Introduction: Build an Easy 5 X 5 Home Greenhouse for Under $25

Picture of Build an Easy 5 X 5 Home Greenhouse for Under $25 Here is how you can build your own home greenshouse for under $25.

The main pic is a larger version of the 5x5 Greenhouse. See the actual 5x5 image below. For more pics and info please see my website at:


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Step 1: Supplies Needed

Picture of Supplies Needed
  • 1/2" PVC Pipe
4 sections, Total Cost about $8.00

  • 1/2" Corner Elbow Connectors
4 with 3 ports

  • 1/2" Adapters
4, Connectors + Adapters total cost about $4.00

  • Primer and PVC Cement
Total cost about $5.50, Borrowed cost = $0

  • Scissors
I had scissors - my cost $0

  • Long Zip Ties
My cost $1 from the dollar store

  • Hack Saw or Pipe Cutter
Borrowed - My cost $0

  • Visquene or Plastic Sheeting
6' x 6', 3.5 mil (6 mil is ideal)
Thin clear plastic will not withstand past one season.
Box of 10' x 25' is $13.50, Cost per section roughly $7.50

  • Total Cost = $20.50

Step 2: PVC Pipe

Picture of PVC Pipe

Assemble the pipe on a dry surface in a well ventilated area, such as a patio or driveway, and cut 2 of the 10' sections of PVC pipe in half, making a total of 4 - 5' sections of pipe.

Step 3: Assemble With PVC Primer and Cement

Picture of Assemble With PVC Primer and Cement

Swipe the inside of the elbow pieces and the ends of the PVC pipe with the purple primer. Do not swipe the inside of the threaded elbows.

After the primer dries, attach the elbows to the ends of the two 5' section of pipe with the PVC cement.

Attach the 10' section of pipe to the unthreaded end of an elbow with PVC cement and press down firmly.

Step 4: Here's Your Basic Shape!

Picture of Here's Your Basic Shape!

After the cement will dries within a few minutes, carefully bend the 10' section of pipe and attached to the other unthreaded end of the 5' section of pipe with cement. Leverage might be needed to bend the pipe, such as leaning up against a wall to prevent slipping while bending the pipe.

Repeat instructions for framing the other side of your greenhouse.

Step 5: Cut Out the Pattern for the End Hoops.

Picture of Cut Out the Pattern for the End Hoops.

Lay down the cold frame end on the plastic sheeting and cut out the end piece to attach. Be sure to leave at least 6 inches overlap. Allow for corners to be cut out in an L and pleat curve side. Only cut pleats about half way into the sheeting. Do not cut all the way down to the pipe line.

See pattern below.

The black is the assembled pipe
The blue is the outline pattern for the plastic sheeting
The green is where to cut the L corners
The red is the pleating. More can be made if needed.

Step 6: Attaching the Plastic

Picture of Attaching the Plastic

Attach the plastic sheeting to the frame with zip ties starting with the straight edge. Be sure to tuck plastic around the pipe. Slice small holes through plastic close to the frame. I poked a few of my holes too far from the frame structure, but it still looks just fine. Pull ties tight and trim tails. Repeat all the way around the frame.

Step 7: Connecting the PVC

Picture of Connecting the PVC

Screw in threaded adapters to threaded elbow end. Attach the remaining 5 foot sections of pipe to the adapters to complete the frame. If you want a temporary structure, do not glue the bottom of your greenhouse pipe together. However, you will need duct tape or cement blocks to brace the base of your greenhouse. If you are using it out in the yard, you can also anchor it down with camping tent spikes.

Step 8: Covering the Frame

Picture of Covering the Frame

Cover frame with remaining plastic sheeting and cut to size.

Attach sheeting to frame ends with zip ties from top of frame to half way down. This will allow for access to the inside of your cold frame and will allow for airflow on windy days.

Edges of plastic sheeting can be weighed down with metal washers or clamped to frame.

Slice small holes in top of cold frame plastic to prevent rain water from puddling.

Step 9: Wow! That Was Easy!

Picture of Wow! That Was Easy!

A small cold frame greenhouse can be assembled in 1-2 hours. Cover your garden or pond to keep plants warm on cold winter days and nights!

Step 10: My Next Instructable

Picture of My Next Instructable

My next Instructable will be about how to build a snow country greenhouse and how to efficiently heat it with either solar or wind power. This picture shows heating with a dryer vent, which should only be used if put on a timer system.

If you have any questions or great ideas, please email me at!


:-) GAiL


LeiahM (author)2016-04-03

This will be destoyed in high winds. If you get high winds were you live do you self a favor and get thicker everything and reinforce where you can. I am now trying again :(

esbegan (author)LeiahM2016-04-23

ooff.. thanks for the tip, I live in Patagonia and we get some really high winds here, specially in summer.

