This is a multi-use structure that I (and bunch of other helpful folks) built using some recycled materials and some new. All in all it's been a great project and I'm looking forward to enjoying it all year round.
The reason it's currently being touted as a multi use structure is to get the OK from my wife and kids to build it. Not easy! Yoga hut for the wife, club house for the kids, and a greenhouse for yours truly. So far that moniker has forced me to think outside the box as far as shelving, space, and function. So far it's perfect for all three. I have a few tweaks to make here and there but so far so good. The following will take you through the high points. If you have questions don't hesitate to reach out!
Step 1: Everyone Has a Plan Until They Get Punched in the Mouth ~Jack Reacher
Here's a bunch of drawings none of which ended up being the final product, but it will give you an idea of my thought process and where I ended up. So the main two audibles I had to call were the tree and the roof. The roof in all the drawings had the slope towards the door which in hindsight was dumb. Dumb dumb dummy dumb. Nobody is perfect none the less. Ascetically and runoff wise the side slope was much better. Also I wouldn't have rain water falling on my head when I walked through the front door. All and all it turned out much better with this change.
The tree was going to be one of four posts. When the day came to actually do it, I realized that the time to do this would not be worth the lost framing time. Better to have love and lost eh?!?
Step 2: The Foundation
One thing I've learned throughout this entire process is that if you stick with what you know you can't go wrong (for the most part). In the pictures you'll notice the corner of my existing garden which has the exact same structure as I used for the greenhouse foundation. Basically it's cement block over pea gravel that has been tamped down and "leveled". I dug a ditch about 10" deep and filled it with 5-8 inches of pea gravel. I used string and steaks to mark off my square which worked great to keep things level as well. I spent a lot of time on this getting everything as square and level as humanly possible. I think this saved my hide later on in the build. Outside of that there was no rhyme or reason to the dimension or the depth. I dry fitted most of the block before dumping the pea gravel to make sure I wouldn't have to redo my trench but most everything with this step was straight forward.
Step 3: Framing... Yuck / Windows Yeaaa!!!
This part I had the least to do with. I can do a bunch of things but understanding the dynamics of framing is not one of them. I think it's all those fractions. This is one of those pieces where I had to refer to the experts. I have a family member who apparently loves this stuff who volunteered to help me through it. He did all the cutting/measuring and I did the nailing which worked just fine for me.
For the framing we had to basically frame around the stock of windows and the door that I had on hand. I had been collecting windows all summer from craigslist and neighbors who were gracious enough to donate their castoffs. At the time of the build I had more than I thankfully needed. I also lucked out and had 16+ of the 30 1/4 x 31 1/2 which finished both large walls. For the door wall I had 4 perfect sized windows to frame the door. The door came with my house. The previous owners really hated doors apparently?!?! Who knows but they left me a bunch of them. For the back wall we were able to completely fill it in with windows.
I really want to drive the point home that I started with the windows and worked the framing from there. Mainly because I had the windows on hand. And they were free :)
To attach the windows I placed the window in the framed out space and used 1x2s to trim the inside boarder of the window. Front there I drilled pilots then attached the windows from the inside to the 1x's. This was tedious and very time consuming but it worked great to seal the windows as well as to secure the structure. Everything was very flimsy until the windows and trim started to come together. Once everything was in the whole structure was solid.
Step 4: Plastic Wrap Time
For the roof and the lower part of the walls and the roof I used 16 mil clear sheathing from the Depot. I used a cool trick to get the roof on tight. This may work for you if you ever need to put a plastic roof on any stricture. From what most people have told me, it's a pain and near impossible on a windy day. With this trick you can do it in pretty much any condition.
1. Lay out enough sheathing to cover the roof plus two feet.
2. Cut two 1x4 to the length of your structure to sit on the front and back ends of the roof joists
3. Attach the 1x4 to each end of the sheathing with a staple gun
4. Roll the 1x4s into the sheathing equally like your rolling an ancient map
5. Transfer the whole works to the roof and unroll the "map"
6. Make sure the 1x4 is rolled in a manner that the water will not get caught when running off the roof but will rather roll over and off the roof. If this is not the case just flip the whole thing over and unroll
7. Attach the front or back end to the end of the roof joist
8. For the other end, pull the 1x4 tight to the point where you can barely fold it down over the end of the joist
9. Attach the end of the 1x4.
10. Go have a beer
For the lower wrap I just cut the plastic to fit and pulled it tight over the openings. The only thing that I had left to do was to close the remaining gaps on each corner and around the door with treated 1x6 which fit great and looked great as well.
Step 5: Let There Be Floor!!!
The floor was a pretty straight forward process. Here's how I went about it:
How to get bricks for free:
1. Search Craigslist for a shady free brick deal
2. Pick up said bricks from creepy abandoned ship yard
3. Stuff as many bricks in the back of your truck before you end up tied up and gagged in someone's basement
Level your surface:
I used a 2x4 to level the ground by shimmying the board from right to left as I drug it along the floor. Works just like in the movies!!!
Laying the bricks:
I installed my bricks in a temporary fashion. I will be removing them next fall to put in a geothermal setup which I didn't care to do this year. So all I did was put down a plastic sheathing and laid the bricks in as tight as possible. Things settled after a while and the bricks ended up with dips here and there, but I'm not too concerned about that right now. if I was going to do a permanent install I would have packed it in with sand.
Step 6: Icing on the Cake
At this point I added a few items I thought would be useful while not taking up too much space. And if it did I want to be able to easily move it out of the way.
I made this out of scrap wood and lined the inside with leftover plastic.
Who doesn't like a hammock! I put an additional beam along the roof as support and sandwiched it next to and existing. I added D rings and links to support the weight
Fold away shelf:
I used some leftover hinges from the windows to hold a shelf made of scrap 2x4s. This way I can fold it down when not in use
Fold away bench for inside and out: In planning
If you can think of any other cherries I can put on this cupcake let me know(that sounded weird). I'm always looking for new ways to design around this space.