A DIY greenhouses can extend your growing season, allow you to propagate plants from your yard, and let you grow tender or delicate plants you might not otherwise be able to grow. I’ve seen lettuce and spinach grow in a greenhouse when there was a foot of snow on the ground. An old gardening friend of mine would use her greenhouse to pot up all her volunteer seedlings from her yard, grow them in four inch pots in her DIY greenhouse, then have a plant sale to raise money for her charity. Any way you look at it, if you’re a serious gardener, you would love to get your hands on a greenhouse. So how do we solve problems at TGG? We DIY – greenhouse projects, of course!
How to Build a Greenhouse
We found you some great DIY greenhouse projects and plans that range from a temporary cold frame, all the way to a full size backyard greenhouse! Before you pick out a project, read over our “getting started” tips to help you choose, site and start your DIY greenhouse.
Planning a Greenhouse
- Position your greenhouse running lengthwise east to west. This will give it the longest stretch of daylight each day.
- Make sure your greenhouse will get at least 6 hours of sun in the winter.
- Remember, if you plan on having electricity in your greenhouse, site it close enough to your source.
- Try to position it away from kids play areas.
- Make sure your DIY greenhouse has a working thermometer. You will need to pay attention to temperature unless your system has automatic venting. In the winter, the minimum inside temp should remain between 45-60 degrees for active growing. A sunny winter day can quickly heat up the interior of a greenhouse, even if its freezing outside. Be sure to open vents and allow cool air to enter when the temps rise too much.
DIY Greenhouse Projects
Oh, My, Amazing! Obsessed with this DIY greenhouse made from old windows! This is from Stephanie at ‘Garden Therapy‘. Forget the old way of making homemade greenhouses with plastic sheets over PVC, this is a full sized greenhouse that is so nice! I mean, wouldn’t you be proud to have this in your yard?
Love, love, LOVE this window DIY greenhouse. This one is a cannot miss! This is from ‘Liz Marie Blog‘, and is fantastic. I mean, magical, right? Made from old windows, I would possibly never leave this pretty greenhouse. Like, ever. While there isn’t a full tutorial for this full size greenhouse (you could make it based on the previous tutorial!) be sure to scroll to the bottom of her post. Liz Marie has a mini version of this project, complete with a tutorial!
A husband and wife teamed together to build a greenhouse made from vintage windows, and oh my. This is like gardening church! Do you see that stained glass accent! Check out their project at ‘Hometalk‘! If you love this project as much as I do, you may want to jump over real quick and check out our post on DIY She Sheds too!
Here is a mini window DIY greenhouse by ‘Crafts Ala Mode‘. They simply screwed together old windows, and made this incredibly charming homemade greenhouse! Short tutorial walks you through it.
Love this DIY greenhouse from windows made by the folks at ‘Black & Decker‘. Full tutorial for this project, so start hunting for old windows!
Melissa at ‘Empress of Dirt‘ has a full tutorial and a video on her lean to DIY greenhouse. This is the perfect way to take advantage of wasted space, and add on a whole extra growing season. You have to click through and see the inside too!
This homemade greenhouse was made by ‘Modern Builds’ via ‘Ryobi Nation‘. They built this with just 2×4’s and polycarbonate panels. You can customize this plan to the size greenhouse you need, too. They even have a how to video.
From ‘Handyman Magazine‘, this DIY greenhouse looks so professional, we originally thought it was for sale! Follow along with their tutorial on how to build this for yourself, including instructions on adding an optional vent. Another with a how to video to make sure you build it right.
Want to save the earth? ‘Reap Scotland‘ has free plans on how to make a plastic bottle DIY greenhouse. What a great idea and re-use of materials! Update: A lot of people have asked about the instructions for the plastic bottle greenhouse…Our original source for this project no longer had the instructions, but we found a similar PDF tutorial for you at ‘Reap Scotland’, above. Enjoy!
Here’s another soda bottle DIY greenhouse for inspiration, photo by John Rutherford.
Ok, let’s get serious. ‘Ana White‘ made her own barn style DIY greenhouse from her plans, and it is incredible! All her DIY plans are amazing, but with all the step by step photos, I really feel like I could make this. Now picture this filled with greenery and flowers!