JustinJ1 (author)2015-01-25

how long did it take to build the green house

JustinJ1 (author)2015-01-25

how long did it take to build the green house

SIRJAMES09 (author)2015-01-02

COOL! I love it!

It's a plain, simple, easy to build design.... 8 D

I had built something like this years ago for my chickens, but I use railroad ties & cattle panels for the frame. Over the top of this frame, I bought & used 3 heavy duty insulated tarps that were fastened to the frame with baling wire at the bottom & heavy duty plastic zip ties at the top.

For those that know not what cattle panels are, they are a type of fencing for cattle made from 1/4 inch stel rods welded together. they are (usually) 4 feet tall by 16 feet long. very sturdy, very weather resistant, & very heavy(both in weight & the way they are made).

Shahinreza (author)2014-11-29

This is a great instruct able and cheap able. Your steps are really active to build nice

home greenhouse for under $25. I saw a greenhouse company, to get new information about build an easy home greenhouse from that please visit here

Shahinreza (author)2014-11-29

This is a great instruct able and cheap able. Your steps are really active to build nice

home greenhouse for under $25. I saw a greenhouse company, to get new information about build an easy home greenhouse from that please visit here

Jms_0919 (author)2014-10-12

Thanks for doing this. I have a science fair project that I am doing that I am using plants to complete. This will help big time. It is fall right now and it happens to be due in winter so thanks!

johanna.waller.56 (author)2014-08-18

Can his be put on a wooden deck or would I need to contain the heat completely? I want to grow tomatoes and cucumbers during the winter in NC. Any suggestions on the best way to grow them based on the greenhouse structure you showed above? I can grow plants, and I can build this gh model. I just don't know what else to put in it i.e. heaters, black containers etc to be successful. Thank you for your help.

Darth_Reese (author)2008-11-20

Where am I to get "Visquene or Plastic Sheeting?"

Also, is there a way to seal it air tight?
I want to make a carbon-dioxide hiyperberic chamber, as is it was in the pre-flood era (Yeah, I'm a Christian, and proud of it!)

If any one reads this, you'll know why I want to build one. Think about it! A tomato tree, that can produce over 13,000 tomatoes in it life-span!

To bad I can't have a warehouse sized one. *sigh*

(I hope I did the URL link rightATMOSPHERIC EXPERIMENTS)

Better be careful, the Lord may not take kindly to you manipulating His creations in such a scientific manner. Recall that even in Sodom there existed a high level of technology and material comfort abounded, only to allow morality to be corrupted by sin. Remember, the Lord drowned the inhabitants of earth for a REASON! If He meant for this technology to be saved, he'd have told Noah to take it with him.

The best place to purchase visquene is at Lowes. They seem to have the best price. You can purchase it in small amounts to very large amounts. It all depends on your needs. The plastic can also be purchased at Home Depot and even online at eBay. The easiest way to make it more air-tight would be to caulk the holes and attach the sheeting to the base of the structure. I choose not to make mine air-tight so that a strong wind will not blow the structure down. Hope this helps! Please remember to tell your friends about me! HAPPY GARDENING GAiL

Tis looks like a terrific idea. It is pretty cold in the northeast today, but I will be thinking about this as a way to start my veggies early next spring. Thanks

Hey! You are welcome. Cold frames (mini greenhouses) are great for getting that jump start to the spring garden. However, I am working on a design to have a veggie garden year round. Thanks for the nice comment! You can check out more of my videos at and at :-)

froman (author)PondPlantGirl2013-11-20

This is very cute and petite. Just right for a temporary one for me. But you still did not explain why use the threaded extensions? I keep finding that in different places, but I create the stuff and omit it with no problems what so ever.
Oh, and your website specifications are a little bit more detailed. Reading this DIY I could not figure out what lenght PVC I needed until about half way down where it said to put the 5' one here, and the 10' there.
So you are saying buy this many 10' ones, and from those, cut this many into 5' ones to use at the base.

Can't watch the video, dial-up

That's sad, Darth. E-mail me and I will see about sending you a DVD. ;-)

johnny3h (author)PondPlantGirl2011-09-13

Hi all,   "Vizqueen" [sp?] is a brand name for the FIRST plastic film VAPOR BARRIER for use beneath Concrete floor slabs.  Before that tar paper ["builder's felt"] was used, with joints being sealed using hot melt Tar.

The Vizqueen made a much easier installation, and less chance for error and thus ground water vapor getting up into and through the Concrete slab and into the building.

Vizqueen first became available [I think] in the late 60s or early 70s, and since then there have been many competing brands to become available.

