Oct
27
2008

How to build My 50 Dollar Greenhouse

  • 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 littlegreenhouse.com 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.

Thusly

Thusly

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.

Addendum:

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.

560 Comments »

  • [...] been kicking around the idea of building some kind of greenhouse for several years, but I think that I’ve finally decided that in my case the most practical way [...]

    Pingback | October 27, 2008
  • cherry

    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.

    Comment | October 27, 2008
  • Michael James

    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.

    Comment | October 27, 2008
  • kevin

    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

    Comment | October 27, 2008
  • @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.

    Comment | October 27, 2008
  • That is just perfect! Thanks :-)

    Comment | October 28, 2008
  • What a clever innovation! Thanks for sharing!

    Comment | October 28, 2008
  • I’m very impressed. Hope to see pics of monster lettuce and spinach in the coming months! Definitely a thumbs up. Best of luck!

    Comment | October 28, 2008
  • Great article worth a thumbs up. Have any other great cheap ideas?

    Comment | October 28, 2008
  • 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.

    Comment | October 28, 2008
  • ingozi

    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!

    Comment | October 28, 2008
  • Dennis

    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 ?

    Comment | October 28, 2008
  • Gleno

    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.

    Comment | October 28, 2008
  • 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.

    Comment | October 28, 2008
  • [...] But still, even if just for the inspirational value, I thought I’d pass the link along. [...]

    Pingback | October 28, 2008
  • Sherry

    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.

    Comment | October 28, 2008
  • steff

    Hey nice one all round.
    its all good…

    Comment | October 28, 2008
  • Steven Sexton

    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.

    Comment | October 28, 2008
  • David LaFerney

    @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!

    Comment | October 28, 2008
  • littlewren

    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.

    Comment | October 28, 2008
  • Robert Frost

    ALL THOSE PICTURES AND ALL THESE COMMENTS ARE PHOTOSHOPPED.

    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

    Comment | October 28, 2008
  • [...] 27, 2008 by mickki A friend sent me this article, which gives instructions (and photos) for a 165 sq ft greenhouse, constructed for under $50. I [...]

    Pingback | October 28, 2008
  • 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. ;-)

    Comment | October 28, 2008
  • 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!

    Comment | October 28, 2008
  • [...] Get a head start on next spring’s gardening with this awesome project! The $50 greenhouse! [...]

    Pingback | October 28, 2008
  • 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. :>)

    Comment | October 28, 2008
  • Great article! You definitely got my SU thumbs up! :-)

    Comment | October 28, 2008
  • SimplyAlon

    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!

    Comment | October 28, 2008
  • Tony

    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
    Tony

    Comment | October 29, 2008
  • Jack

    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?

    Jack

    Comment | October 29, 2008
  • David LaFerney

    @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.

    Comment | October 29, 2008
  • Excellent, excellent, excellent. Love the step by step directions with the pictures. I’ll try this over my two established beds for next spring.

    Comment | October 29, 2008
  • MadMan

    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.

    Comment | October 30, 2008
  • Jamie

    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!

    Comment | October 30, 2008
  • [...] clipped from doorgarden.com [...]

    Pingback | October 30, 2008
  • Mike Taylor

    @David,

    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?)

    Comment | October 31, 2008
  • Pam

    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.

    Comment | October 31, 2008
  • Alf Inge Fredriksen

    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

    Comment | November 1, 2008
  • gave you a thumbs up! nice project to share with everyone.

    Comment | November 2, 2008
  • Heather Dempsey

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

    Comment | November 2, 2008
  • Fran

    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!

    Comment | November 3, 2008
  • 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, http://www.scrimshaw.com

    Comment | November 3, 2008
  • Myrna

    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.

    Comment | November 4, 2008
  • 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]

    Comment | November 7, 2008
  • Miss Britt

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

    Comment | November 14, 2008
  • Jane

    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.

    Comment | November 16, 2008
  • Freeform1

    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……………..

    Comment | November 17, 2008
  • Jerry Brady

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

    Comment | November 18, 2008
  • 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.
    Sharon

    Comment | November 18, 2008
  • Miri Mariki

    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.

    Kudos!

    Comment | November 19, 2008
  • that is amazing! I think I am gonna try this at home.

    Comment | November 19, 2008
  • Kathryn

    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

    Kathryn

    Comment | November 19, 2008
  • [...] over night lows in the upper teens. Yet according to my tell tale thermometer the temperature in my small green house has never dipped below 32 degrees F – although I’m sure it soon will. This garden is full of [...]

    Pingback | November 26, 2008
  • Great tutorial. Thumbs up!

    Comment | December 7, 2008
  • Maura

    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.

    Comment | December 10, 2008
  • [...] trees caught my eye.   I’m thinking of trying some container fruit trees now that I have a greenhouse which I can use to protect them from our notorious late spring [...]

    Pingback | December 16, 2008
  • 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.

    Comment | December 18, 2008
  • 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!

    Comment | December 23, 2008
  • David LaFerney

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

    Comment | December 23, 2008
  • David LaFerney

    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!

    Comment | December 23, 2008
  • [...] might know that I built a small greenhouse this fall.  Unfortunately by the time I finished it in early November it was pretty late to get [...]

    Pingback | January 8, 2009
  • Ian

    any follow up on how it is preforming?

    Comment | January 31, 2009
  • David LaFerney

    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!

    Comment | January 31, 2009
  • [...] I plan to start early.  This year I should be able to avoid a lot of that in and out by using the small greenhouse that I built last [...]

