Greenhouse Buyers Guide
A Greenhouse can be used as an all-weather, all year round, outside room. The focal point for your garden and of course a fantastic growing environment! If you have ever tried to grow plants outside, you will know that we are at the mercy of the British weather. A Greenhouse allows you to control the growing environment to ensure gardening success.
Why buy a greenhouse?
A greenhouse can be used as an all-weather, all year round, outside room. The focal point for your garden and of course a fantastic growing environment!
If you have ever tried to grow plants and vegetables outside, you will know that we are at the mercy of the British weather. A greenhouse allows you to control the growing environment to ensure gardening success.
Buying a greenhouse is a major investment in your garden and we want to make sure you get it right.
This guide is an introduction, but if you need any more greenhouse advice don’t hesitate to contact us.
Choosing a greenhouse
The greenhouse you choose will be an asset to your home for many years to come, it is important that you choose the right model and size for your needs.
We only sell the best greenhouse brands in the UK.
Size is the most important criteria; you should select a greenhouse large enough to accommodate the type of growing you wish to do, with enough room for plants and working area for potting up your seedlings. If you have the room select a size that will enable you to put a table and chair in the greenhouse, this will let you enjoy the garden for more of the year.
It’s a good idea to use some canes and string to mark out where you are considering siting the greenhouse to make sure it fits.
Will the greenhouse be used by wheelchair users or the less mobile? Some greenhouse models have low thresholds to allow wheelchairs (and wheelbarrows) easy access.
Make sure that the door is wide enough and that there is enough ventilation, both for the plants and you. Automatic vents will reduce the need for daily visits to the greenhouse during the growing season and when used in conjunction with automatic watering systems will ensure your plants thrive, even when left unattended for several days at a time.
Not all of us are blessed with a large garden so there is a wide range of mini greenhouses. So even if you have limited space you can still enjoy the benefits of greenhouse growing.
We don’t sell plastic mini greenhouses, they are simply not durable and provide disappointing results.
We do have a range of proper mini greenhouses, many having all the features of their larger cousins, such as roof vents and sliding doors.
Building your Greenhouse
Building your greenhouse can seem daunting, however if you are proficient at DIY you should be able to complete the project in around 2 days, one day to construct the base and aluminium frame and one day to glaze the greenhouse. Make sure to study the assembly manual and follow the instructions step-by-step.
Large greenhouses will take longer and we always recommend two people to complete the job.
Ensure you wear safety glasses and use gloves when handling glass.
Alternatively, we can arrange for installation of your free-standing greenhouse by our experienced fitters (at extra cost).
Most greenhouses have optional steel bases available, which make the construction easier and faster.
- With smaller greenhouses you can site them directly on the earth by concreting-in the ground anchors to ensure a stable foundation.
- This method is not recommended for larger greenhouses as the weight can cause subsidence and create problems with the door operation and glass fitment.
- Our recommended base is either a cast concrete base or well laid slab base.
- Slabs have the advantage of providing drainage inside the greenhouse.
- Always check the dimensions of the greenhouse and construct your base slightly larger to ensure the base is not damaged when you drill in to it, to secure the greenhouse.
- Please note that greenhouses are slightly larger than the imperial dimensions, we always advise to use the metric greenhouse dimensions from the installation manual.
Many greenhouses have an optional steel base, these are highly recommended as they speed up the build process and eliminate the need to construct a brick base. The optional base also raises the greenhouse frame and ensures the correct operation of the greenhouse doors.
A Cold Frame is a cost-effective way of increasing your protected growing area, or a way of starting a gardening project where space or funds are restricted.
Cold Frames can also be used as a ‘hardening off’ area to help young plants survive the transition from greenhouse to planting in outside beds. The smaller size makes them an excellent choice for introducing growing to children.
- Safety should be your first concern when selecting a greenhouse.
- Many greenhouses are supplied with horticultural glass which shatters in large unpredictable shards when broken, if there will be less mobile people, children or animals present we strongly recommend that you select only greenhouses glazed with toughened safety glass or with polycarbonate panels.
- Polycarbonate is twin walled and opaque, so can be useful for starting seeds and tender plants, it is the lightest weight option for your greenhouse.
- If you live in a windy area, toughened glass is our recommended glazing option as it is heavier and stronger.
Where to locate your greenhouse
Traditionally the advice is to site your greenhouse with the ridge running east to west in order to get the most sunlight.
In practice (with modern greenhouses) it is more important to site your greenhouse in a convenient location. A level site means less groundworks will be required as it is essential that the greenhouse is completely level.
Try to avoid overhanging trees and locating the Greenhouse too close to buildings which will block sunlight. Remember you will need access all around the greenhouse for cleaning and maintenance, so don’t site the greenhouse right next to a building or fence.
Of course you should try to avoid areas where ball games take place!
If you live in a windy spot, try to shelter the greenhouse and make sure you select a sturdy model. One thing to consider is that someone will need to visit the greenhouse to regularly check on the plants, so make sure that the greenhouse is not too far from the house, perhaps near a pathway.
Your plants will need watering, so make sure there is a close water supply and make use of water butts to collect water from the greenhouse gutters.
If you live in a windy spot try to shelter the Greenhouse and make sure you select a sturdy model
- Greenhouse staging and shelves will help to organise your plants and working area.
- A potting bench will keep the greenhouse tidy.
- A minimum / maximum thermometer will help optimise the growing environment.
- Guttering and downpipes will enable the collection of rainwater to a water butt.
- Automatic vent openers will ensure your seedlings get the best start and don’t get too hot on Spring and Summer days.
- We also sell automatic irrigation systems for the greenhouse.
- Browse our wide selection of greenhouse accessories in our online store.
What to grow
Vegetables are an excellent choice, you will love the quick results and what could be better than eating something you have grown yourself? Herbs and salad leaves can be grown year round in a greenhouse with quick and tasty results.
Tomatoes and chillies will thrive when compared to those grown outside. There is huge range of seeds and plug plants available online and in garden centres, making it easy to find the perfect variety of tomato you like.
Don’t forget companion plants that help with germination or attract beneficial insects such as marigolds. The greenhouse is also an excellent place to over winter your tender ornamental plants.