Plastic vapor barrier usually comes in long rolls, and one cuts off what is needed.  Due to multiple "fold-overs" the box in which the roll comes is only about 4 or 5 feet long.  One or the other brand of vapor barrier can be obtained at most Home Improvement stores [Lowes, Home Depot, Sutherland's, etc.], many of the local hardware supply stores, and most lumber yards.

froman (author)Saint_Awesome2013-11-20

In that case, get rid of your house, the furniture, the plumming, the toilet,etc. For you are messing around with God's creation in making sure you survive the brutal weather. If God wanted you to have a house, he would've given you one. Adam and Eve didn't have one, why should you? You can also get rid of your horse and buggy. God did not give you transportation of any kind. Walk naked and figure out what is God's will or not.
(yes, I believe this is a nice and constructive comment.)

shmacky26 (author)Saint_Awesome2008-11-21

And just exactly how do you know this?

Saint_Awesome (author)shmacky262008-11-21

Same way OP knew HIS 'pre-flood' information.

lukethedog (author)Saint_Awesome2008-11-22

This is a great instructable. I liked the YouTube video. But, please tell me how the religious wacko's found their way into this thread?

lahaina2wins (author)lukethedog2010-03-29

The whole idea is that "young earth creationists" believe in this "ice canopy" or something similar that involves higher atmospheric pressures allowing animals to have better oxygen saturation.  This would allow for reptiles to grow huge and for people to live 500-900 years.  It also neatly allows for global deluge theories (canopy collapses), catastrophic geological explanations, and short discussions on extinction and fossilization.  Best of all, it reduces the geologic time period to one that seems more reasonable to literal Bible believers, thus eliminating any need to ever question the book's integrity.
Hope this answer was enlightening...

PondPlantGirl (author)lukethedog2008-11-22

Luke - I haven't a clue! I would much rather talk about plants and better NATURAL ways to grow them. I lives are SO filled with chemicals which produce tons of health problems. I have a friend who lives across the street from an orchard. Her name is Robin. She decided to no longer breed koi, because when the orchard was sprayed with insecticide all of her fish would go belly up.

phoenixjen (author)PondPlantGirl2009-04-06

If people don't respond to them they usually stop posting. So it really is the posters that perpetuate the problem by replying to their posts.

lukethedog (author)phoenixjen2009-04-07

Hello - Gee thanks for your fantastic insight ! Five months later and you come up with such sage advice.

Darth_Reese (author)lukethedog2008-11-22

Hmmm. Good question.

shmacky26 (author)Saint_Awesome2008-11-24

You're just silly. Technology 10,000 years ago? I don't think so. You're just getting caught up in middle eastern fables. Haven't you noticed that most religions have come out of the middle east? And what about dinosaurs? What was their sin? Do we have to put religion as the cause of every natural disaster?

Innie (author)Saint_Awesome2009-09-11

Hi, The Lord gave us our brain with which to survive and has nothing against having a greenhouse, no matter how technologically advanced it may be. There is nothing sinful in it. It is only when man uses technology to go against God's will that he sins. I am Christian and know that much!

ok person if you think the bible says that growing plants in green houses is sinful then I would hate to think of what else you think is sinful that you're missing out on. go enjoy life, stop living in fear and start living!

TKDWILSON (author)Darth_Reese2010-04-08

If that was possible to do, I imagine someone would already have done it.  Plus, you make that thing airtight, the plants burn up all the carbon dioxide and die.  There is a reason animals are there.  Plus, tomatoes do not grow on trees.

Darth_Reese (author)TKDWILSON2011-05-19

I know tomatoes do not grow on trees, but what do you call something that grows 30 ft high?! Have any of you even looked at the URL? I admit it, it does not sound believable. Once I've done more research and money I am going to try this.

ToniB (author)Darth_Reese2011-07-03

Darth Reese: I looked at it. Fun and interesting site... and yes, I would call a 30 foot tall tomato plant a tree. Though technically incorrect, I knew what you meant, and am less picayune about such things.

Pondplantgirl... Loved the instructable. Thank you

Pizzapie500 (author)Darth_Reese2010-04-01

Sorry for a very late reply, but first of all, tomatoes don't grow on trees... (They grow like peppers)

lahaina2wins (author)Darth_Reese2010-03-29

First of all, you need a high altitude ice canopy.  Make sure no comets are in the area, or it could cause the fountains of the deep to burst forth.  Second, put a stop to all the silly global warming interventions that are ultimately designed to decrease CO2 contributions.  Finally, make sure no reptiles are in your hyperbaric CO2 chamber, as the associated increase in O2 will allow them to reach dinosauric size and strength, and they might turn against (you) their maker, just the way the rest of us have turned against our maker ;)

lasersage (author)Darth_Reese2010-03-29

I may be wrong but from what I remember:
plants can only use carbon dioxide whilst photosynthesising, during the night they use oxygen and release carbon dioxide. On this basis some old trees which don't do so much growing are supposedly releasing more carbon dioxide at night than they use in the day!
Anyway trees aside, if I'm right (and I think I am even though I didn't love biology at school), then you would not only need a carbon dioxide tent but also a constant supply of light, and you can't just seal in the carbon dioxide, the plants need a fresh supply as they will keep converting it into oxygen.

