270. Michael says:

    Hi Dave,
    I love your site. I have a question for you. My dad and I built a 16×10 greenhouse. We built the greenhouse out of 2×4’s and used the 6 mil plastic to cover the greenhouse. I put heavy weed paper on the floor of the greenhouse and put mulch over the paper. It works great. We have been having 60 degree days which is awesome but inside the greenhouse its 80 degrees!! We built a square opening on the one end of the green house. I thought about putting a box fan in that opening. I used a screen door on the other end. I have black eyed susan,zinnias,impatiens,pansies in there right now. What would be the most simplest efective way to go? I dont want to wait much longer in fear of frying my plants! Help!!
    Thanks for all of your information on here Dave!!

    • All I do is open the door in the morning when the weather is supposed to be warm and close them at night if it is going to get cold.

      I’ll tell you this though 80 degrees in March is not the same as 80 degrees in June – it isn’t as hot and stressful because it isn’t accompanied by the direct radiation of the summer sun.

      I’ve neglected to get around to opening it up before until the inside temp was in the 90s and it didn’t seem to hurt a thing. Of course you don’t want your potted plants to be too dry at the same time that it gets hot. As long as the soil is cool and moist you probably won’t hurt anything.

  271. Lee says:

    I was researching greenhouses and stumbled upon your article. In a word, fantastic! I live in Albany NY and wanted to extend my growing season. Just not quite long enough to get those red peppers and, of course, I would love to be able to reap more eggplant, squash, etc. As spring weather is upon us, at least for the moment, I am most excited about undertaking this project and so appreciate the clear instructions you offer along with the great photos. Tomorrow I will head to Home Depot to acquire materials. Thanks again and happy gardening!

  272. Funny story. I had this idea last year and this year decided to go large. You say you can’t carry 20 ft. PVC pipes in a car and would need a truck?

    I was able to get 4 20 foot 1 inch pvc pipes in my Honda Civic 2 door. I’m waiting for someone to submit their video to Americas’s Funniest Home videos. At first I though I would horseshoe them through the windows. I got one pipe in and it decided to straighten itself out going accross the front seat. I’m glad there were no cars around. I closed the windows and did the same thing but could not get the trunk closed. By then I thought I would just drive home really slow. So I went to get in the car and had to limbo into the seat. You can be sure somebody finally came to my aide when I was DONE!

  273. Joy says:

    Good to see how easily the collapsed greenhouse came back into shape once the snow was removed. We put our hoops 2 ft apart except in the middle where we have 3 hoops 18″ apart. Hadn’t thought about the weight issue. We planned to eventually make this a permanent greenhouse with vinyl panels attached to the hoops. Now I’m wondering about the weight. What do you think?

    • David LaFerney says:

      The thing about that is if you live where there is any snow at all the panels would keep it from sliding off. Weight might even be an issue in a heavy rain if it couldn’t readily drain off.

  274. This is a wonderful DIY project! I’ve shared this link with my Magickal Herbology teacher, and she’s shared it with her 2nd semester students. We all thank you! Brightest Blessings :)

  275. Toni says:

    oops! Sorry about your collapse! I still think it’s a great design, still inexpensive even with larger diameter pvc.
    New Mexico is fairly windy – 20 mph sustained with 35-40 mph gusts happens often. Bewteen that and snow loads, our university extension service recommends building hoophouses with 2 inch pvc and 3 foot spacing between the ribs. They claim this will withstand 50 mph winds plus some snow load although they do say don’t let the snow build up.
    Between snow storms this winter, I experimented with building one end wall using 1 1/2 inch electrical pvc plus your instructions and pictures. It came out just great and was very easy for one person to do so I’m very motivated to keep going with this design.

    • David LaFerney says:

      Thanks for the encouragement. I’m not at all giving up on it – it’s too much fun. I did think it was in the best interest of full disclosure to show the failure when it happened. It might help someone else come up with a better inexpensive greenhouse, and everyone benefits.

  276. Andy Holtkamp says:

    This is the simplest and most concise instructions I have read yet. And I look at alot of hoop house sites. Very well constructed and illustrated. I actually think even a build dummy like me can make this work. Also the link to the half hoop was perfect for my situation with limited space. Thanks for taking the time.

  277. jonathan says:

    i live in florida, how would this structure hold up to our hurricanes.

    • David LaFerney says:

      I don’t suspect that it would stand up to a hurricane at all – but mine has done fine through moderately high winds. If you wanted to make it more wind resistant you would just need to beef everything up – bigger pipes and more of them closer together, and batten down the plastic really well. At some point the wind is going to wipe it out.

  278. erica says:

    Thank you so much for this. This will be our project this year. I need fresh veggies in the winter!

  279. caglar says:

    It is really helpful information about greenhouses. I live in a village and greenhouses are very important for us,
    there is also a very useful guide that i got great informatin about greenhouses:

  280. Michael says:

    Hi David,
    Great information!! Came across this website, very interesting! I do have a question. I am wanting to build a greenhouse at my business.
    I am wanting to grow pansies,petunias,etc for handing baskets. I was wanting to use this same geenhouse size.
    Couldnt I use the inside beds for starters for the hanging baskets? Im eager to get started!!

