Greenhouse & Indoor Gardening

How To Customize a Greenhouse & Simplify Your Gardening: A Beginner’s Guide

Are you craving fresh produce and blooms all year, but dreading the backbreaking upkeep? If you’re just getting started with backyard gardening or are looking to expand your planting capabilities, a custom greenhouse is a great idea.

A custom greenhouse will help you overcome seasonal limitations and make gardening year-round much easier. It can be a versatile tool as you expand your backyard gardening horizons (not to mention, it will add a touch of beauty and personality to your backyard!)

Choose a Greenhouse Style That Works for You

A greenhouse isn’t only about growing delicious tomatoes and beautiful plants, it’s about crafting an experience. Here are a few popular types of greenhouses to consider:

  • Classic Gable: This familiar sight with its sloped roof and ample headroom is a favorite for good reason. Gable greenhouses maximize sunlight penetration and offer generous space for diverse plants. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a curious beginner, the gable design is a versatile and reliable choice.
  • The Lean-To:  Short on space? A lean-to greenhouse makes the most of an existing wall, like your house or garage. It’s cost-effective, easy to install, and basks in the warmth of the attached structure. Perfect for herbs, vegetables, or starting seedlings, lean-tos add a touch of green charm to any home.
  • Quonset Hut: Reminiscent of old-fashioned military buildings, quonset huts are surprisingly efficient greenhouses. Their curved roof sheds snow and wind easily, while maximizing interior space. They’re typically prefabricated and easy to assemble, making them a good choice for those who want a sturdy and low-maintenance option.
  • The A-Frame: Simple yet effective, the A-frame is a budget-friendly and beginner-friendly choice. Its triangular shape offers good light penetration and ventilation, while its compact size makes it ideal for smaller gardens. A-frame greenhouses are often DIY projects, allowing you to customize them to your specific needs and preferences.
  • The Gothic Arch:  Graceful and elegant, gothic arch greenhouses are as much an aesthetic statement as they are a practical growing space. Their curved roofs maximize headroom and light distribution, making them ideal for tall plants or those needing ample air circulation. While more expensive than some other options, a gothic arch greenhouse adds a touch of timeless beauty to any garden.
Options & Features To Consider for Your Greenhouse

So, what should you have in a custom greenhouse to make your life easier? Perhaps it’s planning to have ample storage for supplies, installing an automated watering system, or heated seed mats to jumpstart seed growth. Here are a few options and features to consider.

Have Ample Ventilation

Worried about the occasional heatwave? No sweat! A fully automated ventilation system with a solar thermostat will keep your greenhouse at the perfect temperature regardless of the weather. Open vents and electric fans take care of the work, leaving you free to enjoy the fruits (and vegetables!) of your labor.

“Proper ventilation is crucial for preventing humidity buildup and disease,” advises Barbara Pleasant, a seasoned greenhouse gardener from San Diego. “I recommend installing exhaust fans and roll-up sides for summer months, while natural ventilation through open doors often suffices during winter.”

Plan for Enough Interior Workspace

A common greenhouse size for backyard growers is 8 to 10 feet wide. However, large greenhouses range from 12 to 20 feet in width.

But before you decide on a square footage, think about what you’re going to grow, what you think you will store in the greenhouse, and how much workspace you want. Knowing these things ahead of time will help determine an appropriate size for your greenhouse.

Use Available Vertical Space

Hanging Hooks

This is probably the most common use for hooks in a greenhouse. Many gardeners like to utilize the vertical space by hanging plants and baskets, especially trailing varieties or those that need good air circulation. Hooks make it easy to securely suspend these plants and create a lush, layered effect.

High Shelving

Greenhouses often have limited floor space, and high shelves make the most of that vertical real estate. You can utilize them for storing seedlings, displaying smaller plants, or housing mature plants that don’t require ample floor space.

“Maximize your growing space by utilizing hanging baskets, vertical shelving, and even the floor space beneath benches for potted plants or forcing bulbs,” suggests Emily Jones, a tomato growing expert. “Don’t be afraid to get creative and make the most of every inch!”

Choose Upgrades To Improve Your Gardening Experience

You might not want ALL of these options, but depending on your gardening goals, you might want to consider including several of these options.

  • Electric Fan: Take temperature control to the next level with a thermostat-powered fan, ensuring your plants bask in perfect comfort.
  • Automated watering systems: Drip irrigation or sprinkler systems save time and ensure your plants receive the right amount of water.
  • Grow lights: Extend your growing season or provide supplemental light for shade-loving plants with artificial lighting systems. LED lights are energy-efficient and emit minimal heat.
  • Heated seed mats: Germinate seeds faster and ensure optimal seedling growth with heated mats that provide gentle bottom heat.
  • Misting systems: Add a touch of humidity and create a tropical atmosphere with misting nozzles or ultrasonic humidifiers.
  • Greenhouse walkways and paths: Lay down gravel, pavers, or stepping stones to create clean and defined walkways, preventing mud and making it easier to navigate your greenhouse.
Final Thought

A custom greenhouse can make your home gardening dreams a reality. We hope these planning tips will come in handy as you plan your own custom backyard greenhouse. Happy planting!

About the Author

Backyard Unlimited is a Rocklin, California based shed, backyard structure, and custom greenhouse supplier that was founded in 2009. Backyard Unlimited is California’s first local Amish-made shed and outdoor structure supplier.

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