    Pingback | February 4, 2009
  • [...] plants are a couple inches tall (probably about a month) I intend to move them out to the garden, greenhouse, or cold frame depending on the [...]

    Pingback | February 17, 2009
  • Bill Buron

    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

    Bill

    Comment | March 1, 2009
  • David LaFerney

    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.

    Comment | March 2, 2009
  • karenlq

    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.

    Comment | March 4, 2009
  • 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.

    Comment | March 4, 2009
  • John

    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..

    Comment | March 23, 2009
  • Great article. I’ve been searching and thinking about a ploy house very similar. This just answered a lot of questions. Thanks

    Comment | March 24, 2009
  • [...] [From The Door Garden » 50 Dollar Greenhouse] [...]

    Pingback | March 26, 2009
  • AWESOME GREEN HOUSE !!!, I cant wait for my palm seeds to germinate. I just bought some from realpalmtrees.com 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?
    SNOW PALM TREES…CRAZY!

    I PLACED THIS BLOG TO BE NOTIFIED…SO LET ME KNOW

    Comment | April 15, 2009
  • This is sweet! I’ll be giving it a go when the weather gets warmer. THANKS!

    Comment | April 17, 2009
  • lynn

    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.

    Comment | May 4, 2009
  • 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.

    Comment | May 4, 2009
  • bob

    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:))

    Comment | May 11, 2009
  • Sue

    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.

    Comment | May 30, 2009
  • 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 – http://doorgarden.com/04/6-months-in-the-greenhouse

    Comment | May 30, 2009
  • 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.

    Robert

    Comment | June 2, 2009
  • Dale Oddson

    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.

    Comment | June 24, 2009
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  • Ed

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

    Comment | June 29, 2009
  • 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.

    Comment | June 29, 2009
  • 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.

    Comment | June 29, 2009
  • 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.

    Comment | June 30, 2009
  • [...] of our more modest gardening DIY projects, like recycling old windows into seedling greenhouses. $50 Hoop Greenhouse [The Door [...]

    Pingback | June 30, 2009
  • 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.

    Comment | June 30, 2009
  • 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.

    Comment | June 30, 2009
  • Thanks, that really means a lot from someone with actual experience.

    Comment | June 30, 2009
  • [...] of our more modest gardening DIY projects, like recycling old windows into seedling greenhouses. $50 Hoop Greenhouse [The Door [...]

    Pingback | June 30, 2009
  • 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.

    Comment | June 30, 2009
  • danahyatt

    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.

    Comment | June 30, 2009
  • 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

    Comment | June 30, 2009
  • [...] of our more modest gardening DIY projects, like recycling old windows into seedling greenhouses. $50 Hoop Greenhouse [The Door [...]

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  • [...] Greenhouse from recycled materials [...]

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  • [...] $50 Hoop Greenhouse [The Door Gardner] [...]

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  • Kate B

    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!

    Comment | July 1, 2009
  • [...] You can also check out Emma’s Grow Dome (above, bottom photo) – she has detailed photos of how she build it. Updated: Rob suggests this fast framer kit for building a quick 7×8′ structure (all you need to buy are 2×4s and the siding).  David also has written a great post about how he made his affordable greenhouse. [...]

    Pingback | July 2, 2009
  • Avi

    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.

    visit: http://www.meteor.co.il/english

    Comment | July 2, 2009
  • [...] Not my article but I found it on a gardeners blog and the you outdoor guys may likey…. The Door Garden 50 Dollar Greenhouse [...]

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  • [...] people wanting a greenhouse but not having a ton of funds, this is the way to go. There is a great tutorial here with lots of pictures, plus other posts about building the doors, and what they’d do [...]

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  • Northern grower

    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!

    Comment | July 24, 2009
  • Avi

    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: http://www.meteor.co.il/english you can learn more.

    Comment | July 24, 2009
  • 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!

    Comment | July 24, 2009
  • [...] How to build My 50 Dollar Greenhouse » The Door Garden [...]

    Pingback | July 25, 2009
  • [...] 3. Build a greenhouse for $50 [...]

    Pingback | July 27, 2009
  • mikeyfitch02

    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.

    Comment | July 29, 2009
  • 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.

    Comment | July 29, 2009
  • Nice design, quite ingenious, thanks for sharing.

    Comment | August 2, 2009
  • Evy

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

    regards Evy

    Comment | August 3, 2009
  • No, don’t mind at all.

    Thanks.

    Comment | August 4, 2009
  • charles fields

    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.

    Comment | August 8, 2009
  • [...] 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.  Read More… [...]

    Pingback | August 11, 2009
  • Deb

    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.

    Comment | August 23, 2009
  • 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.

    Comment | August 27, 2009
  • dan

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

    Comment | September 18, 2009
  • [...] http://doorgarden.com/10/50-dollar-hoop-house-green-house [...]

    Pingback | September 24, 2009
  • how to build a mini solar panel car…

    Want to find out if this thing works before you read all this? Read 6 months in the Greenhouse.There [...]…

    Trackback | October 4, 2009
  • [...] the explanations HERE to make your own for cheap and a saturday afternoon. Share/Save 0 [...]

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  • H P Beals

    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

    Comment | October 19, 2009
  • Rosemarie

    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.
    Thanks

    Comment | October 23, 2009
  • Bobby D. R. I.

    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 ;)

    Comment | October 25, 2009
  • 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.

    Comment | November 4, 2009
  • [...] reading about the $50 greenhouse I quickly decided I needed to make one of my own. The summer season was winding down and I knew I [...]

