This post is about the journey of How To Build A DIY Greenhouse. Because we are not professional builders, this is not a step by step how too, with all the nitty gritty details. This post is meant to inspire you to not give up on a dream and hopefully encourage your step out of your comfort level to take on new projects.
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Table of contents
- How to Build a DIY Greenhouse
- How the Story Begins
- A Homemade Greenhouse
- Materials Needed to Build a Greenhouse 12′ x 16′
- A Deck Foundation
- The Walls Go Up
- Rafters Installed
- Moving right Along with the Building of the DIY Greenhouse
- Preparing for the roof
- The DIY Greenhouse Is Closed In.
- Some interior Views
- Foundation filled with Field Rock
- A quick video of the step by step process
- Update: Seasonal Greenhouse Tours
How to Build a DIY Greenhouse
Y’all, we did it. I’m still in shock and very tired, but we did it!!!! We are also excited that this post won the HOMETALK Summer DIY Project award for 2020.
If you’ve followed this blog for some time, you know that having a Greenhouse has been my dream. Well, as sometimes happens, things didn’t exactly go as planned, but the dream Greenhouse is finally a reality.
Here is the process of How to build a DIY Greenhouse from conception to completion. The satisfaction that comes with a handmade project and building with reclaimed materials was very appealing to us.
How the Story Begins
After much debate, my husband had finally agreed that we might could build a greenhouse. A few windows had been collected and a building site had been chosen.
Time to Window Shop
So next, it was time for some serious window shopping, and then the Covid19 Pandemic hit our country. Suddenly, all thrift stores and vintage shops were closed, resulting in no window shopping.
This was just a minor set back compared to the many hardships others have endured. However, complaining about the situation on Instagram paid off because a follower contacted me with an offer.
He had several french doors rescued from a coastal home after hurricane Florence. Unfortunately, he could not use them as planned and would sell them for a great price. Yay! Can you see my happy dance?
A Homemade Greenhouse
After several trips to pick up the doors and many days drawing on my graft paper, a plan began taking shape. It quickly became apparent that the doors would allow more than enough light for the space; therefore, the windows were no longer needed.
Materials Needed to Build a Greenhouse 12′ x 16′
- Treated Lumber – amounts will vary depending on size of your structure
- 70 – 2 x 4 x 8
- 6 – 2 x 4 x 12
- 4 – 2 x 4 x 16
- 10 – 2 x 6 x 16
- 4 – 2 x 6 x 12
- 47 – 1 x 6 x 12 Deck Boards
- 4 – 4 x 4 x 8
- 12 – 1 x 4 x 8 trim boards
- 18 sheets Clear Polycarbonate Roofing 4 x 8
- 8 Packs – Roof Panel Closures
- 8 Sets of French Doors – rescued
- 6 -Concrete Blocks
- 32 – Metal Joist Hangers
- Ridge Cap – 20′ long
- Reclaimed Shiplap siding
- 2 gallons – Primer Kilt z
- 1 gallon White Dove Exterior Paint
- 4- 4 x 8 Exterior Plywood Sheets
- 2000 Nail Gun Nails
- 200 Roofing Screws
- 2 boxes wood screws
- Nail Gun and Air Compressor Kit
- Circular Saw
- Chop Saw
- Table Saw
- Screw Driver
- Saw Horses
A Deck Foundation
Since carpentry skills were minimal, we started construction on a deck as the base of the greenhouse. In addition, concrete blocks were used to level the foundation, and 2 x 6 x 16-floor joists were installed using metal hangers.
Next, the 1 x 6 x 12 deck boards were installed using a nail gun.
Because the greenhouse would not be 100% waterproof, treated Lumber was used to build the frame of the DIY Greenhouse.
Because each step of the process could be written as a whole DIY Tutorial, this post is not intended to be a tutorial or a step-by-step how. However, if you have questions about our process, be sure to ask in the comments, and we will try to answer to the best of our ability.
The Walls Go Up
Next, construction of the walls began, and we found that DIY tutorials came in handy. You can find a tutorial for just about anything you wish, which was fortunate for a couple of amateurs.
With the aid of a nail gun, chop saw, rough plan sketch, and many prayers, the walls came together.
At this point, construction was moving along, and we felt pretty proud of ourselves.
Next, the rafters were built by hand using 2 x 4 x 8 treated lumber. Each rafter was constructed on the floor of the greenhouse before being installed.
In addition, the rafter’s got a coat of white primer before installation to avoid painting on a ladder after they were installed.
