Introduction: Green House Project
The Green House project was a plan that my wife and I came up last year because of the frost we had February 2015 that killed some of our palm trees and plants. We decided to purchase the Palram Model # 702422 Internet # 204471274 Victory Orangery 10 ft. x 12 ft. Garden Chalet Greenhouse through Home Depot because it was the cheapest and I would get my veterans discount. It took three tries and three discounts later because of shipping and packaging problems but we finally received the kit for less than we started. The extra money we saved we purchased wall vents, shade nets, and Arctic Cove mist system as a sprinkler system inside the green house. The first picture is the completed green house without the sprinkler system. The second and third picture is the dimensions photo of the greenhouse as posted on Home Depot's website. The wife wanted me to build it as it looked on the website, which I did but I upgraded the greenhouse to have the side vents, electrical outlet, switch for future light, shade, and sprinkler system. The greenhouse normally runs about $2,290.75 /each put with the three discounts that I mentioned before it cost me around $1790.
Step 1: Clearing and Grubbing
The wife and I like our spaces open so we looked for a spot in the back yard that would give the greenhouse the most sun throughout the day and at the same time show off its beauty. So I marked with stakes a location on the east side of the backyard and went and rented a sod removal mower from Home Depot for a day. I removed the sod for an area 14 feet by 12 feet to accommodate the 12 foot by 10 foot greenhouse. I gave myself a foot overhang on the deck for maintenance, security of the greenhouse, and looks. I would have to move two lawn sprinklers to accommodate the floor of the greenhouse and I would also have to tap into the existing lawn sprinkler PVC pipe as a way to get water into the inside mist system I was going to add later.
Step 2: Deck Frame and Water System
I backed up my pickup truck with the lumber and sack rocks that I would use for the floor system. After leveling the ground and removing all the grass I laid out the deck frame 24 inches on center. I used seven 2"x6"x14' pressure treated lumber starting from the back to the front and used two 2"x6"x12' pressure treated boards for the left and right sides. Normally you would place down the crush rock first and tamp but I decide to do the rock differently so I would not have to tamp and worry about settling. The ground was not disturbed a lot when I cleared the sod so I built the frame straight onto the ground with small blocks to level as needed. At this stage I had to move two sprinkler heads and make my first upgrade to the greenhouse. I tapped into the 3/4 inch PVC pipe of the lawn sprinkler system in order to have a way to get water into the greenhouse. Existing sprinkler pipe was 3/4 inch pipe which would give me great water pressure going from 3/4 inch to 1/2 inch pipe inside the greenhouse. Note: all lumber was fastened together with 3.5 inch construction screws since the deck would be consistently getting wet from the rain, lawn sprinklers, and inside mist system.
Step 3: Deck Frame and Rock for Drainage
After building the frame I ensured it was squared and I started placing landscaping cloth between the floor joist and and then added 2"x4" blocking between the joist. Putting the cloth first made it easier to place it down. I then proceeded with the rock. Since the rock came in bags I just started pouring one bag after another leveling with my foot until every part of the frame was filled. I started in the back and came forward. I chose landscaping cloth to help stop most of the weeds and grass from growing later and the rock for drainage away from the frame as the mist system came on.
Step 4: Deck Board Placement and Painting
The deck was 1"x6"x12' pressure treated deck lumber. I checked for squareness of the floor frame and started placing the deck boards working from the outside into the middle. I did that so that the deck would look uniformly and also because I had to cut out the 3/4" hole for the sprinkler system pipe in the center. I used 3" long construction screws to secure the decking down. I used 1 gallon of red deck paint and 1 gallon of clear coat from Sherwin Williams. I braced the deck boards on one side first to paint the edges and then after three coats I flipped them over and painted the other side. I painted the frame of the deck before fastening the deck boards down so that you would not see the bear wood in between the spacing of the deck. Spacing was a 1/4 inch which I used some scrap wood as spacers. Once I secured the deck down with the 3 inch screws I proceeded to paint the deck and the side of the frame with three coats of paint. Afterwards I used the clear sealant over the deck paint to ensure it was waterproofed.
Step 5: Greenhouse Inventory and Layout
The greenhouse came in two boxes. I box had all the metal frame and hardware and the other box had the clear wall panels and roof panels. The wife and I went line by line inventorying and laying all like items on the ground. This way as I looked at the picture diagram I could match numbers and pick items easily. I marked the center of the front of the deck and then I drew a chalk line on all sides of the deck marking the outside edges of the metal floor frame. By doing this I had a one foot space all around the metal frame. Once this was accomplished I found my center and laid out the front door thresh plate and secured it down. From there I worked to my left securing the metal frame, using the carpenters square for the angle parts. Once the left side was secure I did the same for the right side ensuring every thing was on line with chalk marks. I then laid out the left wall bottom plate and then the right side wall bottom plate. Then the back bottom plate went in. I checked for squareness on last time before continuing to the walls. Even though the instructions did not call for a lot of screws going down into the floor deck, I ensure I added extra screws every foot so that the greenhouse was secured properly to the deck.
Step 6: Wall Frame and Clear Panels
After the bottom plate was secured down and double checked for squareness I proceeded with the wall frame and clear panels. The wall frame was built out of single metal bars screwed in with only one screw at the bottom, so care needed to be taken so they would not get damaged. Once all the bars were stood up the clear panels were slid down the grooved edges of the frame and the walls started to take shape. Cross bracing bars on top would keep everything together until the roof system was put in. At this point I made my second up grade which was the two side vents. I placed a vent on the left and right walls for air circulation. The clear panel that came with the vent kits were to small for my greenhouse so I had to go to Lowe's and buy a piece of Plexiglas to fill in the bottom gap. Once the Plexiglas was in you cannot tell the difference. As the wall frame were installed I added extra long screws for my third upgrade which was the metal shelving that we purchased. Because of the way the greenhouse is constructed I had to add the bolts for the shelving ahead of time to same me time later.