    Pingback | November 6, 2009
  • Connie

    Hi David,

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

    Connie

    Comment | November 29, 2009
  • David LaFerney

    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.

    Comment | November 29, 2009
  • Great post. Really interesting tips to build a greenhouse on the cheap. Normally, it costs a considerable amount to buy a readymade greenhouse.

    Comment | December 4, 2009
  • 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.

    Comment | December 8, 2009
  • [...] and getting back into the garden, perhaps an inexpensive home-built greenhouse would fit the bill. Look here to get a jump on the growing [...]

    Pingback | December 9, 2009
  • [...] can build your own personal greenhouse in your garden to help save the environment. For under $50 you can build a greenhouse that helps reduce your personal contribution to global warming. By growing your own fruit or [...]

    Pingback | December 15, 2009
  • screws can be used if you predrill holes in the plexi-glass.i have used this method on several of my projects involving plexi-glass.

    Comment | December 15, 2009
  • [...] Hoop House for $50 [...]

    Pingback | December 18, 2009
  • [...] n How to build My 50 Dollar Greenhouse [...]

    Pingback | January 4, 2010
  • 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!

    Comment | January 5, 2010
  • Kathy

    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!

    Comment | January 6, 2010
  • Deno

    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.

    Comment | January 17, 2010
  • Annie

    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! :)

    Comment | January 17, 2010
  • Michael

    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!!
    Michael

    Comment | January 18, 2010
  • David LaFerney

    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.

    Comment | January 18, 2010
  • David LaFerney

    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.

    Comment | January 18, 2010
  • Michael

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

    Comment | January 18, 2010
  • caglar

    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:

    http://agricultureguide.org/

    Comment | January 18, 2010
  • [...] that were hanging on and I definitely wanted to try something out of my comfort zone. After seeing The $50 Greenhouse, I knew I had it in my to give it a [...]

    Pingback | January 22, 2010
  • [...] a bit about grapes wanting to build their own GH or Tunnel so thought this may be of interest. How to build My 50 Dollar Greenhouse The Door Garden __________________ What a man needs in gardening is a cast-iron back, with a hinge in it. [...]

    Pingback | January 28, 2010
  • Thank you so much for this. This will be our project this year. I need fresh veggies in the winter!

    Comment | January 28, 2010
  • jonathan

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

    Comment | January 29, 2010
  • David LaFerney

    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.

    Comment | January 29, 2010
  • Andy Holtkamp

    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.

    Comment | January 29, 2010
  • Toni

    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.

    Comment | January 31, 2010
  • David LaFerney

    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.

    Comment | January 31, 2010
  • 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 :)

    Comment | February 1, 2010
  • Joy

    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?

    Comment | February 9, 2010
  • Joyoy

    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.

    Comment | February 9, 2010
  • David LaFerney

    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.

    Comment | February 9, 2010
  • 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!

    Comment | February 17, 2010
  • [...] Kevin, and I built this 12×8’ hoophouse in my yard last weekend. We based the design on these online instructions. (Unless you’re a contractor like this guy and you have a lot of specific materials onhand, [...]

    Pingback | March 9, 2010
  • Lee

    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!

    Comment | March 17, 2010
  • Michael

    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!!

    Comment | March 17, 2010
  • 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.

    Comment | March 17, 2010
  • eugene

    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?

    Comment | March 19, 2010
  • eugene

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

    Comment | March 19, 2010
  • 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.

    Comment | March 19, 2010
  • 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.

    Comment | March 19, 2010
  • Char

    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.

    Comment | March 23, 2010
  • Steve Cope

    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.

    Regards,

    Steve Cope (Melbourne, Australia)

    Comment | March 24, 2010
  • Edward

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

    Comment | March 29, 2010
  • 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

    Comment | March 29, 2010
  • tom carsley

    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

    Comment | April 3, 2010
  • all truths are half truths

    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

    Comment | April 6, 2010
  • [...] students completed the front and back of the hoop house. Our design for the green house came from The Garden Door. In these pictures Tiffany Tesar, Alex Moore, and Richard Munoz finish off putting visqueen on the [...]

    Pingback | April 6, 2010
  • Pat Richardson

    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?

    Comment | April 7, 2010
  • David LaFerney

    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.

    Comment | April 9, 2010
  • Ronnie

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

    Comment | April 9, 2010
  • Denise from ARk

    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

    Comment | April 14, 2010
  • Denise from ARk

    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.

    Comment | April 14, 2010
  • Edward de Bruin

    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.
    Edward

    Comment | April 18, 2010
  • Considerably, the article is really the freshest on this notable topic. I concur with your conclusions and will certainly thirstily look forward to your forthcoming updates. Saying thanks definitely will not simply just be enough, for the exceptional lucidity in your writing. I can quickly grab your rss feed to stay abreast of any kind of updates. Authentic work and much success in your business dealings!

    Comment | April 23, 2010
  • Susan G

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

    Comment | May 3, 2010
  • How to build A 50 Dollar Greenhouse | Disaster Plan Zulu

    [...] on May 16, 2010 by Josh from Wilderness Survival Forums by Justin Case Step By Step , http://doorgarden.com/10/50-dollar-h…se-green-house (this is what you need Rick,, let it rain :)) Categories : Suggested [...]

    Pingback | May 17, 2010
  • [...] 3. Build a greenhouse for $50 [...]

