Introduction: Poly Pipe Greenhouse and Shadehouse With Sprinkler System

Afternoon gardeners!

Here's an easy Shade house / Greenhouse build you can do on the cheap. I put most of it up myself today, it's really quite easy.

I've covered it in 70% shade cloth for the harsh Aussie sun.

It just kills everything if you miss one watering.

I only did a quick measure and sketch of what I wanted, the spacings of the pickets and used an online calculator to estimate the shade cloth required.

This is very sturdy and doesn't budge in the wind whatsoever, my wife actually hung from the centre of the poly support and it didn't shift at all.

The measurements of this shade house are 5.5 metres long by 2.5 metres wide, I later made a greenhouse ( more pics of this at the final step) of 6 metres x 5 metres using a similar design with the only differences being a treated pine frame around the base to hold the plastic in place and 3 ceder posts cemented in the ground to support my tomatoes this coming season

The larger greenhouse holds extremely well in harsh weather even with 6 meters between the star picket supports.

Step 1: Select Location and Gather Materials

The chosen area.

I chose this area as it gets minimal afternoon sun and decent morning sun, little wind also.

Very weedy though, I can't keep up with burning all of them!

Please note the bottom prices are quoted in the Australian dollar, however if you aren't located in Aus this will be of a great benefit, because we get crazy shafted price wise on many goods and services so you should be able to do this much cheaper, which is always nice.

Materials purchased:

10 x 1650 mm star pickets - $60 (Statewide irrigation)

20 meters of 2 inch green line rural grade poly - $90 (Statewide irrigation, just ask for the offcuts)

70% shade cloth - 20 x 3.6m - $350 (A local mum and dad nursery, a little steep but we like to support the locals)

Star picket post rammer - $55 (Home Hardware)

I also purchased a 50 metre roll of heavy duty builders plastic (300um grade - $400) to cover the ground in both houses, you'll find that with the temperature in the greenhouse and the awesome irrigation in the shade house you will get muchos weeds.

It was costing a fortune in butane to burn the weeds and because we try to avoid all chemicals on our block this seemed the best way to go.

Sprinkler system materials:

I don't have prices on the following because I bought bulk at a heavy discount when a local hardware closed down but the components for the sprinkler system comprised of:

13mm poly pipe - 30 metres

3 x 90 degree 13mm corner connections

3 x 'T' 13mm connections

1 x 13mm pipe to garden hose connection

20 full jet spray bits (50 piece contractor pack at Bunnings - you'll find a use for the rest)

You'll also need Weetbix for breaky and drinking water, lots and lots of water!

Garden twine - twist ties - cable ties - hand saw and other odd bits around the house my wife always tells me to throw out.

Step 2: Lets Get These Supports Up!

I rammed the star pickets down to 1250mm with the post rammer at equal lengths.

Although i'll most probably never use the rammer again it made the job a cinch!

Some ended up a bit wonky however.

I'll quickly put it together so nobody notices.

Step 3: Now We Are Cooking!

I cut the poly pipe into 4 and hoped I wouldn't donk my head walking in.

Perfect lengths!

This is where a second person (or extra morning weetbix) comes in handy, slide one end of poly halfway on to one picket and half on the other.

Work it down side by side until it is right to the ground or at your needed height.

The 2 inch poly slides fantastically over the star pickets, it was made for this!

Step 4: Test the Stability - Are You Happy?

I've shaken and rocked it so much and I'm extremely happy with it's stability. I'm so confident it'll stand the test of time i'll be putting all my precious orchids under it!

If yours is a bit shaky, perhaps get longer star pickets.

We're based on heavy clay here so it's not an issue. You could cement the pickets in too, but it will be a lot less moveable in the future - if need be.

I put the shade cloth over half before it got too dark to continue. I'll cover the other half tomorrow and sew the two halves together with UV stabalised thread.

To tie the shade cloth to the poly I just used black cable ties and they worked a treat.

I ended up using the last two star pickets at the ends, I couldn't think of another use for them and I kinda wanted to play with the post rammer a little more!

For the door I'm just going to use velcro and have a flap of the shade cloth I can just lift up as needed. I just need to figure out what will accompany the orchids in there. I'm leaning toward putting a fish tank for the aquaponic system in there which would keep it nice and cool.

Step 5: Let's Make Some Rain!

Pic 1 - I'm adding in the watering system here before I put the other half of the cloth on, I have 3 runs of 13mm poly.

1 length right in the middle and 1 either side halfway between the fully straight pipe and the top water line.

This a simple way to fix the pipe to the uprights, 1 screw and a bit of twist and tie (Pic 2)

In the near future I may end up replacing these with cable ties, but for now they hold the water weight remarkably well.

I'll best demonstrate the system in the funky diagram below:

Funky Diagram:

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| <--- This is the 3rd 'T' connection that has the hose fitting on the end, just plug in your hose and wallah!

PIC 4 - The pipe heading down ends up as PIC 5, plug and play!

PIC 6 - A bit hard to see but i've marked out the locations with white dots of where the spray jets will be located along the runs of 13mm pipe.

The jets spray more like a cone shape really, so i've positioned them on an angle so when they are spraying neither the downward or upward facing spray will hit the shade cloth.

PIC 7 - This pic shows the cone shape I mentioned. I used to use micro sprayers for most of the pipework through my garden beds, but since I have gone the full spray I won't go back, although sometimes I put micro sprays between the the full circle jets, mostly because I still have so many left...

You'll also notice I don't use clamps on the ends of my fittings. I never have.

You only ever need them if the pressure entering the system is far more than what can exit out through the sprayers.

Generally you can just turn the tap down a little, or sometimes I use reducers at the start of the system, limiting the pressure that enters.

Step 6: The BIG Sew!

Lay the cloth alongside the frame, then hoist it up.

I fixed it temporarily by just using a few cable ties to hold it in place. I hung the nylon reel in the middle loosely so it was easy to pull for more string.

I started in the middle and worked my way to the back, then unreeled the reel and worked my way to the front.

Using a pattern like this:


Going up through the shade cloth (one part on top of the other) across the top about 2 inches then back through to the bottom, across the bottom 2 inches and back up. Just think of waves.

The drawing above is the best I could do!

Step 7: Finishing It All Off

Once you have sewn the top and ends together use the leftover nylon string to fix the cloth around the uprights at each end, just wrap and tie off.

PIC 2, 3 & 4 - I needlepointed fishing line and velcro on the entrance for a no fuss door.

I also used a little leftover velcro and hung it on the side so I'm able to hold back the flaps when I want a little more air in the shade house.

PIC 5 & 6 - Open and closed door - Note the seam line up top left of centre.

And lastly Pic 7!

This last pic show how well the sprayers do their job.
They were on for around 5 seconds fully when I took this pic - I took a well deserved walk through and came out soaked!

There is not a spot they don't get.

Step 8: Finished!

What i've learnt:

If you can get a second set of hands to help, DO IT!

You will get the shade cloth tighter, and everything will just be easier in the end.

I wasn't about to pull my wife away from a much needed nap with our 10 week old to help out, so rest assured you're very able to complete this solo, just take your time.

I'd also put the shade cloth up before the watering system next time, it wasn't harder or anything but I got so red raw burnt in the sun and didn't really notice until now how much.

I've also added pictures of the greenhouse build I did using a almost identical system, but using cedar post ends to support my tomatoes and a treated pine frame around the base to get that film nice and tight.

Be sure to slip, slop, slap and don't forget the weetbix!!

Any improvements or ideas, please share!!

If you loved this instructable be sure to vote for me in the Outside & Gardening Contest and i'll be sure to put out some more diy's for us all!

Much love,


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