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Octagonal / hexagonal greenhouse

I’m looking at buying a greenhouse come autumn. It will have to go in a quite prominent space in the garden to catch the most sunlight (garden is facing north west). I’m therefore keen to get something that’s also nice to look at. Does anyone has experience with a hexagonal or octagonal greenhouse? How do they compare to the rectangular shaped ones? Would you recommend it? Does shape matter? I probably have a 6x8 ft area to play with. Thank you 😊 


  • Butterfly66Butterfly66 BirminghamPosts: 746
    I don’t have any experience to offer but a hexagon in that size space would be quite small - the additional sides are effectively cutting off the corners - so you would’ve less area than a traditional rectangular greenhouse. I also wonder how practical they are and 6 x 8 is already a compact space for growing and working in.

    The main eyesore that will be on view is if you need to store anything in the greenhouse. The long side of our greenhouse is on full view and I enjoy seeing it but try and make sure anything bright and garish (like bags of compost, plant food) are out of sight as otherwise they look a mess.  If doing again and I had the budget I would have one with a brick or wooden base to hide everything. Having said that I now stand pots along the side of the greenhouse so they do almost the same job.

    A wooden or coloured frame looks smarter and less utilitarian than plain aluminium, we have a rhino one in a pale sage colour and added the finials. If you’re going to look at it make it an attractive feature. 

     If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”—Marcus Tullius Cicero
  • KeenOnGreenKeenOnGreen Posts: 1,664
    We have a Robinsons "Renaissance" Hexagonal greenhouse.  It looks great, and I can't complain about the quality, however if we had to buy another greenhouse, we would go for a rectangular one.

    The greenhouse came with hexagonal shelves, which are wooden and quite heavy, and which had to be screwed to the frame.  The layout of these didn't work for us, but we couldn't find any hexagonal metal staging which would fit our model (most staging that you can buy is for rectangular greenhouses).  In the end, we bought some metal shelving from IKEA, which works well, and is very portable, as it is free-standing.

    You'll have more flexibility with a rectangular one, and probably more of the interior space will be used.  If you need spare parts, or additional shelving, you'll also find it easier to find them from a range of suppliers.
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,116
    How much do you think you will use it, just pottering or serious veg growing? Though it might look a bit more interesting, in terms of use of space it would be wasteful.
    Seed trays are rectangular  and I use gravel trays ( the same size but without drainage holes) to help keep  lots of small pots watered. I also have long ones that take a lot of pots of all sizes and sit on the staging or on the floor. Fitting  any of those into a non-rectangular house would leave awkward spaces that might not even take a pot.
    If you used only pots they would all need saucers or they would dry out too fast. If you think you will use it to overwinter plants, you may need to use bubble wrap, which will be a fiddle to fit and won't look as good.
    Sunlight isn't always a good thing or always necessary, and with climate change looming (40* threatened in today's press!) may become an enemy. I have a lean-to GH on the west end of the house that is shaded for a fair bit of the day in a way that gives me a sunny and a shady end and I site plants accordingly. It is 8'x12' and I have staging on both ends which gives me similar growing space to a 6'x8' GH, though I do get additional height at the wall end and more space in between  to use as I see fit. This year I added additional temporary staging to cope with all the young plants as they got potted on, as the weather made it impossible to plant them out. 
    In your position I would go for a 6x8 foot greenhouse or look to see whether there might be another position, perhaps with a little less sun where you might even be able to fit in a bigger one. A well kept greenhouse needn't look unattractive - I have troughs outside mine and flowering plants inside in the summer and even rows of seedtrays and pots of young veg plants have a certain charm, especially when you are growing them yourself!  

  • BenCottoBenCotto RutlandPosts: 3,735
    I completely agree with Butterfly66’s comments. Not having glass all the way to ground level is definitely a bonus when it comes to hiding pots, compost bags etc. I also think paying a premium is definitely worthwhile to get something aesthetically pleasing like a sage green Rhino greenhouse with finials. We considered that but, in the end, went for a Victorian accoya planthouse from Cultivar.
  • WatsoniaWatsonia Posts: 90
    Thank you for all your comments, very helpful. It’s such an expensive purchase and will hopefully be in the garden for many years to come, so I want to get it right.

    @Butterfly66 I have a garden shed where I currently store things like compost, tools etc so wouldn’t need to keep them in the greenhouse which helps with the optics. I really like the look of wooden greenhouses, but I’m bit concerned in regards to maintenance compared to metal. Good point on the lost space.

    @KeenOnGreen I hadn’t considered shelving and spare parts yet so that is definitely something to think about. 

    @Buttercupdays I think you are right, I need think a bit more about usage. I don’t think I will use it for overwintering plants (but never say never). I mainly would like to extend my veg growing season and grow more plants from seed. I had to put my tomato plants outside in early May this year due to space issue and they survived with lots of fleece and attention, but I do not want to go through that rollercoaster again. The only other place would be under a huge oak tree, and would involve taken my shed out. Not sure if there would be enough light but your point to consider climate change is spot on.

    @BenCotto I love the look of your greenhouse. I prefer the more traditional to the modern.

    All in all it seems that hexagonal is form over function looking at the comments. Thank you.

  • AnniDAnniD South West UKPosts: 10,341
    edited July 2020
    This is my greenhouse, the same as the one at Barnsdale (but a smaller size). It's now over 30 years old and has been dismantled and moved on a removal lorry at one time !

    The comments about usage and staging are spot on. It came with lower staging and my husband built the upper shelves using dexion shelving. Fitting bubble wrap back in the days when l overwintered things in it was fairly easy thanks to the wooden frame. The main problem is shading in the summer.The easiest thing would be to paint it in white shading "paint", but personally l think it looks dreadful,  so these days it has green shade netting thrown over it.
    For seed sowing and plant displays (which is what l use it for these days), it's ideal, and it's always been a talking point for visitors. 
    If you want to grow veg , l wouldn't recommend it, although l have grown tomatoes,  peppers and cucumbers in it.

  • BenCottoBenCotto RutlandPosts: 3,735
    Here’s our Cultivar greenhouse

  • WatsoniaWatsonia Posts: 90
    @AnniD I can see why it is a talking point.... it is beautiful and very much what I had imagined. At this point I would mainly look at seed growing and maybe a few vegetable plants to start them off. But it might change and I’m really unsure if I should get something for now or future proof.
  • WatsoniaWatsonia Posts: 90
    @BenCotto that it is very lovely. I also had a look at your link and unfortunately it is out of my budget 😩 I really like your planting with the grasses, poppies and foxgloves in the front.
  • AnniDAnniD South West UKPosts: 10,341
    @Watsonia, it was bought as a long term thing. I knew what l wanted to use it for and there was no way l was leaving it behind when we moved. One of the first things l did when we moved here was sort out the base and get it assembled,  even before the unpacking was finished ! 
    My only other comments would be that you get what you pay for so stretch your budget a little if you can, and buy the biggest size you can afford. If you can afford to "future proof" , personally l would  :)
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