    Pingback | May 17, 2010
  • [...] kind I’m going to build yet, but they can be as easy or as complicated as you need.  I like this one, but I probably don’t have that kind of space, so I’m much more likely to go for [...]

    Pingback | June 2, 2010
  • [...] How to build My 50 Dollar Greenhouse » The Door Garden [...]

    Pingback | June 9, 2010
  • Elena

    David,

    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 :)

    Comment | June 10, 2010
  • micahel

    what size poly pipe is used for the clips

    Comment | June 11, 2010
  • lucie

    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

    Comment | July 5, 2010
  • Marty

    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.

    Comment | July 6, 2010
  • tom russell

    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

    Comment | July 9, 2010
  • tom russell

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

    Comment | July 9, 2010
  • [...] David LaFerney has made a great post on how to build a green house for $50 here http://doorgarden.com/10/50-dollar-hoop-house-green-house [...]

    Pingback | July 13, 2010
  • Nice easy to follow guide. Thanks for sharing this one. The green house seems to be pretty dang durable.

    Comment | July 17, 2010
  • DeniseinArk

    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.

    Comment | July 28, 2010
  • [...] greenhouse out of plastic and pvc pipes for 200 dollars. What's more, it can be taken down easily. http://doorgarden.com/10/50-dollar-h…se-green-house I couldn't find the 200 dollar job. This one looks good for 50 dollars. Give it a peek. [...]

    Pingback | July 30, 2010
  • Very thorough documentation – i like it :)

    Comment | July 31, 2010
  • David LaFerney

    I am ever vigilant for comment spam. Thanks.

    Comment | August 11, 2010
  • 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 http://www.greenhousebirth.blogspot.com/ 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.

    Comment | August 11, 2010
  • Do it yourself and thrift are two great forgotten american values…I will be making one of these int he spring.

    Comment | August 16, 2010
  • [...] somewhere in climate zone 6, and I’m currently working on a greenhouse in accordance to these plans. I am already growing several varieties of plants outdoors, which you can see under plants. [...]

    Pingback | September 2, 2010
  • lmmoore333

    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!!!

    Comment | September 7, 2010
  • thinayr

    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…

    Comment | September 12, 2010
  • David LaFerney

    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.

    Comment | September 13, 2010
  • [...] Maine and if he can grow things year round there, I, WE can do it here in NY.  Last fall I put a hoop house over my garden for about $150 bucks and the colossal effort of my brother Michael. I had Brussels [...]

    Pingback | September 15, 2010
  • [...] David LaFerney has made a great post on how to build a green house for $50 here http://doorgarden.com/10/50-dollar-hoop-house-green-house [...]

    Pingback | September 16, 2010
  • kim

    What a great site! Fabulous. Thanks! Kim

    Comment | September 18, 2010
  • [...] a research on the web and one of the better DIY articles on how to build your own greenhouse is at DoorGarden.com. The author describes a method of making a full-size greenhouse for about $50 in materials, not [...]

    Pingback | September 20, 2010
  • 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.

    Comment | September 22, 2010
  • kaevin lee

    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.
    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

    Kaevin Lee
    Richmond Va

    Comment | September 25, 2010
  • 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!

    Comment | October 13, 2010
  • Shain

    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.

    Comment | October 17, 2010
  • 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.

    Comment | November 13, 2010
  • Cheri

    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.

    Comment | November 23, 2010
  • 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.

    Comment | December 9, 2010
  • Kai

    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 ;)

    Comment | January 5, 2011
  • 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?

    Comment | January 13, 2011
  • David LaFerney

    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.

    Comment | January 14, 2011
  • Rob

    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.

    Comment | January 16, 2011
  • Rob

    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.

    Comment | January 16, 2011
  • Bridgette

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

    Comment | January 29, 2011
  • [...] http://www.doorgarden.com as a spectacular explanation easy Green House building and design that was featured in Birds and Blooms Magazine! This entry was posted on Monday, February 7th, 2011 at 3:22 pm. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. [...]

    Pingback | February 8, 2011
  • 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

    Comment | February 21, 2011
  • Rob

    Update: I went to Lowes and found that 3/4 inch pvc can be gotten for $1.34 per ten foot section. Quite a cost reduction from what I was paying. That is actually almost 1/5 of the cost. When you price PVC be sure to shop around.

    Comment | February 21, 2011
  • [...] [...]

    Pingback | March 2, 2011
  • ben

    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.

    Comment | March 4, 2011
  • Rob

    Update: You can see some of my design elements here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A53a4_zp9uI

    Comment | March 4, 2011
  • [...] clear so that my  DIY green house and new raised beds can be built. Here is a great link for the greenhouse we are planning to try (we will be making some slight modifications which I will share as we [...]

    Pingback | March 6, 2011
  • Lorraine

    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!!!!
    Lorraine

    Comment | March 11, 2011
  • [...] first turned me on to the idea of building my own greenhouse is this site. He built his “$50 greenhouse” for a little under $150 when all was accounted for, with [...]

    Pingback | March 16, 2011
  • TIM

    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 http://www.iplasticsupply.com/ i heard they have lots of pvc and plasting sheeting. wish me luck!

    Comment | March 19, 2011
  • 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

    Comment | March 20, 2011
  • linda

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

    Comment | March 23, 2011
  • [...] How to build My 50 Dollar Greenhouse [...]

    Pingback | March 28, 2011
  • 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!

    Comment | March 29, 2011
  • Lorraine

    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!

    Comment | March 29, 2011
  • Very cool, you should send me a picture when you get it done.