    • David LaFerney says:

      I’m sure you could do that, but I think what most people do who make hanging baskets of annuals is to start seeds in flats or plugs and transplant several plants into each hanging basket.

      • Michael says:

        Thanks David, I appreciate your response! Your really doing something good here with your information. We need more people like yourself!

  281. Annie says:

    Just wanted to say thanks so much for the detail in this article. I live on the Big Island of Hawaii – in a rainforest. We have the opposite problem of most gardners – we have to keep the rain OFF! I thought it was going to be too difficult and expensive, but you have proven me wrong. Going to start construction tomorrow! Thanks again! :)

  282. Deno says:

    Great Idea only one word of advice, It may be different where you live but the bricks and block around the base of the unit would be a haven for slugs and they’d be inside your beds every night.

    • David LaFerney says:

      I’ve never had that problem in the greenhouse. I don’t know exactly why, but it could be that it is never overly wet in the greenhouse, because you have to do all the watering. Also I always water in the morning so by night it just might not be moist enough for them.

    • Joyoy says:

      Deno, I used to have slug problems too. Now I save egg shells and crush them to put on the ground around plants. Slugs and snails don’t like the sharp edges and won’t cross them. Also the egg shells add calcium to the soil. Guess you could have all your neighbors give your their egg shells and you could put around the inside edges of your greenhouse.

  283. Kathy says:

    I cannot wait for the weather to warm up here in upstate NY so that I can make one of these greenhouses. The step by step instructions were so detailed I dont think I will have any problem putting this together. Thanks for sharing a wonderful idea!

  284. Cecil says:

    Just wanted to give you a BIG THANKS for a well-documented ‘how-to’! So glad I stumbled onto your website. I have just a spot in my garden to try this on!

  285. That is a really really great job on that green house and also a very nice write up. I can’t believe you were able to do it for only $50. The weather is quite warm here were I live so a green house isn’t necessary, but it looks like fun to build. I think the materials would cost a bit more over here as well.

  286. Great post. Really interesting tips to build a greenhouse on the cheap. Normally, it costs a considerable amount to buy a readymade greenhouse.

  287. Connie says:

    Hi David,

    Great tutorial. where do you get such a large sheet of plastic?


    • David LaFerney says:

      I got my plastic from Lowe’s, but you can get builders plastic in rolls up to 20 feet wide by 100 feet long at just about any contractor supply or home improvement center. Or you can order a cut piece of uv stabilized greenhouse plastic online.

  288. Carport says:

    I love it. I’ve been looking into different greenhouses and they can be really expensive. Even just building some planter boxes can cost more than your greenhouse. I looks great too. Thanks for the instructions.

  289. Bobby D. R. I. says:

    Great do-it yourself option! Thanks for the tips, I agree you should use the “battens” at the bottom edges along with Gray PVC (actually it’s Electrical PVC as opposed to White Plumbing PVC) I will be following most of these ideas in early Spring to sell some plantings. Thanks again ! Happy Gardening ;)

  290. Rosemarie says:

    I wish I could give you 10 thumbs up, this is wonderful and such precise instructions. Have you ever thought of using it in summer for a little house to have backyard sleepovers?
    I wish I could make this, oh I can after reading this but I don’t know where to put it.

  291. dan says:

    that is so cool, has me tempted to put one up in my yard

  292. Deb says:

    I built this a couple weekends ago and it cost $136 and some change from Home Depot. While it is more than $50 in reality in August 2009, it is an easy and fun project you can do in an afternoon the first time around easily.

    • Hey Deb, email me a picture or two – david dot laferney at gmail dot com – and I’ll add them to the article. I would say that your success is pretty good proof of concept.

  293. charles fields says:

    Excellent! I always wanted to build a greenhouse but never got around to it. I thought about using re-bar and heavy plastic but your idea is better. Thanks.

  294. Evy says:

    Hi, I hope you dont mind me writing a bit about your Greenhouse and link them to you :)

    regards Evy

  295. Nice design, quite ingenious, thanks for sharing.

  296. mikeyfitch02 says:

    Thanks for a detailed description from point A to point B. I am going to be building temp. greenhouse this year to go over my koi pond. My only problem with this is I need the greenhouse to be atleast 18-19 ft wide. So I am not sure how to make this 12 ft wide greenhouse to fit what I need.

    • I’ve thought about this and here is how I would make this wider or more heavy duty:

      Use 2″ or 1 1/2″ pipe and couple them together using couplings made for pressurized water systems – because they are deeper than drain fittings and will stand up better to being bent – to get the length that you need. Glue them with pvc cement and let them dry real good before bending. Then use steel fence posts instead of rebar stakes to position the ribs. The steel fence posts would also probably let you make the bottoms of the sides more vertical and rigid, and you could possibly forgo some of the wooden stringers if you wanted to.

      I have no idea of what the practical limit would be for width if you did this. If you try it, let me know.

      • Bruce says:

        Re: mikeyfitch02 says: July 29, 2009 at 8:22 pm

        Rather than building a much larger hoop house for the koi pond, it sounds like an ideal place to use a properly sized Geodesic Dome. There are plenty of websites for the plans. Screen the triangular sections and cover with visqueen for the cold months.