No, this isn’t 1982. This geodome greenhouse is perfect for areas with high winds and heavy snows. ‘Northern Homestead‘ made this easy for the rest of us, because they did all the hard work. They even included a link to an online calculator to help figure out the mathematics of the dome!
DIY Mini Greenhouse Solutions
Need a quick and inexpensive idea for protecting plants already in the ground? 2-Liter soda bottles and some ingenuity create DIY mini greenhouses. From ‘My Brown Thumb‘.
Another take on this mini DIY greenhouse idea, using the plastic bottles within pots. This garden cloche idea is from ‘This Old House‘. Simply cut off the bottom of the plastic bottle, and slip over the plant in the pot. Remove the top when you need to vent the plant.
Planting seedlings? This is a genius mini greenhouse idea from ‘Garden Therapy‘. You might even be able to find cheap umbrellas at the dollar store. Just make sure they are clear to allow in light! Remove the handle, then insert into the container, or straight into the ground to protect seedlings or tender plants.
DIY Cold Frames
If you don’t want to build a full sized greenhouse, or you don’t have room for one, consider a DIY cold frame. They do the exact same thing as a greenhouse on a smaller scale. And, they can be portable too!
‘Sunset’ Magazine‘ teaches us the basics of how to build a cold frame.
‘Fine Gardening‘ has an audio slideshow taking you through all the steps to build a cold frame yourself. Plus, this really handy schematic showing measurements and materials.
DIY Greenhouse Kits
Ok, so suppose you don’t know if you want to take on the project of a DIY greenhouse, but you don’t want to pay a contractor to do it either. (Don’t blame you, that could costs thousands!) There is another option. DIY greenhouse kits. We found several options for you at several different price points. You still build these greenhouses yourself, but all the materials get shipped right to you with full instructions. We like the “Freeport Park 8×6 Polycarbonate Greenhouse“. It’s the perfect size for home gardens. And, it’s free shipping! This one has tons of great reviews, and it’s pretty, too! The polycarbonate panels look like glass!
The Mt Hood Greenhouse is pretty much the dream for us… It looks idyllic, yet has all the features a serious gardener needs. Redwood frame designed to stand 100 mile per hour winds, twin wall polycarbonate walls and roof, two vents, prefer angling of the roof to catch the most optimal sun… the list goes on. It is an investment, but one I know every one who loves their garden dreams of making. Maybe now is the time?
We had to include the Colonial Gable Greenhouse. Made with Amish craftsmanship, this greenhouse could be a she shed, a guest room, or yes, the most amazing greenhouse ever! Everything is precut and pre marked for you, you just have to put it together. The walls are in paneled sections, and all the glass is safety glass. This would be an amazing permanent addition to your homes’ value as well. Did we mention, free shipping for everything?
Greenhouse Kits Under $100
I used to use these tiered portable greenhouses to get my seeds and cuttings going every spring… You can even pick it up and move it indoors on a windy day! This 4 tier Growing Rack has enough space to start dozens of plants, is less than $70 and is free shipping! Great reviews too!
Finally, this 3×3 Foot Cold Frame Greenhouse has adjustable ventilation, and can even be put in place right over existing plants to protect them from late frosts, pests or deer.
If you loved our post on DIY Greenhouse Projects, then you won’t want to miss our post on How to Build a She Shed or 13 Indoor Vertical Garden Planter Ideas on our sister site OhMeOhMy! And don’t forget, if you Pin your favorites for later, you won’t lose them for when you are ready to do the projects! And don’t forget to join our Home & Garden DIY Facebook group and our Pinterest page so you see right away when we post new ideas and advice!
Note: This post has been updated with fresh projects.
Image Credits: Handyman Magazine, Garden Therapy, Liz Marie, Hometalk, Crafts Ala Mode, Black & Decker, Empress of Dirt, Ryobi Nation, Ana White, Flickr, Ana White, Northern Homestead, Brown Thumb, This Old House, Garden Therapy, Sunset, Fine Gardening