    Comment | March 30, 2011
  • [...] Sample: http://doorgarden.com/10/50-dollar-hoop-house-green-house     [...]

    Pingback | April 5, 2011
  • 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?

    Comment | April 6, 2011
  • David LaFerney

    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.

    Comment | April 6, 2011
  • Fern starling

    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.

    Comment | April 6, 2011
  • [...] links on making your own pvc greenhouse: $50 Greenhouse PVC Frame (not a hoop house) Small, cheap and easy greenhouse PVC Greenhouse step by [...]

    Pingback | April 9, 2011
  • This looks like a easy green house to build. Thanks for the tips.

    Comment | April 9, 2011
  • This is a great idea! And also so very cheap. But is it good, I mean my plant’s will be safe in there?

    Comment | April 10, 2011
  • Andre

    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?

    Thanks,

    Andre

    Comment | April 15, 2011
  • Lorraine

    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!

    Comment | April 18, 2011
  • Lorraine

    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!

    Comment | April 18, 2011
  • Lorraine

    I’m not sure why this came out as a duplicate – My apologies! I can’t delete the second…

    Comment | April 18, 2011
  • Cristina

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

    Comment | April 24, 2011
  • 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!

    Comment | April 28, 2011
  • 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.

    Comment | May 4, 2011
  • David LaFerney

    Please do, links are the sincerest form of flattery.

    Comment | May 4, 2011
  • David LaFerney

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

    Comment | May 4, 2011
  • David LaFerney

    As safe as they would be in any unheated tunnel style greenhouse.

    Comment | May 4, 2011
  • I create one similar but over two raised beds:
    http://bit.ly/lIeBvo

    Comment | May 4, 2011
  • 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.

    Comment | May 14, 2011
  • In fact you could use those advantages by stiffening the greenhouse frame a little more and making it mobile, If you wanted.

    Comment | May 14, 2011
  • John OKeeffe

    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!

    Comment | May 30, 2011
  • [...] 3. Build a greenhouse for $50 [...]

    Pingback | June 10, 2011
  • Robert

    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.

    Comment | June 10, 2011
  • David LaFerney

    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.

    Comment | June 10, 2011
  • Robert

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

    Comment | June 10, 2011
  • David LaFerney

    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.

    Comment | June 10, 2011
  • Robert

    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 ;) )

    Comment | June 11, 2011
  • 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

    Comment | June 21, 2011
  • I do not know but it’s nice idea to build a greenhouse at affordable price.

    Comment | July 9, 2011
  • 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!

    Comment | July 27, 2011
  • 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!

    Comment | August 9, 2011
  • chuck ward

    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.

    Comment | August 11, 2011
  • 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.

    Comment | August 22, 2011
  • Almost unbelievable that you magaged to build this wit only 50 USD!

    Comment | September 6, 2011
  • 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!

    Comment | September 28, 2011
  • I love this project!!!! I am about to start a green house of my own and this article was most helpful.
    Thank you.

    Comment | October 2, 2011
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    Pingback | October 14, 2011
  • Maria

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

    Comment | October 15, 2011
  • Kate

    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.

    Comment | October 19, 2011
  • Rose

    Most of my qustions has been awnsered.thanks

    Comment | October 19, 2011
  • chuck

    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.

    Comment | October 20, 2011
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  • David LaFerney

    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.

    Comment | November 11, 2011
  • David LaFerney

    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.

    Comment | November 11, 2011
  • David LaFerney

    You have to free-cycle.

    Comment | November 11, 2011
  • David LaFerney

    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.

    Comment | November 11, 2011
  • David LaFerney

    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.

    Comment | November 11, 2011
  • Kate

    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.

    Comment | November 11, 2011
  • 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!

    Jason

    Comment | November 13, 2011
  • 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.

    Comment | November 14, 2011
  • ronald ladd

    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

    Comment | November 14, 2011
  • David LaFerney

    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.

    Comment | November 14, 2011
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    Trackback | November 21, 2011
  • 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

    Comment | November 21, 2011
  • Bulmaro

    Thank you for the info. Most useful

    Comment | November 25, 2011
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  • jim

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

    Comment | December 7, 2011
  • 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!

    Comment | December 7, 2011
  • [...] out of 20 foot PVC pipes and thick gardening plastic.  We modified the instructions found on this website.  Even though the brightly colored duck tape does add a bit of flair to the structure, it is [...]

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

    Comment | December 29, 2011
  • dickson gray

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

    Comment | January 6, 2012
  • Francie Painter

    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!!!

    Comment | January 10, 2012
  • will

    why chep are u poor

    Comment | January 11, 2012
  • that is great, I am definitely building one. Thank you for sharing

    Comment | January 12, 2012
  • David LaFerney

    Define poor.

    Comment | January 12, 2012
  • Oshua

    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!

    Comment | January 14, 2012
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  • [...] and if anyone knows anything about me, they know I’ll do anything for a low budget. But This Will be my model, if I can scrounge enough for the supplies. Or can manage the funds. Hopefully, as [...]

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  • [...] build something really fancy, that and we tend to be homebrewers   So Marty saw this post about how to build a $50 greenhouse, and built ours with the same basic idea, but adapted it to what we wanted.  Well ours cost a bit [...]

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  • Dave

    Will – don’t be a jerk – this was very informative.

    btw love your ‘poor’ grammar skills.

    I don’t consider this poor – I consider this frugal.

    Comment | February 4, 2012
  • [...] to one frugal, DIY-er over at The Door Garden blog, you can. Dubbed a “Hoop House Greenhouse,” the structure is primarily made out of [...]