    • Bruce says:

      See my comment to David re: geodesic.

      I think you’ll find it a lot easier than trying to upscale the hoop house and making it weather/wind proof.

  297. Avi says:

    Why not add insect nets for the doors and vents ?
    In the summer time the heat is too much and you should use insect nets on the opening to allow adequate ventilation.
    At: you can learn more.

  298. Northern grower says:

    Looks like something my husband and I can do! We live in southern Maine, so will let you know how the snow affects the structure. I like the simplistic design and like you, we have most of the “stuff” hanging around the garage and barn!
    Thumbs up!

    • You might want to seriously consider going up a size of pipe to Inch and a half, and spacing the ribs closer together to help compensate for snow. I would try to find out what other people in your climate have successfully done.

      Good luck!

  299. Avi says:

    Use if insect nets instead plastic is preferable in warm season.
    For vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs) use Meteor Patented BioNet.

    For fruits use Multi-Protect net.


  300. Kate B says:

    I’m excited to give this a try, especially after I read the 6 months follow-up post too. We live in NW PA. I’ll let you know how it goes!

  301. I have a similar hoop house 28′ long, that, after much trial and error was erected about 7 years ago. It has withstood quite a bit of wind just fine, due to, I believe, its flexibility and general shape. It moves around with wind but has never blown out or flown away. It also sheds snow quite nicely. Gib

  302. CondoGarden says:

    This is good. This is really, really good.

    I used to run a small greenhouse operation (13000 sq.ft. under “glass”) in south Georgia many years ago. We used a mix of commercially purchased bow-type greenhouses and home-built wooden frame ones in the 30×100 ft range. It really teaches you what you do and don’t need in a greenhouse.

    A lot of people could benefit from a small greenhouse to start plants in or to carry them over the winter. I had been thinking of doing a posting on my blog of a simple design, but you’ve done such a great job that I may just link to yours instead.

    • Thanks, that really means a lot from someone with actual experience.

      • H P Beals says:

        I’ve wanted to build a greenhouse for sometime. Your directions were outstanding but I live in Nebraska and had to add some extra heating. I use a electric oil radiator that I had hanging around and bought a plug in thermostat. To help keep it warm inside I built one hoop wall inside the outer wall and covered both with plastic. I then blew air between the walls with a fan creating a insulation blanket. The outside wall blew up great and my heating costs have gone way down. Thanks for the ideas

  303. gjperera says:

    Great post…just read it on Lifehacker, this is exactly what I was looking for, I too would like to build a similar greenhouse. My biggest concern is being able to take it down easily (I live in Miami, Fl) and hurricane season lasts for about 5 months, so I need to make sure that my greenhouse can be torn down quickly.

    Thanks for the detailed guidelines and for sharing your experience.

    • Actually, you can take the plastic off of the tunnel part and the doors off of the ends pretty easily. That’s how mine looks right now – just the ends and the ribs. At that point there isn’t much to catch in the wind. In October I’ll Set it back up for the fall and winter.

      • gjperera says:

        That would be wishful thinking for me…winds hit over the 30MPH you referenced above…more like 70MPH+ at which time I think that the greenhouse would be 2 blocks away from my home in someones pool and not to mention the debris that would hit those fragile plastic tubes…thanks for the feedback though…I can opt for your suggestion for the less threatening storms.

  304. Recently I have been helping a horticulturist friend deliver plants to various garden centres and nurseries throughout Scotland. It has given me the chance to look at many ‘polytunnels’. The only examples I have seen which have extensive cross bracing are over 15 feet wide and just slightly less than that tall. This makes me think that unless wind strength is unusally high for a particular location, there is no need to worry about lateral strength.
    In any case, should the amount of movement be worrying, you could always attach guy ropes.

    • We have some pretty high winds here at times, and so far I really haven’t had any problem at all. It’s best for the doors to be closed when it’s windy so that the covering doesn’t billow up, but I seriously haven’t had a problem.

    • danahyatt says:

      I have been looking for plans to build a greenhouse for winter crops too. However, the one shown here does not look like it can withstand California Winds, up to 70 MPH. I worked construction on the North Sea in Scotland and Wales and the wind picks-up in the winter. The rain freezes and blows like darts. I am sure you will feel like a French Girl with a Mini Skirt in a Hurricane when you build this greenhouse. Anyway, good luck.

  305. Ed says:

    You’re awesome. Nice instructions, documentation & pics. Keep up the great work.

  306. Dale Oddson says:

    Thanks so much for an awesome site.I feel very inspired and hopeful seeing things like this take shape. I greatly appreciate your hard work in sharing this design.

  307. Robert says:

    Thank you for such a well written photo article and good step-by-step photos. I have been a garden-less apartment dweller for 4 years and acutely miss being able to grow fresh food. But that will all end soon when I move to a new location with a large yard. That will be the opportunity to construct a greenhouse. Like you I’m definitely on a budget, but I have time. Instead of PVC pipe, I was thinking of ripping scrap lumber down to lathes of about 1 1/4 x 3/8 inch section and then, with some epoxy adhesive, laminating them together to create the hoops. A tip I learned from boat builders is that with a good supply of such thin wood sections, you can tack together a structure using hot melt glue and when it is up and organised the way you want, you can go around and make the connnections more permanent either with screw/nail/nylon tie fixings or epoxy glue.