Use caution when using a nail gun. Yes, we did have one scary accident, which resulted in my husband having a nail sticking out of his thumb. Thankfully no bone was hit, and the nail was pulled out before I realized what had happened.
Because of the height, installing the rafters was a little more involved than building and installing the walls. With only two people holding the rafters steady, securing them simultaneously was quite challenging.
Moving right Along with the Building of the DIY Greenhouse
Can you tell we’ve been working hard? Next up was the installation of the doors and roofing materials. This was the most challenging part of constructing the DIY greenhouse.
First, the doors are super heavy and hard to manage with just four hands. Also, each door frame needed to be square before hanging the doors.
Unfortunately, more than one door had to be re-hung to adjust the level. Eventually, all eight sets of doors were hung and somewhat leveled. LOL
Preparing for the roof
To install the roofing materials, 1 x 4 boards were first attached to the rafters to allow the roofing to attach to them.
The clear polycarbonate roofing material was then attached using roofing screws. In addition, as the roof was being secured, my husband also installed the ridge cap as he moved from the front to the back of the building.
My husband had to install the roofing materials himself because holding the ladder and praying he wouldn’t get hurt was all I was capable of. In addition, there may have been some tears during this part.
Note: Using a ladder to do this part of the project is not recommended. In hindsight, the job would have been much easier and safer had we rented scaffolding. However, the work was completed, and many lessons were learned. LOL
To allow plenty of light to flood the Greenhouse, clear polycarbonate sheets were used over the front and back doors. From this view, you can see the natural side of the reclaimed shiplap.
The DIY Greenhouse Is Closed In.
Finally, the walls are entirely closed, and the roof is finished. From this view, you can see the reclaimed ship lap siding used to cover the exterior. Since there was not enough for the entire project, outdoor siding was added to fill the gaps.
Everything was painted with White Dove exterior paint by Benjamin Moore to pull the exterior together. The construction has been underway for precisely three weeks at this point.
Because it was now Memorial Day Weekend, it was a perfect time for a break.
However, the finishing touches were quickly completed once the break was over. All the trim work was applied, and some interior painting was completed. Whew, almost at the finish line.
Some interior Views
At this point, some styling began to happen. First, a primitive work table rescued from my dad’s workshop was perfect in the center of the greenhouse.
Next, a thrift store chandelier got an update and worked perfectly inside the greenhouse because of the solar lights. You can see how to re-purpose a boring thrift store chandelier here.
Foundation filled with Field Rock
Another finishing touch was adding field rock around the greenhouse’s foundation, and a few larger rocks were gathered as stepping stones to enter the greenhouse doors. Because our pastures are full of field rock, this was a relatively simple process.
In order to not disturb anything on the inside of the greenhouse, all the doors were installed to open outward. As a result, tables and such could be placed anywhere within the room without worry, allowing for great airflow.
A quick video of the step by step process
Check out the tutorial for the Apothecary (Card File) Cabinet and the Re-purposed Chandelier
Decorating the greenhouse is so fun and this DIY Terra Cotta Wreath was a great addition. See tutorial here. In addition, I shared this Rusted Can Fall Wreath that worked perfectly on the greenhouse.
Although building a DIY Greenhouse was the most challenging project we have ever tackled, the results are a dream come true. It’s a little late in the season to use the greenhouse for growing, but it is ready for this Fall and next Spring.
In addition, I hope this inspires you to step out of your comfort zone and attempt projects you never dreamed you could complete.
Update: Seasonal Greenhouse Tours
- First Christmas In The DIY Greenhouse
- Summer Greenhouse Tour
- Fall in the Greenhouse
- A Patriotic Greenhouse/She Shed
Thank you for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed seeing the process. Your questions and comments are always appreciated.
Mary from Life at Bella Terra
Thursday 12th of January 2023
Rachel, oh my! You and your husband are both ambitious and brave! What a fabulous post~so impressed that you did this yourself. Wow. Now you've got me thinking of where I want one of my own!
Friday 13th of January 2023
Mary, You should do it. You would love it.
Thursday 12th of January 2023
How charming, innovative, and inspiring is this post?!! I love that you both dream it then do it. Not everyone has the "chomps" to tackle big projects...you definitely did not bite off more than you could chew!!!
Friday 13th of January 2023
Gail, there were many moments when we had our doubts. I appreciate you sweet comment.
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Beautiful!!!! Your husband did an awesome job. He must have some construction back ground? Your decor ideas look perfect! The doors worked out wonderful too! Congratulations!
Tuesday 14th of June 2022
Thanks Jan, we have really enjoyed it.
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