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  • James

    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 :)

    Comment | February 6, 2012
  • Joshua

    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?

    Comment | February 8, 2012
  • [...] used this website as inspiration for our own hoop house, check it out for the play by play and [...]

    Pingback | February 12, 2012
  • rick

    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

    Comment | February 15, 2012
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  • 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.

    Comment | February 25, 2012
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  • [...] 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. How to build My 50 Dollar Greenhouse » The Door Garden [...]

    Pingback | February 29, 2012
  • 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!

    Comment | March 5, 2012
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  • Wow, that is amazing! I’m guessing you’ve got a little heater in there. I’m shocked that that plastic does such a good job.

    Comment | March 20, 2012
  • Kev

    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.

    Comment | March 26, 2012
  • [...] 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 My 50 Dollar Greenhouse & The Door Garden – StumbleUpon [...]

    Pingback | March 27, 2012
  • kevin

    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

    Comment | March 29, 2012
  • Brian

    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.

    Comment | April 6, 2012
  • Oshua

    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…..

    Comment | April 6, 2012
  • David LaFerney

    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.

    Comment | April 6, 2012
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  • vicky d

    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.

    Comment | April 10, 2012
  • Kelly

    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!

    Comment | April 10, 2012
  • Kelly

    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.

    Comment | April 10, 2012
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  • Great post. My husband and I are going to try this over the weekend. Fingers crossed.

    Comment | April 11, 2012
  • Nancy

    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.

    Comment | April 14, 2012
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  • I think that now there are some tools and materials which are cheaper than those!

    Comment | April 24, 2012
  • 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!

    Comment | April 26, 2012
  • [...] How to build my $50 greenhouse (!) [...]

    Pingback | April 29, 2012
  • Weerapol Ruetrakul

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

    Comment | April 30, 2012
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  • Aaron

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

    Comment | May 3, 2012
  • I will try making this really cheap green house! It would be really useful for my business- BuyCarWashProducts.com

    Comment | May 5, 2012
  • [...] I could invest into the project so a cost effective solution was preferred. That solution was the 50 dollar greenhouse. After looking at it I drew up some ideas on the back of an envelop I had laying [...]

    Pingback | May 8, 2012
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  • cynthia

    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.

    Comment | May 17, 2012
  • Jason

    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.

    Comment | May 22, 2012
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  • [...] The Door Garden –> really detailed pictures which for a newbie like me is pretty much essential. It also has a sub-article on building the doors. At this stage I’m looking at inserting an industrial zip but it’s good to know…. [...]

    Pingback | June 9, 2012
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    Pingback | June 11, 2012
  • 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!

    Comment | June 13, 2012
  • [...] Here I didn’t venture much from the design given in the $50 Green house. [...]

    Pingback | June 15, 2012
  • Stela

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

    Comment | June 15, 2012
  • Sue

    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.

    Comment | June 26, 2012
  • [...] To Build A Greenhouse On A Budget.Greenhouse [caption id="attachment_4073" align="aligncenter" width="500"] How To Build A Greenhouse[...ic-Renovation-6.jpg" alt="How To Build A Greenhouse" width="500" height="500" /> How To Build A [...]

    Pingback | July 4, 2012
  • davidw

    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.

    Comment | July 4, 2012
  • LilyT

    I found mine at Lowe’s and Home Depot. It works great in the sun.

    Comment | July 5, 2012
  • davidw

    more detail please, what product and what price.

    Comment | July 5, 2012
  • 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.

    Comment | July 23, 2012
  • Jeff Button

    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?

    Comment | July 25, 2012
  • Dea

    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.

    Comment | July 28, 2012
  • How did you make the doors and how are they attached?

    Comment | August 1, 2012
  • jeff button

    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?

    Comment | August 2, 2012
  • Matt

    Yes, please share you watering system with us!

    Comment | August 18, 2012
  • dude

    probably 18″

    Comment | September 30, 2012
  • Chad S

    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.

    Comment | October 1, 2012
  • [...] Look them up on the web. They may allow you to grow til December in your region. Here is one a guy built for $50 (supposedly) Looks more like wood than pvc. "In the house of the wise are stores of [...]

    Pingback | October 5, 2012
  • Melissa

    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.

    Comment | October 7, 2012
  • davidw

    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

    Comment | October 7, 2012
  • davidw

    why bother the rebars if you have raised bed, it is pretty convinent to just fast PVC pipes to existing raised bed sides.

    Comment | October 7, 2012
  • 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.

    Comment | October 8, 2012
  • Nice and easy. Sure looks like a project even I can manage ;)

    Comment | October 10, 2012
  • [...] DIY Greenhouse for $50.00- If you’re willing to “recycle, freecycle and scrounge,’ like the author advises, you can build a really nice green house for around $50.00.  Lots and lots of pictures on this page, make it fairly easy to visualize how to build this one. [...]

    Pingback | October 12, 2012
  • Chris

    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.

    Comment | October 15, 2012
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  • 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.

    Comment | October 22, 2012
  • It’s amazing designed for me to have a website, which is valuable for my know-how. thanks admin

    Comment | October 25, 2012
  • 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.

    Comment | October 25, 2012
  • 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!

    Comment | October 30, 2012
  • Cap'n JUan

    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

    Comment | November 1, 2012
  • [...] you’re interested in building a greenhouse with little cost go here. (Thanks for the link Pastor Glenn Guest [...]