    I also thought the flat section might have advantages compared to the circular shape of pipe.

    I walled in the side of a car port like this once and it worked well. You can use the same technique to build cold frames.

    For increased stiffness at the end, you could cut plywood to the full shape of the end and then make fairly large cut outs on either side of the door. They would permit enough light to enter, and the shape stiffness of the ply sheet would be far greater than you could hope for from just the rigidity of the pvc hoops of your design.


  308. Sue says:

    I’d love to have one like this, and just about this size. And I’m impressed that it cost under $50.00! I’m no good with tools, so may put a bug in my son’s ear, when he comes for a visit this summer.

    I’m wondering how it worked out for you sunlight-wise, based on your site selection.

    If I wanted to have a hoophouse for off-season (winter?!) growing, I would be inclined to put it somewhere that gets more shade in the summer, but full sun when the trees aren’t covered with leaves, which is pretty much November through mid-May where I live. If I’d just want to start things a month or two early, and grow late into the fall, I would probably want it to go where I get lots of sun in the summer too.

    • Just like you speculate – in the winter the leaves fall off of the trees and the greenhouse gets plenty of sun. This Spring the greenhouse got a 1ittle bit more shade than is probably ideal, but the tomatoes that I planted in there on March 15 (at least a month early in my area) have 2″ green tomatoes on them right now (May 29) and I have high hopes for ripe tomatoes 2-3 weeks earlier than usual.
      I’ve been very happy with the performance of this simple structure. You should check out this article –

  309. bob says:

    Nice job:) I built something similar a couple of years ago to grow some special herbs. It wasn’t as nice as yours but it did the trick. Thumbs up:))

  310. lynn says:

    thanks for the hoophouse walkthrough. i’m conspiring to improvise on elliot coleman’s 3/8″ rebar hoophouse. it will be parallel to a 25′ airstream (parked for the next 7 months or more). elliot’s design has the rebar covered with pvc. i originally planned to make ‘rebar sleeves’ from blankets but a friend talked me into using ducttape to cover the rebar so i’m going to try that. in the summer, my intention is to provide shade for the trailer and a dry living space outside that will include my kitchen (will use a silver shade tarp). i’ll make the additional framing needed from bamboo. in the winter, i’ll switch over to 6 mil construction plastic, and close up the drafty bits to create some passive solar heat. i think eliot uses the rebar to make the frame stronger to protect against wind and snow load. not sure if i’ll need either but i like it! thanks again.

    • After having used this hoop house for about 6 months and seeing it withstand some pretty gnarly winds – but no snow to speak of – I can vouch for the integrity of the basic design. I would make this comment though – it is a lot more stable when the doors are closed on both ends – open doors make it billow and move around a lot more in the wind. If I wanted to make it stronger I would do one or both of these 1) Use more ribs, putting them closer together. 2) Use bigger pipes for the ribs – 1 1/2″ pvc would be a lot stronger.

      Good luck with your RV sun space. Sounds like a plan to me.

  311. Dustin says:

    This is sweet! I’ll be giving it a go when the weather gets warmer. THANKS!

  312. AWESOME GREEN HOUSE !!!, I cant wait for my palm seeds to germinate. I just bought some from about two weeks ago and i placed them in a plastic bag with a damp clothe. Then i placed it in sunlight and now i am having some growth from the seeds. I have a quick question though… they have some palm trees that endure the snow, does anyone have a palm tree that’s endured the snow?

    Here’s the link… let me know if you have had a palm tree that can endure the snow? and if so, how did you keep it from freezing?


  313. Greg Spinks says:

    Great article. I’ve been searching and thinking about a ploy house very similar. This just answered a lot of questions. Thanks

  314. John says:

    dude nice job thanks for posting im gonna use this for a smaller greenhouse you made it look easy and now im ready to give it a try thanks so much and happy gardening..

  315. karenlq says:

    I just love the step by step photos. Now my husband can build it with me without taking the time to learn all about them. He is an electrician and wants to use conduit instead of pvc. That may help it survive our windy site in the middle of rural Ireland. Over here they are called polytunnels and are quite popular as you would rarely get a summer that would allow a tomato to be grown outdoors. Thanks for the great guide.

    • Thanks for your comment. I’m finally getting a steady supply of salad greens, and it is my plan to try to get some extra early tomatoes as well. I appreciate the information that you would call this a polytunnel. Perhaps if I add that to the tags and whatnot more people like you will be able to find it. Get your electrician busy and you should be able to have one of these going in a weekend or two.

