Greenhouse Plans • Insteading (2024)

A greenhouse is one of the most well-known garden structures. Providing shielding from extreme sun, wind, and rain — greenhouses can significantly extend your growing season.

These sunny buildings come in a variety of shapes and sizes too. Heated glass greenhouses can fight against snow and cold in severe climates. Plastic sheeting can help create an impromptu structure to save a raised bed from unexpected frosts. Paneled greenhouses can help maximize or minimize UV rays depending on the material.

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Whether looking for lean-to DIY greenhouse plans or a larger farm-scale design, there’s a greenhouse option for just about everyone. Check out some of our greenhouse plans, designs, and styles to help you build a greenhouse of your own.

Glass Greenhouse Plans

Glass greenhouses were the only choice prior to 1950, and are still popular today. Glass offers a more permanent and weather-resistant structure, as well as lower relative humidity and less disease.

Solar Garden Conservatory

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Like a gothic mansion, this conservatory style greenhouse presents an imposing presence. Recommended for the serious grower, these intricately-designed windows add class and elegance to any plant home.

Glass Lean-to Greenhouse

The BuildEazy crew offer both free and $5 plans. This favorite stand alone lean-to design is accompanied by a how-to video.

Glass Greenhouse Video

Ever watched a glass greenhouse being built? This video from YouTube user Torbjorn Ahman shows the steps from start to finish.

Rising Phoenix Sunroom

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For those who prefer to keep their plants a little closer, these impressive sunroom plans marry the indoors and out. This model is designed to take advantage of 180-degree views.

Extension Sunroom

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If the Rising Phoenix is a little too large, this smaller house extension may be for you. At 120 square feet, this smaller sunroom still has room for plenty of plants no matter what the season.

Upcycled Greenhouse Plans

Upcycling saves both building and environmental costs for any project. Insteading already has dozens of ideas on making greenhouses out of old windows and doors. Here are some additional upcycling ideas to get you thinking.

Railroad Tie Mini Greenhouse

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This tiny greenhouse is both easy and inexpensive. Doubling as a raised bed, this planter is filled with topsoil and manure, then covered in plastic sheeting over the wooden frame.

Mobile Home Greenhouse Conversion

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This project takes significant work, but the payoff is a truly unique (and portable) greenhouse. Utilizing an old house trailer that would have otherwise gone to waste, this upcycling project discusses many details including material sourcing and choice, building codes, and thinking outside the box for your homesteading projects.

Hay Bale Cold Frame

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Using upcycled and biodegradable hay bales, this cold frame incorporates clear plastic or recycled windows. Easily customizable in size, but not recommended for snow.

Discover more ideas for Straw Bale Greenhouses on Insteading.

Plastic Bottle Greenhouse

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Whether it’s bottled water or carbonated corn syrup, Americans go through a lot of plastic drink bottles. Save these from the landfill with these impressive greenhouse designs.

Discover more on larger plastic bottle structures: Plastic Bottle Homes and Greenhouses. For larger buildings, check out this Plastic Bottle School.

DIY Greenhouse Kits

Building a greenhouse can be a time and weather dependent project. If you aren’t able to start from scratch, you can still find many effective and affordable greenhouse kits to meet your planting needs. Check out some of our favorites.

Editor’s Note: Greenhouses made from lightweight materials like aluminum or plastic can blow away in bad storms. Have an anchoring plan in place before you build. Choose an anchoring setup based on your greenhouse type.

Jamaica Cottage Shop Greenhouse

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With five windows and a charming cottage design, this greenhouse is both functional and a decorative backyard staple. This kit is also available in plans if you want to build it from scratch.

Large Clear Greenhouse Kit

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A powder-coated aluminum frame and polycarbonate Snapglass make this kit lightweight and impact-resistant — especially for its size.

Mini Lean-to Greenhouse Kit

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For those short on space, this mini lean-to combines the convenience of a raised bed with an extended greenhouse growing season.

Walk-in Greenhouse

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This walk-in greenhouse structure is meant as a temporary covering to protect your crop from pests and extreme weather. A quick and easy seasonal fix for strawberries, this isn’t intended to protect orchids in winter.

4 Tier Mini Greenhouse

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A patio favorite, this tiny greenhouse is for gardeners on a budget. The shelves are easy to assemble and the protective plastic film zips everything together.

