Grow Plants Year-Round With Your New Greenhouse
If you have a green thumb and you want to exercise it year-round, a greenhouse could be a great investment. Cultivate plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables in all seasons, even in cold weather.
There are two basic types of greenhouses: freestanding and attached (usually to a house or garage). Within the two types, there are many sizes, shapes and designs. For attached, there’s the lean-to, a half-size greenhouse, or even-span, which is full size. Freestanding greenhouses, which are all full size, can be rigid-frame, A-frame, Quonset hut-style, gothic or post-and-rafter.
One of the most important decisions you’ll make is the material for the greenhouse panels. The material will determine the amount of sunlight that reaches the plants. Materials vary in price and durability, too.
- Glass is expensive and it can break, but it’s strong and very long-lasting.
- Fiberglass is lightweight, easy to install and strong. But its lifespan is capped at about 15 or 20 years.
- Double wall plastic is made with rigid, long-lasting plastic sheets. The double-layer material is energy efficient and retains heat well. But the light transmission quality begins to break down after about 10 years.
- Film plastic is a very inexpensive covering that needs to be replaced every one to three years.
Cost to Build a Greenhouse
The cost of a greenhouse is determined by the square footage, the materials used, the design of the structure, the amount of site preparation needed and your location. A greenhouse could cost $1,000 or it could cost $30,000; however, the average price is closer to $10,000 to $20,000.
- Small prefabricated greenhouses with film plastic panels can be found for about $1,000 to $4,000.
- A mid-sized greenhouse made of double wall plastic will likely cost $8,000 to $12,000, not including delivery or installation.
- A mid-sized greenhouse with glass panels usually costs anywhere from about $10,000 to $25,000, not including delivery or installation.
Keep in mind that custom greenhouses are usually far more expensive than factory-built models. The price can easily exceed $30,000.
In addition to the greenhouse, you’ll also need to purchase a separate but small heater. Although greenhouses are designed to capture heat from sunlight, they need additional heat at night and during the winter. Small electric heaters usually cost $50 to $200, while larger gas heaters cost $500 to $1,500.