How to build a greenhouse for cheap that is also sturdy (2023)

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If you have ever looked into buying a greenhouse then you may not be so surprised when I say, that they can be really expensive. If you do happen to find a cheap one it’s certainly not sturdy. I want to show you how to build a greenhouse for cheap that was also sturdy!

Many growers (like us) find we don’t have perfect conditions for a cheap greenhouse.

A cheap greenhouse, as we have learned, can act as a giant kite in our extreme Kansas winds and blow right away. Now if that isn’t bad enough a heavy snowfall on a cheap greenhouse; talk about a plant smashing nightmare.

It can be really frustrating!

I mean the very reasons to want a greenhouse, protection from harsh elements can crush a greenhouse dream in a matter of minutes.

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So what if someone doesn’t have thousands or worse tens of thousands of dollars just lying around begging to be spent?

That’s ok I get it, that’s us too.

Our solution has always been to get thrifty, grab some tools and get our hands dirty.

While there are many homemade greenhouse ideas, not many will workfor our often extremely windy Kansas country living situation.

We needed a sturdy way to build a greenhouse cheap.

How to build a greenhouse that’s sturdy

At our urban homestead, we had built our own, greenhouse version 1.0. Upon moving to the country we wanted to expand and improve on that design.

We learned with the original DIY greenhouse on the urban homestead, that having the base actually set in the ground (like you would with fence posts) kept everything securely on the ground. Which just so happens to be exactly where we wanted our homemade greenhouse.

Kansas weather is known for blowing away trampolines & greenhouses, and that’s in town, where the wind has a lot more to stop its destructive ways. A greenhouse in the country has almost nothing to stop winds of 50-60 or even gusts of winds at 70+ MPH on a regular basis.

We planned to keep the hoop-style greenhouse. However, we want higher ceilings so we think adding more of a sidewall will help this issue.

Homemade greenhouse ideas

What we made was fitting to what we were wanted space-wise. So be creative and plan for what you need!

  • We made our design to be 12 feet wide by 40 feet long, (you could do what you need)
  • Using 6 foot, 4×4 boards, as posts buried a few feet for extra durability in our sometimes brutal Kansas wind. We left about 3 feet of the post exposed (however our area was on a slope, so one end is buried a bit more).
  • With the 4×4 posts in place, we created a framing of sorts, for short sidewalls. The sidewalls will add a little more over-all height in the greenhouse.
  • We also opted for flexible livestock or hog panels for the “hoop” of the greenhouse. We were worried that if we were to use PVC, as you see with many homemade greenhouses, the brutal flatland winds would destroy the structure.
  • While connecting a flexible panel to a board in this manner isn’t something that would normally be done. However, we found that using steel hanging strap to be the best way to attach the panels to the boards. If you happen to find a better way, please let us know.
  • We added a door frame, making sure to leave the opening wide enough to get things like a wheelbarrow through the door. The door frame also acts as a support structure for the end.
  • We also added PVC pipe to the end, hoop section, for a cushion to the plastic which will be getting wrapped around the end. I am sure you can tell from the picture we use a lot of zip ties. They are easy to use and easy to change out later if you need to.
  • We ordered a large 28X56 ft piece of greenhouse plastic from an online greenhouse store. This size cost us $250. However when we had greenhouse 1.0 at the urban homestead our plastic cost around less than $100. The tricky part can be getting it over your greenhouse without tearing the plastic!
  • Our method of attaching the plastic we learned with our greenhouse 1.0 build. This method we use lathe boards (found for cheap at a lumber store or in your old house plaster walls for you upcyclers). Here you just pull your plastic very tight and sandwich it between your bottom greenhouse board and your lathe or thin board (this helps to not put pressure on any singular point in the plastic leading to tears)
  • On a side note. On our previous greenhouse build, we buried the leftover plastic after the lathe under a small berm surrounding the greenhouse and then placed landscaping rocks on top of the berm. This helps to keep the wind from grabbing the plastic. Yes I am talking about the wind again! (it is Kansas the wind is no joke here).
  • We did that all the way down, and again on the other side. (Notice the black under the plastic that is duct tape, we cover everything that could cause a potential tear with duct tape, all screws or anything rough).
  • Running the plastic smoothly-ish over the ends is really a beast! If you have ever tried wrapping and oddly shaped present, same concept here just much larger! Many spare hands can be quite helpful.
  • Another way to upcycle is to use an old garden hose to cover the rough end of the metal panel that will have the plastic wrapped around it.
  • Attach the plastic the same around the end that will have your door. (Do not cut the door plastic out until you have everything else tight).
  • You can build a simple door frame and cover that with plastic or have a solid door, or add a storm door that would have an opening window for hot summer days to vent your greenhouse!

How to build a greenhouse for cheap

There you have it how to build a greenhouse for cheap! Our greenhouse is actually quite large so a smaller one would be cheaper still.

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As I am sure you can tell from the pictures, this build spanned several seasons! But we got it done! And none too soon. The temperatures are dropping to the teens and twenties at night and even some during the day. However, day one of the greenhouse being covered the outside temp was 22 degrees while the inside was a warm 60 degrees on a cloudy day!

So now the challenge to get some winter greenhouse friendly plants to growing and feeding the family! A simple greenhouse Like this is a good start for a basic garden bed or even an aquaponic system.

A homemade greenhousecan be a great way to extend a growing season or shelter your precious plants from harsh outside elements. Don’t let a hefty price tag stop you from a self-sufficient food, just figure out how to build a greenhouse cheap and garden on ♡♡♡

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From our family to yours, thanks for stopping by

P.S. Looking for more frugal and Self-Sufficient DIY’s? Subscribe to join The Upcycled Family community for more homestead living, garden growing get-your-hands-dirty DIY’s

How to build a greenhouse for cheap that is also sturdy (15)

Beth

Beth is a mother of 6 living on a handful of acres in an old farmhouse in central Kansas. Beth has a background in the military and health and fitness however her passions come from her homestead life. Beth is an enthusiastic homeschooling mom, avid organic gardener, chicken & goat wrangler, who is obsessed with herbs and natural remedies and maintaining an all-around Do-It-Yourself lifestyle. Beth loves to share all she has learned about and sustainable living. While striving for a healthy, natural life, family-centered life.

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