More homeowners are turning to growing their own plants, fruits, and vegetables at home. Greenhouses have been used for hundreds of years as a way to successfully grow plants, even in inclement weather. They also add to your property’s value, and can be a beautiful visual feature. If you have decided to try indoor gardening, you may be wondering, how much does a greenhouse cost? As with any project, the materials used in construction can affect greenhouse prices.
The cost to build a greenhouse varies greatly depending on the materials you use for construction. There are many prefabricated greenhouse kits on the market that use the most common materials of fiberglass, glass, or plastic polyethylene.
Older books advise against using any grade of glass below Grade A, but double-thickness Grade B is also very effective. The framing material also affects greenhouse cost depending on whether you want aluminum, redwood, or cypress. If you choose to build the greenhouse yourself, price glass panes in box lots in order to save money. This will also provide you with extra glass in case some panes break. The glazing compound will cost only a few cents for a pound. Designing and building your own greenhouse can save you up to 10% to 20% on a prefabricated structure.
A greenhouse needs good ventilation and plenty of light. If you plan to grow in the greenhouse year round, you will also need an efficient heating system. The greenhouse glass frames are the largest pieces of your structure. Obviously, frames made from redwood or cypress will be more expensive than a lighter frame made from aluminum. The grade of your glass will also adjust the price, as the Grade B double-thickness panes are less expensive than Grade A. You will also need heaters, humidifiers, ventilators, and maybe even a cooling system. The greenhouse frame must be strong so it can carry the weight of the glass as well as stand up to wind and snow. Your greenhouse foundation can be made from concrete, cinder blocks, poured cement, or Transite for good insulation and protection from heat loss. Once the structure is built, you will need greenhouse tables and film. Greenhouse prices always depend on which materials and features you want to include.
If you have decided to build a commercial greenhouse, there is additional greenhouse cost to keep in mind. First, you will need to figure in the cost of the land on which the greenhouse will sit, in addition to any zoning and regulation costs. The location, size, and type of greenhouse will be influenced by which crops you want to grow,how they will be grown, the growing system, the marketing system, your growing period, the growing media, the annual production, and the investment capital you have available. Your greenhouse should also have easy highway access and be far from environmental pollutants. You will need a good slope and drainage plan so the plants are not sitting in water.
The least expensive greenhouses are quonsets, or hoop greenhouses, which can be purchased up to 34’ in diameter. Gothic designs allow more light and shed snow coverage more easily. You can also purchase a gable design that has stretches up to 60’ in width. The greenhouse can be made as long as you wish,and glazing materials come in 96”and 144”. Greenhouses are modular in design and come with frame spacing that is 4’ to 5’ for hoop houses and 10’ to 12’ for gutter-connected designs. Most commercial greenhouses utilize plastic glazing which is applied as an inflated double cover that will last around four years. To reduce heat loss and give better service, infrared inhibitors and anti-drip agents may also be used. You can also use structured sheets of acrylic or polycarbonate to last around 15 years. If your crops will require a highlight level, you will need to use tempered glass. Expect prices to start around $12,000 and increase depending on the size and materials used.
If you want to garden all year long, a greenhouse may be a good solution. Depending on the type of structure you want and its materials, you are sure to find a structure that will make the greenhouse cost worth it!
Greenhouse cost will largely depend on the size of the building. For greenhouse kits, the average price for an 8’x 14’ greenhouse with a first grade redwood frame is around $1450, not including the foundation. A smaller, less expensive model that is 8’x10’ long and 8’ in height can cost around $300. Greenhouse prices will be lower if you buy one of these kits in order to construct it yourself, and it usually takes only a few hours. Some kits are considered lean-tos, which actually lean against your house so one wall of the structure is your home’s wall. This can make it easier to get electricity, water, and heat to your greenhouse because it is not a standalone structure. This also makes the cost of a greenhouse less because you don’t need to run pipes or wiring. Consider the plants you will be growing in your new greenhouse, as this will determine the size you need. Wooden greenhouse kits will arrive with precut panels to allow for easy assembly so you can move your tables and benches in immediately.
A cold frame greenhouse is handy when you wish to grow plants that would not survive over the winter in the open. These greenhouses work best in a sunny spot so that they can receive a lot of sunlight every day. This type of greenhouse should also be placed against an existing structure, such as your garage, home, outbuilding, or even a solid fence. Leaning against your home has the advantage that the heat from your house will give added warmth to the cold frame. You’ll also need to provide good drainage so the plants will not be in a puddle of water or ice all winter. Since these cold frame structures do not need to be large enough to walk into, they can be a low-priced, effective solution compared to a full greenhouse. Many use old windows to form the top of the cold frames, and the glass panes allow the sunlight to reach the plants. The windows should be hinged, and you will need heavy duty hinges to attach to the structure. The least expensive type of cold frame is simply concrete blocks that are built to hold a window as the roof. Cedar or cypress woods are good ideas for the wood frame because they will not decompose. If you decide to buy a prefabricated cold frame, expect your greenhouse cost to be around $300 for a 4’x6’ structure.