  316. Bill Buron says:

    Ok you say my garden photo at Freedom gardens and know that I am into building things for lesBut you got me! That green house is beautiful. My raised bed gardens are set up to have low hoop houses installed over them easly. A friend of mine has a high hoop house like yours built over two raised beds that are setk up similarly to mine, but I think yours is much better built and more perminent. I like my idea of the air matress filled with water and using a creigs list $5 heater to heat it up better than your rope light Idea but if it works use it. One of My cold frame also cost me nothing but tme and is very much like yours. Keep up the good work


    • David LaFerney says:

      You know the thing is not to get hung up with how someone else did theirs. My greenhouse ended up being what it is because of the materials that I had to work with. Yours looks great to me, and I bet your neighbor’s works great too. It’s such a simple thing, you almost can’t go wrong – unless you build something that just falls apart the first time it snows or the wind blows.

  317. Ian says:

    any follow up on how it is preforming?

    • David LaFerney says:

      It was sunny and 5 degrees outside when I took this picture in the middle of January. Notice the ice on the inside of the plastic?

      The greenhouse performs just fine, but because I didn’t finish until around the first of November It has been slow to get a lot growing in there. I tell about it some in this article about cold frames. I’m planning on trying to get some extra early tomatoes from the green house in the spring and keep some going extra late in the fall. As well as some other stuff. Subscribe to the feed!

  318. Barbara says:

    I’m disappointed I can only “thumbs-up” your post just once. This is a great tutorial. We’ve been talking about building a greenhouse, but thought it would be too time-consuming or expensive. Thanks for posting this!

    • David LaFerney says:

      Yeah, that bums me out too. Seriously, anyone who wants a greenhouse should really be able to have one with a bit of effort.

  319. Dave says:

    Great tutorial on building a greenhouse! I have some leftover windows and patio doors that I was thinking of using for a similar project. I’ll be adding you to my TN Garden Blog Roll.

    • David LaFerney says:

      You’ve a great site there, and I tried to add you to my blog roll as well, but either a bug in WP 2.7 or the theme is preventing it. I’ll get it working eventually though. Note the new theme with threaded comments – Oh yeah!

  320. Maura says:

    umm… awesomeness! This is so cool and well laid out. I can’t wait to make my own. I would love to know some of the other things you have made and how. You must have other great ideas to share.

  321. Chris says:

    Great tutorial. Thumbs up!

  322. Kathryn says:

    Loved the article, it is EXACTLY what I have looked for in building my own greenhouse. I would be interested in your doors and how you did those. I can pretty much work, build and create anything if I have some kind of instructions or some ideas. I would appreciate assistance on the doors.

    Thanks so much again


  323. davesworkout says:

    that is amazing! I think I am gonna try this at home.

  324. Miri Mariki says:

    Hey! Great job.

    We built one very similar in our organic garden up here in the mountains west of the continental divide in New Mexico (7200 ft elevation).

    Sun did cause minor damage to the plastic (most clear or frosted plastic will deteriorate given enough UV)…. we are also closer to the sun up here in the mountains… sheer winds did rip the plastic, (which had been deteriorated) but only after we had emptied the greenhouse. We got a really good season thanks to this lil baby.

    We grew 20 or more tomato plants in ours… our killing freeze comes in late september/ early october … the only tomatoes that really suffered through it all were the ones closest to the plastic wall.


  325. sharon B says:

    Thank you for the project instructions,my brother
    in Fla. has one almost like yours and I always wanted to try and build one. Now I have all the info.
    I need thumbs up great project.
    P.S. Don’t worry about Mr. Frost he just seems very negative.

  326. Jerry Brady says:

    Thanks for the info, I will give it a try.
    Please send me pics. of what yours produced
    and any updates.
    Thanks, Jerry Brady

  327. Freeform1 says:

    Yep…I’ll give ya a thumbs up, 4sure!…isn’t tooooo many times one comes upon a website that’s NOT trying to sell ya something…good stuff, matey……………..

  328. Jane says:

    Truly inspiring.
    A fully functional food tunnel for 50 dollars and with crystal clear instructions for dummies like me.
    Big thank you.
    Great site by the way.
    Double thanks.

  329. Miss Britt says:

    this is awesome! your tutorial is easy to understand and the pictures are great. THANK YOU!!!!

  330. gib hayes says:

    Nice job. you kept it simple. My first attempt at hoop house was a disaster. Used 10 foot w/ 4 way connectors,1/2 in thin wall, with no framing, and flap closures on ends. It lasted till the next wind storm. About 7-8 yrs ago, rebuilt a 28′ unit. I had some 14′, 2×6 white cedar [port orford ], which I used to frame base and ends.made french doors out of 4 old window frames, used self tapping screws to attach 5/8″ pvc to frames as well as the horizontal bracing[of which, starting a/ top added 2 more runs a/approx 4′ centers making a total of 5 runs[2 each side, 1 top center. As i was working alone I used duct tape to hold bracing until attaching w/ 1 1/4″ self tapping, stainless screws. 1 per rib. Drove 30″ 3/8″ re-bar into ground, 3 on each side to pin to ground, then for good measure dog legged out from frame 36″ a/ 4′ centers w/ 30 ” risers inside and out side and attached the plant racks. It has worked great. I would recommend using greenhouse plastic as the poly stuff only lasts about 8-9 months and the blows out [usually in january of course]. Next one will be 1″ pvc, as a neighbor donated 9, 20′ pieces w/ rebar in concrete to slide it onto [which I may or not use]

  331. Myrna says:

    We have a similar greenhouse (16×32 with 4′ pony walls made of lexan and wood with the PVC pipe arched overhead. It’s a great hoophouse but will collapse if the snowload is too great. We take the visqueen off in the winter. Unfortunately we put it on a week too early last April and had to rebuild it when a late blizzard collapsed the PVC pipe.