UV Hot House Tent

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This hot house grow tent provides 12 shelves and ample space for all but the most serious gardener. A simple solution for mild climates.

Patio-sized Greenhouse Kit

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At 10×20 feet, this walk-in greenhouse is so big it has added windows. If you are looking for a larger kit, this greenhouse is for you.

Portable Backyard Greenhouse

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A nice idea for harder to reach growing spaces, this pop-up kit has zippers, windows, and UV protection as well as six different vents for air circulation.

Corrugated Polycarbonate Greenhouse

Polycarbonate is an extremely durable plastic, in fact, you may have heard of it when purchasing impact-resistant safety glasses. Greenhouse experts like Grower’s Supply recommend this material for both its durability and its eco-friendly impact.

Polycarbonate panels are recyclable. They come in multiple colors and strengths, with a UV resistant clear panel being most common in greenhouses.

Currently, polycarbonate is super long-lasting, but not recyclable. We hope that as technology advances, new plastic treatments will help create additional environmentally-friendly opportunities.

Too often, plastic greenhouses are used in a very non-eco-friendly way—people put them up, find they aren’t durable enough, and end up chucking pounds of plastic into a landfill.

If you go with plastic, find something durable. If you really do want something temporary—say, just a cover to protect against frost—look for recyclable sheeting to reduce waste upon tear down.

Barn Greenhouse Plans

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Taking advantage of the versatility of corrugated panels, these greenhouse plans use both metal and polycarbonate panels.

Sunken Greenhouse Video Series

This video series features multiple videos showing every step of this greenhouse build. The sunken technique for greenhouse walls offers thermal insulation with plenty of roof space covered in polycarbonate sheeting. The project is also designed for high wind areas.

Portable Polycarbonate Greenhouse Plans

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Robin Builders provides examples of portable pre-assembled greenhouses. These sturdy frames can be moved to multiple different foundations.

Installing Corrugated Panels

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If you’re creating your own polycarbonate greenhouse, you’ll need to find an exact fit with plans. When it comes time to attach the panels to the frame, this article by the Natural Handyman can come in—well, handy.

Plastic Panel Greenhouses

Looking more like the corrugated plastic or a cardboard box, this plastic is more durable than polyethylene filmbut more flexible than corrugated polycarbonate. It can be used in many of the same plans as other plasticsbut is often used to keep out excessive heat.

Solexx Greenhouse Coverings

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Solexx is a well-known brand of polyethylene greenhouse sheeting. The translucent covering offers more even heating and protection against excessive sun not found in other clear greenhouse coverings.

Solex Lean-to Greenhouse

This Lean-to Features Solexx sheeting is described as maintenance-free. While there is a significant amount of project prep, this design is built to last for many years.

Primalite Greenhouse Sheeting

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Primalite is the exclusive product of Polygal, offering a UV-resistant clear sheeting recommended for sheds and skylights.

Plastic Sheeting Greenhouse Plans

Polyethylene refers to the plastic sheeting that is used for multiple construction applications, including greenhouses. The plastic is highly weather- and chemical- resistant. This is a lightweight option for hoop or wooden frame greenhouses. The plastic is not biodegradablebut can be recycled.

Geodome Greenhouse

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Made from a sturdy wood frame and lightweight plastic sheeting, this greenhouse is both economical and visually stunning.

Garden Bed-Sized Greenhouse

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In true DIY fashion, this project helps you design mini-greenhouses to meet your specific garden bed needs. These quick and inexpensive projects look easy to change from year to year.

PVC Hoop Greenhouse

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These hoop style greenhouse plans can be easily expanded. PVC is used for its flexibility and ease of assembly, although certain types of bamboo are flexible and fast-growing wicker might be an idea to substitute a more eco-friendly setup.

Curved Cedar Cloche

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Using conifer branches from your backyard, these simple wood and plastic garden cloches will help protect your crops from colder weather.

Greenhouse Plans • Insteading (2024)


What is the most inexpensive way to build a greenhouse? ›

The most inexpensive way to build a greenhouse is to purchase a standard greenhouse-building kit from a hardware store. Where is the best place to put a greenhouse?

Is it cheaper to build or buy a greenhouse? ›

If you purchase a standard greenhouse kit with no frills, it will likely cost less than it would to build a greenhouse from scratch. However, if you want a customized large greenhouse, it will be more cost effective to build it yourself.

