In the Green: Greenhouses and Garden Rooms


What I really want in my garden is a greenhouse. I want one because we live in a climate that is cool and rainy, and a greenhouse is probably my only chance to grow tomatoes. I want one because our garden has a tree in it, and although the tree is beautiful it also shades the garden. I really, really want it because the local animals keep on tearing apart my garden, and this is very irritating.

If you’re in the market for a greenhouse, here is what I’ve discovered.

If you want a greenhouse that will double as a living space, what you’re looking for is a garden room or a sun room.

If you’d like a greenhouse that is the most basic and cheapest of greenhouses and will attach to a fence or a house, what you’d like is a lean-to greenhouse. This kind of greenhouse is a triangle of glass or plastic that looks like it is leaning against an existing structure.

If you have enough space to accommodate a structure in your garden, you can look into freestanding greenhouses. Here you have the greatest variety: installed greenhouses made of glass that look like Victorian fancies and come with extra heat, to greenhouses that are made out of tubing that you bend into the ground and install yourself, adding plastic as you go. If you’re going for a more expensive greenhouse, you’re looking at many thousands of dollars. Less expensive kits can run you under $1000.

One thing that all greenhouses require is a good covering, because this is what keeps the heat and moisture in and keeps your plants happy. If you are installing a greenhouse and covering it with plastic, be sure to cover it with the right kind of plastic. You want durable, flexible plastic that will stand up to UV rays and let enough light through to your plants. There are special greenhouse plastics that can do this. If you simply get a roll of plastic from the hardware store, it may not hold up to storms and it will also wear in the sun, becoming crackly and unusable.

Do you have a greenhouse? How did you decide what kind to install?