Step 7: Roof Frame and Panels
Once all the wall frame and panels were up I proceeded with the roof frame. I started in the front and then worked my way to the back. Once the back roof panels were done I placed the roof vents in. After the vents were in it came time for the two cable tie downs of the greenhouse. The tie down cable and anchors come with the greenhouse. I decided to mount the tie down anchors to the floor joist using the 1/2 inch lag screws that came with the kit. Cable came with four saddles for the four corners but you really need to have two saddles in each of the corners at a minimum. So I went to Lowe's and bought four more saddles and put them on. At this point I added the shelves at the same time the roof system went in because of the way the back wall is built. The back wall has vertical braces that go in at the end construction and take up the area you need to mount the shelves. So I modified the vertical braces by drilling holes for the shelving bolts and then put everything together at the same time. Once it was completed you can't tell the difference if it was factory made or not. Doors were the last part of the greenhouse kit to go up. Doors were simple to put together and place in the door frame. The instructions for the greenhouse were all picture drawings with numbers, no wording except for safety in the beginning. So inventory and layout made the construction go up smoothly. Looking ahead also ensured a smooth build because the pictures are black and white and not the greatest.
Step 8: Sprinkler System Layout
The next upgrade was the mist system inside the greenhouse. We bought the Arctic Cove mist system to use as a sprinkler system in the greenhouse. We did not want a lot of water being poured out onto the plants as you would get in a regular sprinkler system. The mist kit comes with 1/2 inch PVC pipe, 6 mist heads, elbows, unions, mounting brackets, PVC glue, filter, and hose adapter. I used a total of four kits mainly for the mist heads as it is cheaper buying the kit than just the heads alone. I also bought two 10 foot pieces of 1/2 inch PVC pipe for the long runs I had to make in the corners. I only used two of the mounting brackets for the outside of the greenhouse and one can of cement since I already had a can on hand. I first drew out what I wanted on paper and then laid out the system coming in off of the existing sprinkler system. I had the 3/4 inch PVC line coming in off the lawn sprinklers which was good for the summer time but then I need for the winter. I used parts of the Mr. Sprinkler kit I had left from last years sprinkler project and used that as my greenhouse secondary water source for the all season system. I laid out the left side for the all season and the right side for the summer. I used two water filters that came in the kits, one for each side and also put to shut off valves one on each side that I bought from Lowe's. Both systems run into a single 1/2 inch PVC pipe which supplies the entire mist system. The all season was run out the back of the greenhouse and hooked into the Mr. Sprinkler system as shown in the picture and also at the end of the presentation. All PVC pipes for the entire mist system was first cut and put into place without cementing. This ensure a good fit and if any adjustments had to be made I could do that.
Step 9: Painting and Remounting
Once all measurements, plumbing and placement of mist heads were confirmed I took it all down and glued parts together so I could paint each piece of the system. I taped the ends and the sprinkler heads so paint would not get on pieces that would make contact with the PVC glue or so that the heads would not get clogged up. I then painted parts of the system that were mounted to the shelves silver and parts that were out in the open metallic. Once everything was dried I then went in and put everything back together in its appropriate spot. As you look in the pictures you will see parts of the plumbing that come into contact with the wall frame in the top corners and bottom corners. This is because the PVC plumbing is actually bracing or holding up the system. This way I did not have to drill or build some kind of support, the pipes support the system up. I can also tap into these areas later if I want to add on to the system or make modifications. The system does not move, shake or vibrate when turned on and the mist is a low shower of water that you can barely see in the pictures. I also drilled holes in the bottom of the shelves and used zip ties to support the pipes. I used Pelram bolts that I had left over to secure the top pipe in the back part of the greenhouse. Those bolts you can not see and the pipe appears to be wedged between the vertical brace and the roof frame.
Step 10: Hooking Up to Mr. Sprinkler Timer
Once everything was put back together on the inside of the greenhouse I proceeded to connect the all season water source. I attached a 3/4 inch threaded nipple on to the inside plumbing and attached a Mr. Sprinkler hose attachment to that. I then ran the black outdoor water pipe up along the fence. The black water pipe is an above ground water line that comes with the Mr. Sprinkler kit. When I got to my seven foot drive through back gate I dug a small trench and placed the pipe in the trench. Before I back filled the trench I used some extra 3/4 inch PVC pipe and slid it over the black pipe to give it protection from driving over it with the riding lawn mower and the occasional pickup truck. I then back filled the trench and put the grass back in and proceeded with laying out the rest of the black pipe along the fence and around the brick ball of the house. I then used a double headed outdoor faucet to attach the existing Mr. Sprinkler system and the new Mr. Sprinkler system to the timer. This way during the winter I can shut the outdoor system off and still have the greenhouse system on. The timer is connected to the water main which is also connected to my Culligan water filter system. I tapped into the main last year when I was working on the sprinkler system. The timer has its own filter and then I have the filters inside the greenhouse for both systems. The Mister Sprinkler Timer works great!
Step 11: Electrical and Shade
Last upgrade was installing electrical outlet and a light switch for lights later on. I also bought the shade system with the extra money we saved and hung one panel up. The electrical is all outdoor electrical PVC pipe, grey 2/12 grounded cable, plastic electrical boxes. Outlet is GFCI protected just in case. Thermometer cost $2. I painted the electrical black so it would blend into the frame of the greenhouse. I am still looking for a small light weight, wet area, single bulb, fluorescent fixture to put into the greenhouse for at night. A heater is not necessary at this point as it got down below freezing and it was 60 degrees in the greenhouse with the vents closed and door shut.