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 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.

Is it cheaper to build a greenhouse or buy one? ›

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 most inexpensive way to build a greenhouse? ›

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to build your own greenhouse is to use plastic sheeting, which is readily available at most hardware stores. Typically, you will want sheeting that is four or six mils thick. First, you will need to construct a frame to attach the plastic sheeting to.

How much does a 10000 square foot greenhouse cost? ›

A standard commercial greenhouse measuring 10,000 square feet will cost around $150,000 to $350,000. Location, climate, and other additional features such as automation systems, shading systems, heating, and cooling systems, and irrigation systems can also impact the cost.

Should a greenhouse have a solid floor? ›

By far the most practical and durable foundation for any greenhouse is a solid concrete base. A good option for large greenhouses and can be set above ground level quite easily.

What are the three common layouts in a greenhouse? ›

For example, the three basic greenhouse design types are attached (lean-to), freestanding (even-span) and connected (sawtooth).

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.

What is the easiest greenhouse to build? ›

Arched PVC Greenhouse

This is a great starter greenhouse if you're just starting to experiment with growing in a greenhouse. PVC pipes are also pretty affordable and using them is a budget-friendly way to build a greenhouse.

Are there any disadvantages to a greenhouse? ›

Cons of Greenhouses

For many businesses, these costs may be well worth absorbing; hobby gardeners should remember that they can extend their growing season without buying the most expensive greenhouse on the market. Another disadvantage to greenhouses is that they tend to need more maintenance than outdoor gardens.

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

How can I heat my greenhouse for free in winter? ›

How to heat a greenhouse in winter for free
  1. Compost pile: nature's heater. ...
  2. Soil insulation: Earth's warm embrace. ...
  3. Small animals: furry little furnaces. ...
  4. Hot water: liquid sunlight. ...
  5. Candle-pot heater: radiant simplicity. ...
  6. Wood fire: nature's traditional warmth. ...
  7. Plant covers: protective warmth blankets.
Sep 20, 2023

Are greenhouse kits worth it? ›

Greenhouses can greatly extend your local growing season, and if they are well-constructed, they can provide a sheltered place for your plants to safely grow without you having to worry about pests, deer, moles, and other critters. You can grow a salsa garden in the winter season or grow beetroots in the summer.

How much does a 50 ft greenhouse cost? ›

Average greenhouse costs by size
Greenhouse size (square feet)Average cost installed
50$250 – $1,500
100$500 – $3,000
250$1,300 – $7,500
500$2,500 – $15,000
6 more rows
Sep 11, 2023

How big of a greenhouse do I need to be self sufficient? ›

Around 400 sq ft (20' x 20') is what we would recommend to eliminate the need for the grocery store.

How big is a 1 acre greenhouse? ›

An acre is 43,560 square feet.

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 be in the sun or shade? ›

Placement. The best spot to place a greenhouse is the sunniest spot. It's important that the structure (and therefore the plants within it) receive at least six hours of winter sun exposure. Situate the structure with the front or the end facing east.

Which way should a greenhouse door face? ›

It doesn't matter which orientation you choose unless you're getting all the necessary sunlight for your plants. Most customers choose to orient their greenhouse in a south-north direction. If you live in an area with extreme winds, if possible, position the greenhouse shielded from the wind.


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