Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

Budget Backyard Greenhouse

By: Danny Lipford
In categories: Garden Sheds, Lawn and Garden, Today's Homeowner
Completed greenhouse

Completed DIY budget backyard greenhouse.

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When the temperature starts to drop where will you put those plants you’ve nurtured all summer? This DIY friendly greenhouse might be just the right solution to extend the growing season in your backyard garden.

Greenhouse Materials

Building this 8’ x 8’ greenhouse cost $800 about in materials:

  • 26 – 2” x 2” x 8’ treated pine (wall/roof framing)
  • 6 – 1” x 4” x 8’ treated pine (shelves)
  • 17 – 2’ x 8’ corrugated fiberglass panels (roof and walls)
  • 16 – corrugated foam gaskets
  • 1 – 32” x 80” storm door
  • 1 – 32” x 36” vinyl window
  • 5 lbs. – 3/4” self tapping screws with rubber washers (siding)
  • 16 – 3” deck screws (shelf brackets)
  • 24 – 2” deck screws (shelves)
  • 5 lbs. – galvanized nails (framework)
  • 1 – 8’ x 8’ plastic sheeting
  • 10 – 50 pound bags of gravel (floor)
Cutting lumber with a miter saw for the greenhouse frame.

Cutting lumber with a miter saw for the greenhouse frame.

Framing the Greenhouse

The frame for each end of the greenhouse was assembled on the ground from pressure treated 2”x 2” lumber. The rafters were cut and joined at a 45° angle at the peak with the walls slope out at a 15° angle.

A 32” wide by 80” high opening was framed into the front of the greenhouse to accommodate the storm door, with a 32” x 36” opening in the back for the window.

The end frames were joined together with 8’ long 2x2s at the ridge, wall top, and bottom. Side wall supports and rafters were added to each side on 32″ centers.

Assembled framework for budget greenhouse.

Assembled framework for budget greenhouse.

Roofing and Siding the Greenhouse

Temporary 1” x 4” braces were attached diagonally at the top and bottom of each of the side walls to keep the frame square until the fiberglass panels were installed. The corrugated fiberglass panels were attached using self tapping screws with rubber washers. The front and back sides of the greenhouse were covered first, starting at the bottom and overlapping each panel over the one below.

The fiberglass panels on the front and back were cut flush with the frame using an abrasive blade in a circular saw. Be sure to wear a respirator or an approved dust mask when cutting fiberglass panels.

Attaching fiberglass panels to roof of greenhouse.

Attaching fiberglass panels to the greenhouse rafters.

Next, position foam gaskets on the side frames and center a fiberglass panel over the ridge of the roof, attaching it to the frame with screws. Apply the rest of the panels, working from the top down each side, making sure to lap the upper panels over the lower ones to prevent leaking.

Cut the holes for the window and door using a circular saw and abrasive blade.

Shelf with brackets inside of greenhouse.

Shelf with brackets inside of greenhouse.

Greenhouse Shelves

Use scrap 2x2s to make eight angled shelf brackets. Attach the brackets to the side frames using 3” screws. Connect the brackets together using 8’ long 2x2s.

Use 2” screws to attach the pressure treated 1×4 shelves to the brackets, leaving a gap between each board to allow for drainage when watering plants.

Greenhouse Floor

A simple floor for the greenhouse can be made by covering the ground with plastic sheeting, then adding a layer of gravel on top.

Attaching storm door to greenhouse with screws.

Attaching storm door to greenhouse with screws.

Greenhouse Door and Window

Attach the window to the opening in the back wall of the greenhouse with screws. Plumb and level the storm door, and attach it to the opening in the front of the greenhouse with screws.

Other Tips from This Episode

Pouring potting soil on foam peanuts in 5 gallon bucket

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Homemade Container Garden

It’s easy to make your own container garden using 5-gallon plastic buckets. Start by drilling holes in the bottom of the bucket for drainage. Then put foam packing peanuts in the bucket, followed by layers of potting soil and gelatin to help hold moisture in the soil.

Bag of Seed Starting Potting Mix

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Seed Starting Potting Mix

When growing seedlings in containers, it’s important to have the right soil. Miracle-Gro Seed Starting Potting Mix is perfect for growing seedlings, since it contains peat moss and perlite to absorb water and plant food. Miracle-Gro Potting Mix is available at The Home Depot.

Danny Lipford holding pressure treated wood

Ask Danny Lipford:
Staining a New Wood Deck

Pressure treated wood decking often comes still wet with preservative and needs time to dry out before finishing so the stain will absorb properly into the wood. Wait 4-8 weeks before staining a new deck, depending on drying conditions.

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6 Comments on “Budget Backyard Greenhouse”

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  1. Jack vinall Says:
    October 8th, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Like the green house plans thanks

  2. Paul Bostrom Says:
    October 9th, 2011 at 8:21 am

    I love the simple design, ease of construction, and relatively low cost.
    I have one really big question/problem though. Your choice of siding materials allows virtually no natural light. How do plants thrive in the dark? And even if the plastic were more translucent, all the research I’ve done tells me that green is the worst possible color choice, due to the specific spectrum of light that it either blocks or allows through. It seems this project would be more accurately called a shed, rather than a greenhouse.

  3. Lloyd Says:
    October 10th, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    I watched the show. The home owner wanted the green house to blend in with the shrubs and trees so she chose the green siding. The light colored fiberglass will allow more light in.

  4. Paul Bostrom Says:
    October 11th, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Lloyd- I understand the reason behind the color choice. I’m saying it defeats the idea of it being a greenhouse. I’m not just guessing here. The color and opacity of the material are absolutely wrong for a greenhouse, and make it a shed.

  5. Coleen McKee Says:
    December 18th, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Dear Danny,
    I always set my alarm to see your weekly program but today I did not hear the alarm and missed the show. Is there a possibility you will be showing the greenhouse episode again–anytime soon? I live in the Dallas area and receive the broadcast on Channel 8. Really wanted to see this one! Love your show!!!!

  6. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    December 18th, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Hi Coleen,
    We don’t have plans to air the greenhouse episode again on TV at this time, but you can click on the “Purchase This Episode on DVD” graphic at the top of the article above to buy a copy. You can also watch an excerpt from the episode at How to Build a DIY Greenhouse for Your Yard. We will also be posting the entire episode on our website in the future, so check back on this page to see if it’s available. When we post it, we’ll add a clickable “Watch Full Episode” button at the top of the article, that will take you to the online episode. Thank you for your interest!

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