    Pingback | November 9, 2012
  • [...] The basic pvc hoop design we are going to use is David LaFerney’s from DoorGarden.com. He has a nice post showing his construction here. [...]

    Pingback | November 14, 2012
  • 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.

    Comment | November 15, 2012
  • 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.

    Comment | November 18, 2012
  • arsalan

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

    Comment | November 20, 2012
  • debbie

    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!

    Comment | November 24, 2012
  • [...] is fast upon us, it may be worth your time and effort to following the advice in this article: How to Build My 50 Dollar Greenhouse. The idea is very simple, use PVC and plastic sheeting to makeshift a greenhouse environment. There [...]

    Pingback | November 24, 2012
  • Dale

    David,
    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.

    Comment | November 27, 2012
  • Tiffany

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

    Comment | December 10, 2012
  • hamid

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

    Comment | December 10, 2012
  • Tim

    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.

    Comment | December 28, 2012
  • alain gallet

    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,

    Comment | January 8, 2013
  • [...] are perfect for growing your own fruits and vegetables, flowers, etc. The Door Garden blog has picture examples and instructions on how to make your [...]

    Pingback | January 10, 2013
  • Keren T

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

    Comment | January 17, 2013
  • [...] or even December, and for that you need something like a greenhouse. The difference between a hoop house, low tunnel, high tunnel and a full-on greenhouse isn’t strictly a matter of semantics; [...]

    Pingback | January 29, 2013
  • [...] structures, partially covered structures, or simply an aluminum or steel frame where the structure is encased with a grow film or tarp-like clear plastic. The downfall to a complete kit is its immovability after erection, [...]

    Pingback | February 1, 2013
  • Well done friend that’s terrific

    Comment | February 6, 2013
  • T E Church

    this was a good article, I enjoyed reading it

    Comment | February 19, 2013
  • This is an awesome how to! Really shows everything great! Will really help in my project, thanks for posting!

    Comment | February 19, 2013
  • [...] http://www.doorgarden.com/10/50-dollar-hoop-house-green-house [...]

    Pingback | February 19, 2013
  • keryn coulter

    Love it . Thank you.

    Comment | February 21, 2013
  • [...] Door Garden: DIY $50 Green House [...]

    Pingback | February 22, 2013
  • dee

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

    Comment | February 24, 2013
  • 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

    Comment | March 5, 2013
  • [...] 4. The Door Garden’s Free Low-Cost Greenhouse Plan [...]

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  • [...] The Door Garden: How to Build my 50 Dollar Greenhouse (link) [...]

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  • [...] green houses are built above the ground; however more comprehensive solutions require a permanent foundation. [...]

    Pingback | April 18, 2013
  • [...] a $50 greenhouse (this is assuming you already have a lot of parts on hand)  You can see that post here  Our greenhouse is smaller than the one on the website but it is all that we will need (about [...]

    Pingback | April 26, 2013
  • Sue

    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.

    Comment | April 30, 2013
  • Lisa

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

    Comment | May 3, 2013
  • Lisa,
    the gray PVC is in the electrical department of home depot. dont know the price of it.

    Comment | May 4, 2013
  • 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.

    Comment | May 5, 2013
  • Sergio

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

    Comment | May 10, 2013
  • 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.

    Comment | May 12, 2013
  • Tim Anderson

    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.

    Comment | May 12, 2013
  • oldguybob

    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?

    Bob

    Comment | May 15, 2013
  • Terry

    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.

    Comment | May 16, 2013
  • 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.

    Comment | May 27, 2013
  • 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?

    Comment | May 29, 2013
  • Ron M.

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

    Comment | June 3, 2013
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  • mel

    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.

    Comment | June 5, 2013
  • Elva

    I WONDER IF THIS WOULD WORK IN WA. STATE ?

    Comment | June 6, 2013
  • Ken

    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!

    Comment | June 18, 2013
  • Joey

    Absolutely. Just finished making an 8×8 using 7.5 ft pvc pipe pieces joing two per rib. Making the total roof space of 8×15 I could email u the pics if u like jsph_lewis22@msn.com

    Comment | June 19, 2013
  • Mike

    Do you have pics?

    Comment | June 25, 2013
  • Bill

    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?

    Comment | June 28, 2013
  • Sam

    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.
    y=sqrt(64-x^2)
    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!

    Comment | June 29, 2013
  • John Traise

    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.

    Comment | July 3, 2013
  • Cherie

    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?

    Comment | July 7, 2013
  • tbdean

    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.

    Comment | July 13, 2013
  • Ken

    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.

    Comment | July 19, 2013
  • Joelle

    So, if I am using the gray PVC, I would not need to use the latex paint they were talking about?

    Comment | July 21, 2013
  • Joelle

    HI, Do you have plans that you could send me?

    Comment | July 21, 2013
  • Dragon

    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

    Comment | July 21, 2013
  • Ken

    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!

    Comment | July 27, 2013
  • Ken

    That’s 35 ft of 1/4 in. tubing for my 12 ft. x 16 ft. greenhouse.

    Comment | July 27, 2013
  • SusiQ

    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?

    Comment | July 31, 2013
  • [...] More Details Here [...]

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  • Jared Hodgkins

    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!

    Comment | August 16, 2013
  • […] a greenhouse can also be an affordable and easy project for those with a little DIY know-how. The Door Garden has an simple step-by-step guide on how to build a basic hoop-style greenhouse for around $50. […]

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  • SD Farmer

    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 squirrelrepellent.net. You choose.

