Picture of Build an Easy 5 x 5 Home Greenhouse for under $25
5x5_0202.jpg 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.
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HiFiGator2 years ago
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.
rebars are so hard to take out of the ground once you are done with them.
I think you have suggested a spectacular mod on this instructable.
SIRJAMES091 year ago
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.
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.
paulcw32 years ago
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 :-)
lmartin6212 years ago
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?
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.
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
anon_inkpen4 years ago
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.
Haha, I just got some from the dumpster about 2 days ago. And now I read this. I guess great minds think alike ;)
mhayawi4 years ago
good idea thanks
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?
Could also be because round is easier to build, and allows rain to run off instead of pooling up and collapsing the structure.
Why are they round rather than rectangular? Round encloses more space with less marerials and has less surface for radiant and conductive or convective heat transfer. 

Heat could be stored into the evenings in buckets or barrels of water. Black buckets or barrels would absorb the sun's heat and light releasing it at night.
Thank you! I really do appreciate that answer. :)
Pizzapie5005 years ago
I made one of these last summer (without looking at this instructable). Mine was a bit different, it had a triangle roof and was a little bigger than 5x5. Also I used clear table plastic cloths that I found in the dollar store. Only problem was that I never got around to use it since I built it in the late summer and all the plants were already planted. I ended up taking it down in the fall. (Taking it apart was tough since I used pvc cement to glue them together).
CapnChkn5 years ago
Now people, you know all these things work on Magic, and not Science.-  I applaud your use of technology that removes all the radiation above the visible Violet and below the visible Red spectrum.  Who needs all those pesky frequencies?  As for the trees using up all our oxygen, I say we cut them all down and while we're at it, kill all the bugs!

Who will join me in the new revolution!
dkfa5 years ago
Theoretically, this would be helpful for a cannabis user?
omnibot dkfa5 years ago
Theoretically this could be used as an oxygen tent alá Michael Jackson.
Not thinking he needs one so much anymore. :P
jrwygant6 years ago
Instead of zip ties I've been using very short lengths of the PVC pipe, maybe 1/2 to 1-inch, that are then sliced open. They slip over the other PVC and plastic tarp to make great removable clamps. They were the idea of wife Sandy after I complained of not having a good way to fasten on the tarp. The one in the photo has been stretched open from use, but it was just cut straight across. I've had one of these hot houses for several years and always get 30-60 days head start on my vegetables.
How do you cut the PVC pipe?
I used a cheap replaceable-blade hand saw, the kind that has a U-shaped frame with a thin blade stretched between the ends. I sawed off a short length of pipe first, maybe about a 1/2-inch, producing a ring. Then I sawed a small gap across the ring to permit it to open. The PVC pipe saws very easily.
Thanks for responding. I am assuming you are talking about a hack saw - see the picture on this link.

If so, how did you hold the pvc pipe so that you didn't cut your fingers. Sorry for the silly question.
A hacksaw is used mostly for cutting metal, although pretty much any kind of saw will work. I was actually referring to a coping saw, which is cheaper and smaller:
The coping saw also has less risk of cutting fingers, since it's smaller and lighter. PVC comes is long lengths, so you can hold it well back from where you're cutting. A vise works best to hold it but is not necessary.
Ahhhh, never heard of a coping saw. Thanks for the link and info.
A hacksaw will cut through pvc just fine. No need to go out and buy a coping saw unless you need help coping.
yep, coping saws are primarily for sawing intricate shapes, not straight lines. Mine actually has a far rougher blade than my hack saw, a hack saw, or junior hack saw is the ideal tool for cutting this plastic, though you can butcher it with many tools, scissors, tin snips etc.

I saw similar fancy green houses for sale in the garden centre, but they're were made by folding the pvc sheet over, then sewing it. It looked like it was just done on a sewing machine so I just bought the pvc sheet at a fraction the cost of the kit and sewed it on my girlfriends machine. Its been going for two years now and still not come apart. Brilliant solution.
We don't have plastic pipes and all connectors though, we just use bent hoops of stiff wire stuck in the ground.
PondPlantGirl (author)  jrwygant6 years ago
That is a fantastic idea! I will be sure to pass the information on.
Thanks. My wife gets credit. I forgot to mention that I built my hot house over a 4x8' raised bed, with embedded PVC in the corners (slightly larger diameter than the tarp supports), into which I slip the bowed verticals that support the tarp. It makes take up/down quick and easy.
linda44445 years ago
We are doign this over 2 x 8 framed raised beds. Drilling holes is the 4x4 supports and bending the pvc into the holes will create the frame for the plastic, and can be easily removed when the plants get to tall.
Seth Black5 years ago
...very nice Instructable. Just a suggestion: Instead of cutting small holes, and using zip ties, cut some PVC clips from surplus pipe, and snap them over the top of the plastic, and onto the framework. They'll hold the plastic tightly to the frame, and there won't be any holes to keep an eye on...
PVC Clip.jpg
oooo nice idea! I have had problems in the past with cut holes through plastic and zip ties so I was worried about that!
This is coolio
skcactus5 years ago
Hi, I have a question how to bend PVC pipe to join? and the Plastic cover is strong not to blow away in wind? I live in North East (Philadelphia, PA) and grow cactus. Please let me know. Thanks in advance.
I just finished mine yesterday. So far, I've planted lettuce and some other mixed greens thingy. Here it is.
Have you got any buds yet. Where did you put yours, I can't find where mine can go.
You know where I put it genius. For all the other people, it's about 15 feet in the air on top of a wooden play set.
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