I don't feel any need to discuss religion in reference to this topic.

HiFiGator (author)2012-07-02

I just joined the party specifically to add this comment, so hopefully it might help somebody. I have been looking at numerous different plans for cheap greenhouses online all day long. For the most part, I like yours best congrats! But I did like one idea that I'm going to steal from another site, and I think it fits in perfectly here. You can kill two birds with one stone. The simple idea is to take pieces of rebar that are about a foot long and then pound them into the ground about halfway, leaving 5 or 6 inches sticking straight up out of the ground. Then use those as your anchor to attach the interior pvc supports to. The pvc is a good snug fit sliding over rebar. I don't know how to link pictures and so forth yet, so I hope I can explain it well enough. But basically, this will help anchor the greenhouse down for stability, plus you won't have any PVC running across the "floor" to trip over in the middle of the greenhouse. Incidentally, scrap pieces of rebar can be found at almost any construction site and pieces like that are just trash to them. You can also get them for free from concrete plants. Again, they are basically a nuisance to what they do. (I hope this is still true. I know it was before, but with the recent boom in scrap metal pricing, maybe the rebar is now "worth" something to them.

In any case, I hope this might help.

froman (author)HiFiGator2013-11-20

rebars are so hard to take out of the ground once you are done with them.

kewpiedoll99 (author)HiFiGator2012-10-10

I think you have suggested a spectacular mod on this instructable.

SIRJAMES09 (author)2013-06-26

years ago I made something like this to live in while I was "transitioning" between homes...

it lasted about a year & a half before it started to come apart....
all materials used were scavanged thru dumpster diving...

Excellent Ible, Thanks for sharing.

kewpiedoll99 (author)2012-10-10

Great instructable. I am planning to implement this or something slightly modded off it this weekend to extend my garden's growing season (for my cotton, in NJ!! Lest there be any doubt about global warming).

BUT I have a question as I am not too familiar with the pvc pipe fittings. Why do I need the threaded adapters? It seems like you only used them for the bottom pvc pieces; why didn't you need them to connect the pvc that arcs across the top as well? Thanks in advance for clarification on this point.

paulcw3 (author)2012-08-28

Thanks, this is just what we needed, and it came in at 20.00, we tried the pvc clips as earlier mentions by another post, and backed that up with some recycled hair clips, now when the freezing night come this winter we can save our outside potted plants :-)

lmartin621 (author)2012-07-31

This might sound silly... (I'm a first timer gardener) We just purchased a house with a huge fenced garden with raised beds and I have been having fun growing my veggies this summer. I wanted to build a greenhouse I could use to get my seeds started in spring without them getting damaged by all the excessive rain we get in the Pac NW.

can I use this model to start planting veggies/ flowers in Feb and March for next season or can I use to grow veggies year round?

donedirtcheap (author)2012-03-28

This would be great placed on top of a preexisting raised bed. Or I could tack together some low pallet walls and use this as the roof. Thanks for the idea.

ChalmersAbrams (author)2012-02-22

I love this idea. It's perfect for many of my clients who live in urban or suburban settings and can't build a large greenhouse. I'm going to link to this post in my newsletter, thanks for sharing!
custom home builder virginia

greenjedi (author)2011-02-19

Please, Don't feed the trolls. lol

anon_inkpen (author)2010-12-22

Awesome instructable! FYI, you can usually get free 3.5 mil plastic from mattress stores - after a delivery, they throw the bags out. a king size mattress bag is 70x80 inches.

greenjedi (author)anon_inkpen2011-02-19

Haha, I just got some from the dumpster about 2 days ago. And now I read this. I guess great minds think alike ;)

mhayawi (author)2010-07-16

good idea thanks

magnoliasouth (author)2009-04-13

I have a question, that is probably on the dumb side but I'm completely new to any of this. When I see plastic greenhouses such as these, they're always dome shaped. Is there a reason for this? Is square or rectangular a bad idea? Does it have to do with air circulation or is it a better hold for construction or something else entirely?

About This Instructable




Bio: Hello. I am the host of the pod cast, The Pond Plant Girl I am here, because I have tons of ideas about ... More »
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