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Greenhouse Installation Tips for Home Hobby Greenhouses

Preparing and installing your greenhouse can be a cinch, or it can take lots of planning and preparation time. If you are planning on buying a portable greenhouse kit, like the Flowerhouse models, little or no preparation is needed. These portable models go up and are taken down after a rather short period of use. Larger, permanent greenhouse take more planning, as they will be a permanent fixture in your yard.. 

Building Permits

A greenhouse that is anchored to the ground will almost certainly require a building permit from your town, prior to installation. A portable greenhouse, probably will not require a permit. We encourage you to talk with your local town building department prior to installing any greenhouse, to identify potential issues and local requirements. 

Greenhouse Site Selection

Selecting the perfect site for your greenhouse should be tops on your mind, prior to selecting and buying one. Here are some key things to consider:

  • Sunlight- You will want to position your greenhouse to allow as much sunlight as possible.

  • Protection from wind is important with smaller units, and those with plastic windows. The ideal placement is a spot in full sunlight, yet on the leeward side of a house, garage, hedgerow, or other objects that can break, or slow, the full effect of high winds. 

  • Proximity to trees- Broken branches could fall and cause damage. This is especially true of a plastic greenhouse. Even polycarbonate window may be scratched or damaged by heavy branches.

  • Proximity to your house and/or gardens. 

  • Proximity to power, if you are planning to use electricity inside of the greenhouse.

  • Levelness of ground.

  • Height of surrounding ground. The greenhouse should be slightly elevated above level ground for proper drainage.


Preparing the Site for your Greenhouse

We tell people that the most important thing about preparing the site is making it level. Whether it's a small Guarden Raised Bed Greenhouse, or a full-sized walk-in Juliana model, the ground needs to be leveled off. The appearance of your greenhouse, says a lot about you and your gardens. Being level, will also make it easier to use. Doors and entryways will work better. Worktables and benches will fit better inside.

Cleanup brush, shrubs and bushes around the site. It will make the whole area, including your new greenhouse, look great. You may also need to trim branches of nearby trees or shrubs to let in additional sunlight.  This should be done before you install your greenhouse...not afterwards.

Protection from the Wind

As described above, smaller and plastic walled models need some protection from the full force of high winds.

Your greenhouse should also be securely anchored to the ground to prevent damage from high winds. Portable greenhouse are usually anchored with long spikes into the ground. Follow the manufacturer's instructions as to the number of spikes. Usually, they are included with the kit.

Larger greenhouses should also be anchored to the ground or a foundation in some manner. Anchor bolts should be used with cement foundations. Large screws or bolts work well with landscaping timber. Many units, like Poly Tex, Rion and Juliana, greenhouses have bases. Some are included with the unit, while others are sold separately. So, be sure to check this important issue, prior to purchase. The bases are buried into the ground with the tops at ground level. Then, the greenhouse is attached to the base as it is assembled.

Never set greenhouses onto the ground without properly anchoring it securely. Or, during he next high wind, you may find it "Gone with the Wind".  

Greenhouse Floors

Greenhouse floors can be grass, dirt, stone or gravel, brick, wood chips, sawdust or a cement foundation. Select the floor that is best for you and your greenhouse.

Regardless of the choice, we recommend that the floor level be slightly above the ground level around your greenhouse. A slightly elevated floor, is less likely to get muddy, soggy, or experience water from excess rainfall or sudden snow melt.

Installing Electrical Power

Many growers want electricity in their new greenhouses for lighting and heating. The first step in this endeavor, is to contact your town and identify the proper codes and requirements. It almost certainly will require underground electrical cable.  We recommend a certified, or licensed electrician to install the electrical work properly and safely.

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