Greenhouse Advice

Hi all,  I am hoping to buy a greenhouse this year and was wondering if you have any advice / experience you could share.  I'm considering a 10' x 8' as this is the largest size that will fit in the space I have.  I can't decide whether to go for polycarbonate or glass.  Also, which makes / suppliers are reliable.  Is a solid concrete base a good idea?   I  have wondered if the base should have some drainage.  Any info / advice would be appreciated.  Thanks.



  • SalinoSalino Posts: 1,609

    ...I can't offer too much advice but first of all, I think a 10 x 8 should be fine for most home gardeners. and ideally it should be sited east/west... double sliding doors and 2 windows, with perhaps a louvre window too if possible...

    I've only ever had glass so cannot comment on polycarbonate... I just think glass makes it look like a proper greenhouse...

    mine is on paving slabs, but the base does need to be very level otherwise it might move in high winds...

    I used to have one with a soil border but I grow everything in pots now, and I don't miss the soil really..

    good solid staging is a must... you'll be putting lots of heavy things on it..

    I have an 'Elite' greenhouse but I wouldn't recommend one, I think there are probably better ones going...

    also, have guttering on each of the long sides with plastic connection pipes running to a water butt at one end.   It takes longer to fill than down pipes connected to your home but it's nice to have this as an extra... sometimes these connections to the guttering can get a bit loose and I tie waterproof tape around some of the joins as occasionally it can leak the water away instead of going to the butt..

    don't know about drainage, I seem to have enough gap under the base so that if I hose it down the water runs away a bit to the outside...

    one thing I do recommend is having somewhere to sit down, like a little stool or something, which doesn't take up much room,  as when it's chilly outside, if it's sunny, it can reach 21 degrees in there and you will just want to enjoy the warmth with a nice cup of tea...image... grow nice winter salads too...

    ...have a lovely time...

    ...did I say I couldn't offer too much advice...?  lol ! .. sorry for rambling on but I love my greenhouse and I know you will enjoy yours just as much...

  • Matty2Matty2 Posts: 4,820

    I bought my greenhouse from the Greenhouse People. I found they have a good price selection and were very helpful. Also needed some replacement glass - broke in a storm and customer services were quick and efficient.

    I have it on a solid concrete base as a previous one had dug beds and I didn't like them.. I think I would have a drainage channel put down the centre

    Mine has strengthened glass, and it came with louvres, automatic openers, hanging basket rail, also had the guttering for the outside which made it easy to connect a butt.

    I am very pleased with it

  • figratfigrat Posts: 1,619

    Just a point re drainage- my greenhouses are on hard standing, so when we laid the concrete for the base to go on, we greased small lengths of bamboo, and concreted over them. When the greenhouse was put up, we slid out the bamboos leaving channels for excess water to drain away.

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 12,092

    I have polycarbonate because I have horses in a stony paddock next door and they gallop about. But it doesn't look as nice as glass. Half of mine is dug bed which I grow tomatoes in, but I change the soil from time to time and add compost and rotted manure when planting. In spring I put trestles with planks on as a temporary table for putting my baby plants on, then when they go in the cold frames to harden off I remove the tables and plant the indoor tomatoes. The other side of the central path has permanent staging and a potting bench.

  • BrummieBenBrummieBen Posts: 459

    First thing you should do is consider your price range. I bought my greenhouse from the greenhousepeople as well. I have small children (5 and under) so it was poly carbonate or safety glass. I went for a 12'x10' GH, so although it costs a bit more, the safety glass was what I went for. Quite simply at the size you are looking at, if you get stronger winds, plastic will likely blow away. The weight of the safety glass is a real bonus, I shudder to think how much I would have needed to replace with horticultural glass even.

    I actually put mine on paving slabs, which not being a builder were a real pain in the bum to lay level. With hindsight, I'd have definately dug a trench a foot wide and about 8-9" deep, put some hardcore in, then used some of that self leveling concrete mix, loads faster and just as good. You need it to be level otherwise your glass won't fit properly. Once you have the frame constructed, check the dimensions across the diagonals, also run your eye along the sides to make sure they are straight and not bowing out (which is the typical thing).

    Make sure when glazing, the day is not too windy, and that you will be able to fully glaze in a single go, even a single pane left out, if the wind picks up can destroy a greenhouse in a matter of minutes! (Well cost you a packet for more glass!)

    I myself went for the bar capping option as opposed to clips, it gives nice clean lines, and of course holds the glass tightly across the entire length of the glass, which gives added stability.

    Next up, consider ventilation, are you at home all day or out for long periods? If you work like me, then automated ventilation is a must. With the GH size you are talking about, one louvre window is a must, personally I went for two, one for each side which sets a nice cross breeze through. I also have them with the automatic openers. My green house has 4 top windows, 2 of which are auto controlled. You will find these things are quite expensive probably 200 quid or so, but if you are out a lot, worth every penny for peace of mind. Should last years with 5 mins of maintenance every now and again.

    Regards to staging, greenhouse staging appears to be massively over priced, if I had the time again I'd be looking at local ebay or gumtree. In the meantime, consider those 4 tier green houses, currently in homebase for £22. The added bonus is if you pop the covers on in winter then cover with bubble wrap, should make nice frost proof shelters for overwintering things. I have to be honest, my staging only stays in the gh over winter til start of summer, they only ever hold seed trays so as for being strong, the 4 tier will be fine. In the summer all the staging comes out to increase the growing room for toms etc.

    Anyways, good luck with your GH, I hope I have covered the main bits, any questions you have I'll check back on here for next few days.



  • LorrainePLorraineP Posts: 212

    Thanks everyone for your replies much appreciated.  It's given me plenty of insight for my greenhouse planning, and probably more questions.  Will likely post my plan/ideas when I've had a ponder, and hopefully some of you helpful peeps could  tell me if I'm on the right lines.  Thanks again.


  • BookertooBookertoo Posts: 1,306

    One thing I would add, get the biggest one you can find a site for - anyone who has a greenhouse will tell you they wished they had a larger one!  I personally prefer wood from aluminium, I think it more sensitive to a garden, and it is always a couple of degrees warmer in winter than a metal one. 

  • LorrainePLorraineP Posts: 212

    Thanks Booketoo, I also like the wood frame greenhouses better.  Would be my choice but will depend on price.  Do they require more maintenance an aluminum frame?

  • figratfigrat Posts: 1,619

    Yes, timber framed greenhouses do need a bit more maintenance.

  • BrummieBenBrummieBen Posts: 459

    umm more like massively, I went aluminium purely because I didn't want to spend literally years of my life sorting the wood out! Regards to the wood being a couple of degrees warmer, that maybe, but if you are actually going to keep plants that can't take frost, you will have heat. Wood does look great, but if you want trouble free (and much cheaper) GH stuff, I'd go Alu all the way. I'd way prefer to have safety glass, bar capping and all the extras even staging, than have a wooden greenhouse. Oh and you'd still have money left over for plants. Wooden GH cost loads of cash for a decent one, my uncle ran a plant nursery for about 30 years, he had maybe 10 GH. Yes, the wooden ones are sentimental, but purely from memories of repairs etc. On asking him, he'd go alu everytime now, the peace of mind and the fact they are like half the price means the choice is made.

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