    Comment | August 25, 2013
  • […] a greenhouse can also be an affordable and easy project for those with a little DIY know-how. The Door Garden has an simple step-by-step guide on how to build a basic hoop-style greenhouse for around $50. […]

    Pingback | August 28, 2013
  • Ken

    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!

    Comment | August 29, 2013
  • J. Mickelson

    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.

    Comment | September 2, 2013
  • gina

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

    Comment | September 3, 2013
  • 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!!

    Comment | September 20, 2013
  • lejandro

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

    Comment | September 20, 2013
  • 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!

    Comment | September 26, 2013
  • 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 ties..works great..and is easily removable for weeding or just to get more sun when temps finally arent blazing base is cinderblock..so it all holds together great

    Comment | September 29, 2013
  • […] DIY $50 Greenhouse […]

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  • Tom Bergstrand

    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?

    Comment | September 30, 2013
  • Jen

    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…

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-10-ft-x-25-ft-Clear-6-mil-Polyethylene-Sheeting-RSHK610-25C-U/100651801#.Ukmo5yiMSgo

    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.

    Comment | September 30, 2013
  • […] the full tutorial on the DoorGarden […]

    Pingback | October 3, 2013
  • 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!

    Comment | October 5, 2013
  • Mike

    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

    Comment | October 10, 2013
  • Angela

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

    Comment | October 23, 2013
  • […] Source […]

    Pingback | October 29, 2013
  • Norm

    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.

    Comment | November 4, 2013
  • Norm

    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!

    Comment | November 4, 2013
  • Norm

    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?

    Comment | November 5, 2013
  • […] Source: […]

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  • Idnar W

    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.

    Comment | November 5, 2013
  • Jailine

    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 jailinehernandez1@gmail.com
    thank you!

    Comment | November 15, 2013
  • Beverly

    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.

    Comment | November 18, 2013
  • Beverly

    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.

    Comment | November 18, 2013
  • Whatever way you are adopting for making your green house. Do it with a good ventilation in it.

    Comment | November 30, 2013
  • Nice green house. i was looking around the web for the same project and finally found one. thank you.

    Comment | December 5, 2013
  • susan

    I LOVE YOUR IDEA. I HAVE A STORE BOUGHT GREENHOUSE NOW AND THE COVER LASTED ME ONE YEAR (OF COURSE THE WARRANTY EXPIRED) AND ROTTED. THE QUESTION I HAVE FOR YOU IS THERE SEEMS TO BE A LOT OF WASTED SPACE ABOVE THE BEDS. I USE SHELVES AND STACK THEM TO GIVE ME THE MOST ROOM FOR EARLY SUMMER FLOWERS. ANY IDEAS I CAN USE TO HAVE THE BEDS FOR FALL PLANTING AND STILL USE THE ROOM ABOVE THE BEDS FOR SPRING AND SUMMER? THANKS SUSAN

    Comment | December 28, 2013
  • Staci

    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!

    Comment | January 1, 2014
  • […] How to build My 50 Dollar Greenhouse » The Door Garden. […]

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  • Mark Barnett

    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.

    Comment | January 3, 2014
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  • Jen

    Omgosh you are brilliant!! Thank you I knew their had to be a cost effective remedie..

    Comment | January 13, 2014
  • gary sorichetti

    how do I get a kit and how much??

    Comment | January 14, 2014
  • Greenie

    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.

    Comment | January 16, 2014
  • Denise Pothier

    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.

    Comment | January 18, 2014
  • Love it! May I share this with readers of my forum? I promise to give credit where it is due, and to leave all links intact.

    Comment | January 18, 2014
  • Pauline

    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

    Comment | January 18, 2014
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  • I think I can get the material ant the rehab store.

    Comment | January 21, 2014
  • Sarah

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

    Comment | January 23, 2014
  • vickie

    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 .

    Comment | January 24, 2014
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  • […] Construction Steps […]

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  • Phyllis

    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.

    Comment | February 3, 2014
  • Jinny

    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

    Comment | February 4, 2014
  • Gary Kimes

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

    Use chicken wire & plastic.

    Comment | February 9, 2014
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  • Thank you for giving such detail. I love this so much. Thanks!!!

    Comment | February 14, 2014
  • Eva

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

    Comment | February 16, 2014
  • […] How To Build Your Own Greenhouse For $50 […]

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  • […] How to Build a 50 Dollar Greenhouse […]

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  • Grace

    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.

    Comment | February 27, 2014
  • 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 http://www.lialfarms.com where I also have it posted. thanks

    Comment | March 3, 2014
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  • 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.

    Comment | March 10, 2014
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  • Very good write-up. I certainly love this website.
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    Comment | March 16, 2014
  • Paula

    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 ?

    Comment | March 17, 2014
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  • beck

    could you send pictures? I am in north Idaho (CDA) also

    Comment | March 21, 2014
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  • Cecilie

    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,

    Cecilie

    Comment | April 1, 2014
  • John Tucker

    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″

    Comment | April 1, 2014
  • […] [ Door Garden […]

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  • Gee

    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.

    Comment | April 5, 2014
  • Karen

    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 …..

    Comment | April 6, 2014
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    Comment | April 6, 2014
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  • Deborah Brown

    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

    Comment | April 14, 2014
  • Great project – thanks for detailing. Very inspiring and informative.
    Thanks for sharing

    Comment | April 20, 2014
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  • donna

    wouldn’t the plastic out gas toxic chemicals???

    Comment | April 23, 2014
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