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Gardening And Greenhouses: Get Your Own Hideaway

Have you ever dreamed of owning a greenhouse? A greenhouse sunroom is a wonderful place to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, to spend time among living, breathing plants and to feel rejuvenated and alive. But before you feel overwhelmed at the idea of building your own greenhouse, relax! Getting a greenhouse getaway in your backyard doesn’t have to be complicated.

Getting Started: A Primer
When building a greenhouse, there are two questions you should ask yourself. What is the amount of space you have available? The size of land you work with will determine the type of greenhouse you can build. Obviously, someone working with a small plot of land on the roof of an apartment will have different challenges compared to the person with 50 acres of farmland.

Secondly, how big is your budget? If you want to spend a great deal of money, there are a variety of pre-fabricated, mini or large, freestanding or attached greenhouses to choose from. If you already have a particular design of greenhouse in mind, then you just have to decide on building materials and whether to have a professional build it for you. However, if you are on a limited budget, you can choose from a portable greenhouse, a hobby greenhouse or buy a greenhouse kit build it yourself.

Before you purchase a greenhouse kit or begin work on the construction of your greenhouse, you should carefully consider how you plan to provide proper ventilation, misting and electrical systems, humidification and drainage for the greenhouse. These decisions should largely be made when you decide between a freestanding, attached greenhouse and portable hobby greenhouse kit. It will be hard to make any changes once you have laid the foundation for the greenhouse.

Greenhouse Foundation: Soil, Wood or Concrete?

If you are going to build your own greenhouse, there are several structural decisions you need to make. But before you start planning all the above ground stuff, you need to decide the type of foundation for your greenhouse.

A soil foundation will allow you to grow plants right out of the ground. To ensure the soil is rich in nutrients and fertile enough for your plants and vegetables, you have to make sure there is proper drainage. It is also important to keep seasonal changes of the weather in mind when deciding on the foundation. If you live in a colder climate and opt for a soil foundation, you will need to insulate the border of the soil with thick, two feet deep Styrofoam to keep the soil from freezing in the winter. In order for water to drain out, you will also need to install a piping system so that excessive water does not collect in the soil floor.

If you choose to use wood, you should ensure you are using decay-resistant woods like cedar, redwood or cypress. The site of the greenhouse should be level before you begin construction. Once the foundation has been secured, you can fill in the floor with sand or gravel as they have good drainage qualities.

Since it is more solid, a concrete foundation is a good choice if you plan to build a greenhouse with a heavier glass structure or plan to build heavier structures inside the greenhouse. The concrete slab should be 3 inches thick and one inch longer and wider than the actual frame of the greenhouse itself. The outside edges should be thicker to ensure that the foundation does not crack during the winter months.

As with wood and soil foundations, the concrete should have a drainage pipe system built into it. As this can be an expensive decision for your greenhouse, there are two things to keep in mind: whether or not the glaze is protected against ultra-violet rays and whether you are choosing single, double or triple thick glaze. It is best to have double or triple thick glaze as they will last longer and will keep the temperature steady in the summer and winter.

Greenhouse Covering

This is an important feature for your greenhouse, therefore you will want to choose it wisely. There are many choices available for greenhouse covering or glazing including plastic sheets, glass, acrylic, polycarbonate or fiberglass.

Tempered Glass
Tempered glass is known to preserve well over time and is usually chosen for sunrooms and solariums.

Polycarbonate and Acrylic
Many greenhouse kits that can be found online are usually made with polycarbonate plastic. Polycarbonate lets in a high degree of light and is usually protected from ultraviolet rays. Acrylic is as transparent as glass and is also found often in greenhouse kits. Both polycarbonate and acrylic panels require a strong foundation.

Fiberglass is known to be cheaper but if properly maintained it can last for a number of years. They are not transparent and over time they will stop transmitting light.

Greenhouse Kits
Greenhouse kits can be found at your local gardening store or through an array of online gardening stores and websites. Greenhouse kits are pre-fabricated portable greenhouses that can be shipped to your location and installed on your land. Many greenhouse kits are made with polycarbonate, wooden or aluminum frames. Greenhouse kits come with a wide variety of features. Depending on what you are looking for, you can purchase a kit with built in ventilators, exhaust fans, double walls, windows and doors. Greenhouse kits can range in price from $500 to over $4000. You can also purchase greenhouse accessories, like potting benches, carts, composters and heaters on greenhouse kit websites.