  332. Nice how-to! Appreciate you taking the time to do this – it’s been a fleeting dream of mine to make a greenhouse over a couple of my raised beds for winter greens. This may spur me on to clean out my garage so I can create a similar project. Happy gardening! ==Andrew Perkins,

  333. Fran says:

    Hey, we had the same idea, and made the winter before last. It was not constructed near as good as you did, and therefore the first time a good wind came along, it did not withstand very well. But it did work in keeping our plants safe all winter. We are in the process of replacing all our windows presently (house built in 1939), and are recycling the old lumber and windows (16 of them) to construct a more permanent greenhouse. Keep up the good work!

  334. Heather Dempsey says:

    This is great. Thanks for the inspiration. The growing season isn’t quite long enough for me so this will be just the thing.

  335. gave you a thumbs up! nice project to share with everyone.

  336. Alf Inge Fredriksen says:

    Hi and thanks for this fantastic share! I live at the west cost in Norway, and this greenhouse looks perfect for my use. The winter is realy hard here, same as in Alaska, but the spring and summer is fine. I will have to take it down for the winter, it will not survive.
    And reasemble it again in the spring time. Again,,, Thanks for this great share! Soon there will be a greenhouse of your design in Norway!

    Alf Inge Fredriksen

  337. Pam says:

    Wonderful instructions and the photos actually add a good deal of clarification. I started to make a similar one but with jointed connections some years ago and ran into a lot of problems with joints and trying to stablize everything. This looks so much simpler and straightforward (and do-able by one person) so I am going to have to give it another shot.
    I am wondering, for those of us in high wind areas, if it would be a good idea to build a sort of windbreak on the north or even on three sides, varying the height from perhaps 3 feet on the sides to 6 feet or so on the north and maybe face it with foil or some such? Perhaps straw bales with plywood facing, covered with silver insulation or even just painted white to reflect light?
    Robert Frost: try to find something on your keyboard that isn’t the same tired kneejerk reaction which is so BORING, useless and unimaginative. Do people like you have comments like this on a sort of speeddial, so you can wander through the maximum number of sites annoying the maximum number of people in the minimum amount of time? Perhaps you should consider getting a life…maybe doing something so you can have a glimmer or what real people are up to? Then perhaps, instead of so vividly demonstrating your ignorance for all to see, someday you might also be able to contribute something a fraction as useful as this site is. One hugely helpful thing would be a computer program which automatically deletes any comments including the word “photoshopped”, in case you need a project to get going on.

  338. Mike Taylor says:


    I have a very similar hoop structure, also made of 1″ PVC, and it has been up, exposed to full sun in southern California, for about 15 years. I wouldn’t worry about the UV for a while ;)
    BTW, You have been both Stumbled and Dugg (Digged?)

  339. Jamie says:

    What an inspiration! Great job! I may try something similar to this in my small city yard. Thanks so much!!
    Robert Frost…. What a sad, angry individual!

  340. MadMan says:

    Dude, this page rocks! Even if the thing blows down with the first gnarly winds, it was a good project and the documentation is about as good as it can be. I can hardly wait to see the doorway done, and see what the weather has to say about the materials and construction techniques used.

  341. Cheryl says:

    Excellent, excellent, excellent. Love the step by step directions with the pictures. I’ll try this over my two established beds for next spring.

  342. David LaFerney says:

    @littlewren – I’m sure you are correct about the ventilation, I’ll have to give it some thought – we always have a few 60+ degree days in the middle of January. That’s a good point about it being a temporary structure, a lot of codes have exceptions for anything without a foundation.

    Robert Frost said…

    “ALL THOSE PICTURES AND ALL THESE COMMENTS ARE PHOTOSHOPPED” – It’s true they are, also I’m a spy – an undercover agent for the FBI – sent down here to infiltrate the KU-KLUX-KLAN … It’s also true that the headline is a hook, and I do want people to read my blog, however I actually did build this for about $50 out of pocket. Some of the other materials have been in my garage for years. Just for you I’m working on a rundown of the materials required, and their approximate costs. Maybe that will make up for my evil ways.

    Sarcastic Mom said .

    “Great project – thanks for detailing. Very inspiring and informative.” Thanks.

    Mary said … “We had snow in South Central Wisconsin today!” Wow – sounds like you really need something like this.

    Diana Lee G. said …

    “Thanks for the added information! Now have I have something useful I can do with some of the lengths and lengths of PVC pipe I salvaged and have been saving for several years. :>)”We should stop calling ourselves pack rats and start saying recyclers. ;)

    Fern said …

    “Great article! You definitely got my SU thumbs up! :-)” All of the encouragement has really made it worthwhile – Thanks.

