Simple Easy Greenhouse





Introduction: Simple Easy Greenhouse

I started this project out of a necessity to start my seeds early. I live in New England where the weather is downright unfriendly for starting seedlings in the ground. I went looking through several hundred websites to find a simple greenhouse that would be inexpensive or easy to make. After hours of fruitless searching, I ended up designing my own. It is 5 foot by 10 foot long, but It can be scaled down or up to fit any size you need.

I broke this down into many steps to make it easier. This is such a simple project that even a couple of kids can do it with little to no adult supervision.

This whole unit costs less than $25.00, but gives you the room of a $500 greenhouse.

The whole assembly to less than 20 minutes from start to end.

This is my first post, but hopefully with success it will entice me to post more.

Step 1: Collecting the Supplies

The very first step you need to do is collect all your supplies. Below is a list of the supplies and the cost that I paid.
Cost (est) Total

A 6 1/2" Schedule 40 PVC Pipe 10' Plain End $1.25 $7.50
B 6 1/2" "T" Connector $0.30 $1.80
C 4 1/2" 90' Elbow $0.25 $1.00
D 0.5 10 Ft. x 25 Ft. Clear 6 Mil Consumer Sheeting $26.20 $13.10
(Enough to make 2 mini greenhouses)

And a cup of coffee or a soda.
(this project will be completed before your coffee can get cold for your soda warm!)

Total cost (minus your drink and taxes) comes to& $23.40

Step 2: Gathering the Tools You Will Need

There are a lot of tools that you will need .

Tape measure (at least 10 feet long)
Marker of some type (a sharpie works wonders)
Razor knife or scissors (to cut the plastic sheet)
A saw capable of cutting PVC (I used my saw-all, but with kids they could use a hacksaw).

If you're trying to do this alone, like I was, I used a couple of clamps and saw horses to work on.

Step 3: Start Measuring

Mark 56 inches on two of the 10 foot poles.

Step 4: More Measuring

Cut 56 inches again offer the same 2 pipes (You will be able to get two sections out of each pole, with a left over piece of 8 inches). Do not throw that away, it will be used very soon.

Step 5: And Still More Measuring

Take the 2 eight inch pieces of pipe you have leftover, and cut them in half (4 inches each).
This is all the pieces you need (and should have) to make the greenhouse.

Step 6: And the Final Measuring

Take another 10 foot pipe and cut it to 60 inches long (basically in half).

Step 7: All of the Cut Are Finished

Now you should have

2 pipes 60 inches long
4 pipes 56 inches long
4 pipes 4 inches long

Coffee is still warm…

Now on to assembling…

Step 8: Assembly Time

Make sure you have enough room to assemble it (recommend doing it where you're going to put it).
Start off with one 90' elbow
Next add 4 inch piece
Connect to T connector
Add on 56 inch pipe
Add another T connector
Add on another 56 inch pipe
Add another T connector
At another 4 inch piece
And finally add in another 90° elbow

Make sure elbows are parallel to the ground while T connectors are pointing upward.

Repeat the above steps making sure the elbows are pointed in the other direction.

Now you should have all of the ground frame altogether.

Step 9: Connecting the Sections Together

Now to take the 2 60 inch pieces and adjust your side legs to the width.

Step 10: Time to Go Upward

Take your three remaining 10 foot pieces of pipe and insert them into the T connectors on one side. Then bow them over to the opposite side connector. Do not worry about the middle one trying to bow the frame outward. As you can see by my second picture, I used a piece of rope to straighten it out.

Step 11: Time to Cover It

Unroll your plastic sheet to the length of the greenhouse (I unrolled the whole thing and folded in half to cut it in half with a razor knife).
Then carefully unfold and slide the sheet over the framework. (I was doing this alone and it was windy, so I had to use clamps to hold it in place.)

Depending on the size in length of your greenhouse you have to adjust plastic sheet so one end is close. If you need to, add a small piece to the open end to seal it (don't forget you need to be able to get into it).

Step 12: Keeping the Edges Down

Use duct tape along the sides to hold the plastic sheet down to the frame. And voila, you're all done. All you need to do now is to put your plants in there.

And you're coffee never got cold.



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    27 Discussions

    When was this Instructables posted? Because there is a substantial difference in the prices of materials.