What is the best layout for a greenhouse? ›

Greenhouses with a single aisle down the center are typically 8, 10 or 12 feet wide. 10 ft. widths offer the most efficient utilization of bench space because you can put 3 ft. wide benches on both sides and have a 3-4 ft, wide aisle with room for plant to overgrow the benches.

What is the most energy efficient greenhouse design? ›

Wood makes a more energy efficient greenhouse because it is 1400 times more energy efficient than aluminum. In cold dry climates, ice can actually form on the inside framework of an aluminum greenhouse.

What is a cheaper alternative to a greenhouse? ›

Summer houses, sheds and outbuildings with lots of windows and natural light are sturdy and inexpensive options for a greenhouse. Try swapping wood panels for extra large windows or a glazed front half with cost-effective greenhouse glazing.

How much does a 100 square foot greenhouse cost? ›

Greenhouse Cost per Square Foot
Size of Greenhouse per Square FootCost Range (Installed)Average Cost (Installed)
100 Square Feet$500 – $3,500$2,000
250 Square Feet$1,250 – $8,750$5,000
500 Square Feet$2,500 – $17,500$10,000
750 Square Feet$3,750 – $26,250$15,000
2 more rows

What is the most expensive part of a greenhouse? ›

The covering material of the greenhouse, also known as glazing, is usually the most expensive component of the structure. It is also one of the most important because the glazing is what allows the entry of light and heat into the greenhouse.

Is an unheated greenhouse worth it? ›

An unheated greenhouse can be used to grow greens during winter, start warm season annuals, propagate landscape perennials, and shelter frost-tender plants through the winter chill. Besides greens like spinach and lettuce, you can grow cold tolerant veggies such as cabbage and broccoli in your unheated greenhouse.

What is the least desirable location for a greenhouse? ›

The north side is the last resort and the least optimal site for a greenhouse. Try to situate the greenhouse lengthwise from north to south rather than east to west. This position provides the structure with more light and less shade.

Should a greenhouse have a solid floor? ›

If your primary reason for having a greenhouse is to create a cosy garden space with a few decorative plants and a fireplace, choosing a floor with a solid surface is the obvious choice. Having a solid floor in the greenhouse does not necessarily mean sacrificing the option of cultivating many plants.

What is the most efficient shape for a greenhouse? ›

Gothic-shaped greenhouse [4] . In temperate climates, the Gothic-shaped cover is more energy-efficient compared to gabled and semicylindrical covers [23]. ... Greenhouses are instrumental in the advancement of regions globally.

What is the perfect greenhouse model? ›

The idealized greenhouse model is based on the fact that certain gases in the Earth's atmosphere, including carbon dioxide and water vapour, are transparent to the high-frequency solar radiation, but are much more opaque to the lower frequency infrared radiation leaving Earth's surface.

What is the best structure for a greenhouse? ›

A concrete slab base is the most durable foundation for a greenhouse. It does require planning and labour ahead of time, but once it's complete, you can forget about logistics and focus on growing your food.

Which is better a white or green greenhouse? ›

Diffused light spreads sunlight more evenly throughout the greenhouse. Using a translucent or white greenhouse cover ensures that light spreads evenly from the top of the plant all the way down to the bottom.

Are cheap greenhouses worth it? ›

The only real difference between the cheaper greenhouses and the more expensive ones is the material they're made out of, and the beauty of them. They all still capture sunlight and create a warmer, moister environment for the plants inside. The bonus of a larger, pricier greenhouse is better materials.

What is the easiest foundation for a greenhouse? ›

Soil or Earth Base

If your soil is firm and well compacted, the cheapest and simplest option is to concrete in the four metal posts at the corners of the frame (verifying that everything is levelled before the concrete sets). You might need to secure the structure in place while the concrete dries up.

Can you build a greenhouse without a foundation? ›

Basically, attached greenhouses require frost free footers that will not shift or move. As the ground freezes and thaws, structures without the proper foundation could move or sag. If you plan on building an attached greenhouse, you should also plan on a more extensive foundation.

How do you heat a greenhouse cheaply? ›

For greenhouse applications, a gardener will need a heater that will heat the air within the greenhouse. The best inexpensive 120V heaters for greenhouses are the oil-filled radiator-style heaters. If placed near a fan, these small heaters can adequately heat some small hobby greenhouses during the winter months.


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