We’ve had so many chats with subscribers about greenhouses over the last couple of years that we thought it might be a useful thing for us to put all of those chats (well the useful bits) down in one place as a kind of useful reference for anyone thinking about buying a greenhouse. Cause after all, they aren’t cheap, so the last thing you want to do is shell out a grand and then realise you missed an essential feature.
So here are Eli and Kate’s things to consider before you buy a greenhouse.
Where you decide your greenhouse will sit is probably the most important thing to consider, it will affect lots of other decisions you make, so let’s think about that. The best location, sun-wise, for your greenhouse here in the UK is south-facing. Much like people talk about the benefits of a south-facing garden. The reason for this is that you will make the most use of the daytime sun that way. However, it is worth being aware that where you live and just how much sun you get is something to consider. It may be possible that you don’t want quite that much direct sun if for instance, you live somewhere super hot where the sun is really strong. If this is the case, you might want to consider a location that offers elements of shade, like trees or fences that may cast a shadow at hotter parts of the day.
The location is also an important factor when considering buying a greenhouse as it may affect the size of the greenhouse you can fit into the space and how easy it is going to be to level that area to create a nice level base for your greenhouse to sit on.
Now I know we all get excited about what we are going to grow in our greenhouses and we daydream about lovely evenings pootling in there with a cuppa, but just take a moment to consider the outside of the greenhouse, because there are a few important things to consider.
Now as you guys know, I’ve had 3 greenhouses now. I started with a plastic one, you know those little, lightweight, cheap jobs you can buy from your highstreet multi-market stores like Woolworths and B&M.
It was a decision based on space, I didn’t have a garden, just a balcony and this was all that would fit. To be honest, though, it was a bit of a waste of space.
the next greenhouse I had was a polycarbonate greenhouse. It was a regular greenhouse, just with polycarbonate glazing rather than glass. It was a good enough greenhouse and I had it for years and grew lots of different things happily in there but the problem I found with the polycarbonate glazing was that it didn’t cope well with the wind. Basically it didn’t cope at all with the wind and EVERY time we had a storm, I would lose parts of the greenhouse which would be taken away to the land of Oz (presumably) by the wind. So now I have a traditional glass glazed greenhouse. This is much heavier and copes much better with the windy situation of our garden.
It might sound a bit mad to say that guttering is actually something you would want to consider this early, but hear me out 🙂
Guttering serves two purposes, firstly it is a way to direct the rain away from the greenhouse (using downpipes) and stops all that rain from running off the roof and then hitting the floor at the base of the greenhouse and just seeping inside. If you have gutters and downpipes you can choose how you want to direct that rain. And that is the second benefit, you could, if you want, use it to catch rainfall into a water butt. Very handy if you live somewhere which isn’t as fortunate as Scotland in terms of water availability.
So, let’s go inside
So the first thing then, stepping inside.
I bring this up because, on my old greenhouse, you had to actually step over the base plate to get in. It wasn’t super high, about 4 inches or so but if you struggle with mobility that might be a factor you have to consider. On our new greenhouse, there is no step, so it’s really accessible.
Your growing space
OK so now I know this is the bit we call get excited about, what we are actually going to grow in there. After all, this is the very reason we buy a greenhouse.
As you can see in the pic and in the numerous videos I’ve made from in the greenhouse (I’ve added a playlist of bingeable greenhouse videos below), I use my greenhouse in lots of different ways. And this is a really useful thing to think about.
Now I’ve added size as something to think about for once we are in the greenhouse because it is really only something we think about in terms of what we can grow. And trust me on this one. Whatever size you are thinking of buying, go up one. TRUST ME. You will always wish you’d bought a bigger greenhouse.
Now my greenhouse is 6ft wide and 8ft long. I’d say that’s probably the standard greenhouse size in most gardens in the UK. However, if you are clever with your greenhouse furniture, you can actually do an awful lot with a 6 by 8 greenhouse.
Ok staging isn’t exactly relevant to the actual physical greenhouse, but it is good to consider this as part of the whole because it will allow you to think about what size you need.
Think about your entire season… you will want space to grow seedlings or baby plants early in spring. You may want to be potting up a lot. In which case it’s really handy to have benches to work from and save your back. BUT … what about summer, what if you are growing tomatoes or other large plants? Those need the full floor to ceiling height.
This is where clever staging inside your greenhouse comes into effect. I have staging that actually folds down so I can choose how I want to use my space and change it up throughout the year. You get lots of different types, some actually integral to the greenhouse and others, like mine a separate piece.
So there we go, just some quiet thoughts on the kind of decisions you might be making. There are obviously heaps more, like heating, lighting etc, but as I don’t have power in my greenhouse, these aren’t things I can personally comment on therefore I have no place trying to pretend I can offer advice on that.
But from my personal experience, I thought this list might be a useful guide for anyone considering a new, or your first, greenhouse.
If you are looking for more binge-worthy videos to go with your Sunday coffee… I’ve put together a playlist of videos about setting up your greenhouse too.