    SimplyAlon said … “I believe you would make a grand instructor on some other DIY sites.” I actually do a bit of that – Thanks.

    @Tony – You are entirely correct about how beneficial thermal mass is – I have a small winter plant maintenance room where I use 4 black 55 gallon drums full of water to buffer the temperature and humidity, and it works great. This project was designed for Simplicity with a capitol S though, and it will have to rely on the soil to act as a heat sink to the extent that it can. Your solar fan sounds like a great add on though – if the sun is shining the fan is fanning. I will have to do something, I can’t always run home to ventilate just because the sun comes out. Thanks for the suggestions.

  343. Jack says:

    Really like the idea and direction. I think you are right on with the single ribs (as opposed to jointing or adding couplings).. I think it will add to the simplicity and crazy enough stability –KISS.

    Being somewhat of a contractor myself, I can see how the only real “purchases” would be that of the conduit (pvc) & plastic sheeting that I would buy…Brother Frost needs to understand that those of us who are recourceful enough to think about providing our families with food in the off season, are often times the same ones who have other extra items…. lets say for a rainy day. Right on with your bad self.

    I am really interested to see how the wind effects it. I live just south of Charlottesville, VA and we see sporatic (but intense) wind gusts seasonally. Today for instance I could see it blowing away entirely.

    Any thoughts of slightly heating for the deep winter months?


  344. Tony says:

    Hi, great idea many thanks for the great explanation you have inspired me. (I worry about the UV resistance of the pipe though.)

    Can I offer a suggestion based on what I did a few years ago in my large coldframe/ mini green house.

    I placed about 10 x 25 litre containers full of water on the floor. Placed boards over them and then put the plant pots (Or beds) on top

    I then placed a 12 inch square 12 volt solar panel which went straight to a suitable fan. This fan drew the air from a pipe in the apex of the green house down to floor level and blew it over the water containers.

    This keeps the greenhouse cooler during the day, warmer at night (Plants like even temperatures) and excess moisture condenses on the water containers keeping the humidity down.

    The more the sun shines the more heat is pumped below. You can use old pop bottles, jam jars or whatever is to hand (full of water) for the storage.

    Have fun

  345. SimplyAlon says:

    Hello neighbor! Hailing from Bartow County, GA. Absolutely loved the simplicity of design and DIY instructions. It was informative and now taken as a personal challenge to construct such a structure on a smaller scale, as I am limited in space. Thank you for sharing and patiently sharing with step by step photos. I know it can be challenging. I look forward to seeing my own end result. I believe you would make a grand instructor on some other DIY sites. Grand Job, Many Kudos and of course a Stumbler’s thumbs up!

  346. Fern says:

    Great article! You definitely got my SU thumbs up! :-)

  347. Diana Lee G. says:

    Thanks for the added information! Now have I have something useful I can do with some of the lengths and lengths of pvc pipe I salvaged and have been saving for several years. :>)

  348. Mary says:

    Thanks for the pictures and wonderful instructions. There is a lady near Madison, Wisconsin that talks on her blog about her hoop houses and walking around in them in the winter picking vegetables and now I know what she is talking about! It will be on my agenda for the next season!

    We had snow in South Central Wisconsin today!

  349. Great project – thanks for detailing. Very inspiring and informative.
    Oh, and don’t worry about Robert Frost up there… I think he just needs to take “the road less traveled” and get lost on it. ;-)

    • all truths are half truths says:

      all truths are half truths confirmed on the title, no doubt the plans are nice and the green house looks sturdy but when 50 bucks is the budget and thats what the title says its a big disappointment to not be able to do any of it :(, maybe offer a smaller green house plan for 50 dollars actually

      • David LaFerney says:

        I’m sorry that you feel that way, but the truth is that you can probably build this greenhouse for less than $50 if you use a bit of creativity, and scrounge hard enough for recycled or freecycled components. Even if you just go to your most convenient corporate retail outlet and whip out the plastic – because that would certainly be easier – it’s still pretty accessible.

  350. Robert Frost says:


    plus, you called it a $50 dollar greenhouse and clearly it would be $120. I hate when people say things just to grab your attention and then you read the fine print and you find out that $50 dollars has nothing to do with it. In fact, the price is higher and they just wanted you to read their blog SOOO BAD.

    So…you suck. gg

  351. littlewren says:

    Some friends of mine built a greenhouse almost identical to this one in design, and it worked just fine, although in our temperate climate it is necessary to give some thought to ventilation, even in winter.

    Simple as it is, believe me having these instructions will save people a great deal of trial and error, and should produce a nice tidy result. The beauty of this one is that while the new materials are relatively inexpensive, almost all of them can be sourced cheaply or for free. It strikes me that the same design could be used to build a shade house using shade cloth instead of plastic.

    It would have to be a pretty rampant council that took exception to one of these in your back yard, but as it would not be classed as a permanant structure I am guessing most of us could get away with it without any hassles.

  352. David LaFerney says:

    @online meeting reviews – I’m just full of cheap half baked ideas – you should check back or subscribe so you don’t miss a single one.