    I am going to give this a try soon, we are in East TN. Something I would like to add is the use of some pallets inside the greenhouse. Cold ground sucks the heat right out of larger (non shelved) planters. Also going to stuff a ton of fall leaves inside the pallets. We will be using some already mentioned ideas to keep the greenhouse from flying to next county (securing it to ground). With grow lights and a small heater (w/thermostat). Thanks for the instructable and great ideas in comments !!

    Nice work on the plan. Im diving in, thanks for the instructions.

    pretty good instructions but one cord across wasn't enough, I needed four. I was every lucky not to be standing next to it when it popped. If the cord was mentioned earlier, like before putting in the uprights I might have avoided it. Thanks for the good instructions otherwise!

    A really well documented instructable! I'll definitely be making one of these for late fall lettuces and then for seedlings next spring! It's also a great place to hide any potted plants that didn't make it in the ground before it froze (I tend to over buy :P)

    i also live in NE and wonder when you start your seeds outside? month? i start mine indoors about feb/march time span...  please let me know and i plan of building one of these soon because it rocks... peace.

    anyone tell me what the sheeting is called in UK and where to get it i cant find it anywhere lol

    4 replies

    Can by bought at B&Q; , I think its just builders polythene used under concrete flooring I have also saw it in Homebase garden section

    bandq general purpose builders sheet it looks a bit brown when wrapped but works fine dont use duct tape to make joins just sew it with cheap white plastic string with wide stitching at least 2 inch overlap and more than one inch between the stiches. It will hold up against all the elements here in the uk . Two sheets will give you a 6-7 foot wide 12 foot long by about 6 1/2 foot high. Use the white pvc pipe for hoops (widest for the bottom thinnest for the bend at the top) that drop into reclaimed ceiling joists or floor joists running the length of the greenhouse. Use roof batons to make the door frame and something a lot lighter for the door. I will try and post a photo of mine for you tomorrow Best Wishes Nigel

    thanks mate and i will be building that then , also please do let me know when you post yours

    Polythene? Visqueen? I seem to recall it being called those things in British articles/books I've read.

    You've left out a key detail. What are doing to seal the ends? You will have no frost protection at all if the ends are left open and the overnight temperature inside will be the same as it is outside.

    1 reply

    I know what you mean. I had the same concerns, that's why I made my greenhouse with three sections of 56 inches and then used the whole roll of sheeting so that I would have an extra five feet at each end. you can then duck tape one end and leave a door at the other using those grip clamps to close it night. see my above post for more details. hope this was helpful and if you have any suggestions for me, I would welcome them.

    I just built one last night and it works great! I do however have a suggestion that would greatly improve it. if you buy one more to foot pipe, you can lash to all three arches on the top. it will greatly improve the sturdiness for just a couple of bucks and it shouldn't take more than five minutes to make three square lashes. I think it is well worth the effort. also, the thing I like most about this is that you can make it bigger if you want. I made mine with four sections of 56 inches and it works great. costs a little more, but if you need more space it's great. I am experimenting with how to make the top removable for easier working and watering and also with an irrigation system with the top pipe I mentioned. I will post results when I am done. anyone else got any suggestions for these problems? I'd love to hear them!

    never had a greenhouse before so I have a question: does it require any heating, and if so, what could I use for this unit?

    Hi: Here in Ottawa, 23 April, its still cool (12C°) and it will be - 3C° but the temp will soar to summer on Sat. Unless you provide ventletation your seedlings will fry! I suggest that you mak a seties of approx 8 in. slashes, running perpendicular from the ridge beal. Start the slash abour 4 in. from the ridhe beam. During the day it will allow the 30 to 35 C°air to escape. In the evening as the plastic cools the gaps will close and shrinks. LarryB.

    We've done this before, but differently. Drive rebar stakes into the ground, and slide your PVC over the stakes. So, your hoop goes from stake to stake. No need for a ground framework. The tension of the bend and the friction between the rebar and the pipe holds the PVC onto the rebar pretty well.

    That is a great idea! By my figuring it would be about 4 1/2' tall, is that about right? Would this project be Scalable? Could you use 6 10' pieces with couplings to raise the height? (And probably a little extra on the sides for support) Any way to seal it up tight and still have a door that you can think of? I live in AZ and would be looking for a way to maintain humidity in the Greenhouse.

    1 reply

    Excellent idea, and amazing to think of just how scalable this idea would be in action. It wouldn't be difficult at all to make a larger walk in unit. I would think taping the plastic to the pipes inside would add to the stability/tenacity. If only I didn't live in a 3rd story apartment....