Gardening is one of the best ways to beautify the exterior of your home, and it’s a great activity to relieve stress and feel accomplished as well. Depending on what you plant, you could even use your garden to cultivate vegetables, herbs, and other products to consume. But when winter rears its ugly head, most gardeners are forced to retire at least part of their gardens and wait until spring to start again.
With the help of a greenhouse, you could keep gardening year-round—and add value to your property at the same time. Best of all, installing a greenhouse isn’t very expensive or time consuming. In fact, you can probably build a greenhouse yourself.
The Benefits of a Greenhouse
Thanks to its full enclosure and ability to retain warmth, greenhouses can help you in several ways:
- Growing crops in winter. Provided you have a reliable heat source, the main advantage of a greenhouse is allowing you to grow crops in winter. If you’re passionate about gardening but you live in an area with seasonal weather, this can help you stay active and help your plants flourish, even in the darkest months. This can also be good for your mental and emotional health, giving you a way to engage with nature.
- Growing crops consistently. Greenhouses are enclosed environments that give you near-total control over the conditions in which your plants exist. You’ll be able to precisely control things like the temperature and humidity of the interior, helping you grow much more consistent crops.
- Keeping plants protected from wildlife. Another bonus of using a greenhouse is adding a layer of protection between your plants and wildlife. You won’t have to worry as much about rabbits, bugs, and other pests when you keep things growing indoors.
- Aesthetic appeal. Having a greenhouse can also make your home more appealing, increasing the value of your home and possibly helping it sell quicker when you list it for sale.
Factors to Consider
Before you buy or build a greenhouse, consider the following:
- Available size and required size. How much size do you have available for your greenhouse? This mostly depends on how much land you have available, but you may also need to consider whether or not you need a strong foundation for the greenhouse. Do a proper survey and determine exactly how much space is available to you. Then, calculate exactly how much space you’ll need for your winter planting goals—or estimate what you might be able to grow, given the space you have. Is this adequate?
- Heating options. The glass exterior of a greenhouse can help you generate and retain heat from the sun, but you’ll probably still need an external way to generate heat. Options include electric, gas, propane, and natural gas heating, each of which come with advantages and disadvantages.
- How much money do you have to spend on a greenhouse? Depending on the options you choose and how you construct it, you could pay as little as $3,000 to construct a basic structure or as much as $25,000 for a robust model. Building a greenhouse yourself will be less expensive than hiring someone to do it, and basic options will be less expensive than more extensive ones. There are options for almost any budget.
- How much time do you have to commit to the building process? If you’re trying to get a greenhouse constructed before winter begins, or if you can’t dedicate the time to learning how to build one, it may be better to hire someone than to build it yourself.
- Will you need a permit in your city before you can build a greenhouse? Different cities and counties have different rules for exterior constructions. You don’t want to be caught in violation of local codes without knowing about it. Make sure you do your research before deciding to move forward.
- Building from scratch, relying on kits, and hiring contractors. One of your biggest choices will be between building a greenhouse from scratch, relying on a pre-made kit, or hiring someone to build a greenhouse for you. Building from scratch takes a lot of time, but is the least expensive. Pre-made kits are reliable and simple, but slightly more expensive. Hiring someone is usually much more expensive, but also much more reliable.
Adding a greenhouse to your property can be one of the best decisions you make as a homeowner, but it requires significant forethought and planning before you move forward. Evaluate your available time, available money, and available space, then start looking at the material and construction options available. There are possibilities for almost any homeowner, and almost any set of goals, so keep looking until you find the perfect fit.