    @Dianna Lee G – That is indeed an oversight. I used plain old 6 mil clear (more or less) plastic sheeting from Lowes. I’ve added a better explanation and a link to a source for the real stuff in the article. Thanks for pointing that out.

    @Ignozi – we have some pretty fierce winds here in central Tennessee too, but they’re usually only violent for pretty short periods. Our region has many commercial greenhouses that are shaped like this and I’ve never seen one blown down. My mileage may vary. I’ll post about it after we have some wind.

    @Dennis – I’m sure that you could use greenhouse panels run horizontally kind of like they do those economical carport covers. I would be more concerned that the plastic pipe wouldn’t hold the screws securely enough. I would certainly want to upgrade to Schedule 80 conduit if I were going to try that.

    @Gleno – Thanks for the comment and the complement.

    @Bill Canaday – No idea, you would have to check with your local codes. Good luck with that. It would probably be more likely to pass muster if it was behind a privacy fence.

    @Urban Organics – Thanks for the link and the thumbs up. Nice organic gardening website.

    @Sherry – I’m in middle Tennessee and we don’t usually get very much snow what with global warming and all. This is not as flimsy as it might look, but you could easily beef it up by putting the ribs closer together. Putting them on 18″ spacing instead of 36″ would only cost about $20 dollars more. Your guess is as good as mine about how much snow it would hold before it collapse, but I would probably want to clean it off often to be on the safe side.

    Thanks to everyone for the compliments and thumbs!

  353. Steven Sexton says:

    Thanks I have qwanted to try one also, now with your plans it should be much faster to build. I also am a pack rat and have much of what I need already.

    I also have 70 triple glaze windows 18″ X 36″ have any good ideas on how to use them. Got them from old store freezer doors. The glass is also one way and heated if you were to hook it up.

  354. steff says:

    Hey nice one all round.
    its all good…

  355. Sherry says:

    Just wondering where your from. We live on the East Coast USA and I’m not so sure the plastic will hold up to our snow.

  356. Bill Canaday says:

    Any clue what urban zoning laws might have to say about something like this? I’d be interested in trying but I’m not too keen on the $500 tickets the City of Detroit passes out like candy.

    • Gee says:

      what about checking on line under the City of Detroit or how ever they are listed to see if their zoning laws are noted …..I live in a very small town and they have theirs on line. Even Flint, Mi. used to have theirs on line.

  357. Gleno says:

    Great work, professional looking and attractive final product and — best of all — inexpensively done. Your documentation, photos and instructions are fantastic. Thank you for taking the time to share.

  358. Dennis says:

    I think this is a great idea. I was looking for a way to build one of these for a while… Although i was thinking about plexi-glass instead of plastic… I know we are trying to keep the cost down, but durability was more what i am going after. Does anyone know if you can screw plexi-glass to the pvc pipe of would the plexi-glass break ?

  359. ingozi says:

    Very nice. I doubt that I could do it for the price though, so I guess I’m lucky to be a pack rat too! Here in So. California we have some wonderfully high winds when the Santa Ana’s come – especially where I live. So what I’m planning is a lower profile greenhouse that is dug into the ground actually. Thanks to your great photos and explanations, I’ve got the inspiration I need. Cheers!

  360. Diana Lee G. says:

    I enjoyed reading this and found it well written and informative, but I would have appreciated more details on “the plastic”. I didn’t see where you stated what kind of plastic you used. What size? What “gauge? You referred to it as “plastic”, “the plastic” “plastic sheeting”, and such. You apparently assumed knowledge on the part of your readers that some of us do not have. But anyway, it was still interesting.

  361. Great article worth a thumbs up. Have any other great cheap ideas?

  362. Tomato Lady says:

    I’m very impressed. Hope to see pics of monster lettuce and spinach in the coming months! Definitely a thumbs up. Best of luck!

  363. beverlyz says:

    What a clever innovation! Thanks for sharing!

  364. ingermaaike says:

    That is just perfect! Thanks :-)

  365. @cherry – I doubt if the plastic will last more than one or maybe two seasons here either, but this gives me a chance to find out if I like greenhouse gardening or not without spending a ton of money.

    @Michael James – Thanks for the compliments I’m glad that you found it interesting or useful. And I agree that we should try to produce more of what we use at home and in a more sustainable way than trucking it clear across the continent.

    @kevin – I agree – the sunlight resistant conduit would be more durable, and if I had counted the cost before I started the difference might be inconsequential. I’ll look into that.

  366. kevin says:

    i preffer to use the grey conduit as it stays more flexible and is uv resistant, you could also use this plan with canvas painters tarps and paint it with the white rubberized roof coating to make a storage shed

  367. Michael James says:

    The Best of the best! So well documented, via text and photos that you must be a genius! So simple, so clean and neat, and this is what we all should strive to do. Thank you very much for taking your valuable time to contribute to those of us that aspire to “Off the grid living” and urban cultural creatives.

  368. cherry says:

    Looks very similar to what my mom’s greenhouse used to look like. The Finnish winters weren’t so friendly on the palstic, though, so it has mostly been replaced by old window glass. The best tomatoes and cucumbers of my life have come from that greenhouse.

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