How Much Does It Cost To Build A Greenhouse?
Most homeowners spend between $10,500 to $21,584 nationally.
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A greenhouse is a playground for people who love to garden—a place where they surround themselves with nature and have a chance to watch their favorite plants grow. The structure protects plants from harsh weather conditions and makes it possible to cultivate fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers year-round. This cost guide details what it takes to hire a professional to install a greenhouse. Once you're ready to start your project, find a greenhouse builder using our free lead generator.
National Build a Greenhouse Costs
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|National Average Cost||$16,283|
|Average Range||$10,500 to $21,584|
How do we get this data? This info is based on 8 cost profiles, as reported by ImproveNet members.
Table of Contents
- Greenhouse Building Cost
- Greenhouse Building Cost Factors
- Greenhouse Sizes
- Greenhouse Materials
- Other Greenhouse Cost Considerations
- Advantages Of Greenhouses
- Disadvantages Of Greenhouses
- DIY Or Hire A Pro?
- How To Build A Greenhouse
- Find A Pro
Greenhouse Building Cost
The cost to build a greenhouse ranges from $5,000 to $25,300, but the average cost to build a professionally installed greenhouse is $13,893. Homeowners who want to construct the greenhouse on their own pay as little as $3,500 or less depending on the materials they choose.
Greenhouse Building Cost Factors
Greenhouse prices vary dramatically depending on several factors that raise or lower the cost of materials and labor. It costs more to construct a large greenhouse between 500sf and 1,000sf than to build a small greenhouse with 100sf. This is primarily due to the increased cost of materials and labor, but some municipalities require permits for larger structures, especially if they have plumbing and electrical systems installed.
Greenhouses come in an array of sizes, and a landscape professional has the ability to customize a greenhouse to meet your needs. A small, domed greenhouse measuring 6 feet by 8 feet provides plenty of space for beginning and casual gardeners. For experienced and serious gardeners, a larger structure measuring 12 feet by 12 feet or more offers space for necessary equipment and plants. Small greenhouses cost between $100 and $250, and larger buildings cost up to $25,000 for a complete setup with plumbing and electricity.
There are three basic components to a greenhouse: the frame, the sides and the floor. Each component serves a specific purpose, and the right materials help it do just that. Popular materials for this and other landscaping projects include wood, steel, glass, concrete and greenhouse plastic.
The frame supports the greenhouse, and for this reason, it needs to have enough strength to survive the elements. Most greenhouse frames have wood or steel construction. Wood costs approximately $1 per linear foot. This natural material blends in well with the surrounding landscape and has insulating properties that don't take away heat from the plants inside. However, it requires regular maintenance to prevent damage from insects and moisture. Steel costs about $2.50 per linear foot. This material is stronger than wood and requires less upkeep, but it draws heat away from plants and is more difficult to work with than wood.
A greenhouse floor serves many purposes. It provides a surface for you to walk on and work. It also prevents weeds and pests from entering the structure, facilitates drainage and insulates the greenhouse. Concrete creates a solid floor strong enough to support people walking through the greenhouse along with the plants and equipment inside. Gently sloped concrete helps direct water away from the structure to the ground outside. Brick and stone floors drain well and increase humidity inside the greenhouse. Weed mat and mulch are inexpensive flooring options that also prevent weeds. A bare floor can work inside a greenhouse as long as there's a surface for people to use for walking or standing when the ground is wet.
The sides of the greenhouse protect the plants from the elements while allowing light to enter the structure. Glass, which costs about $2.50 per square foot, is one of the most popular materials for siding. It's attractive and durable, but the heavy material requires a strong frame and doesn't diffuse light, which can burn plants. At $0.12 per square foot, polyethylene is an affordable option for siding. It bends easily to fit any shape but requires replacement every few years. At the other end of the price spectrum, polycarbonate is as transparent as glass, but it provides insulation for the plants. The material costs $55 per 8-foot by 4-foot sheet. Lightweight fiberglass combines flexibility with durability. It costs approximately $72 for a 6-foot by 8-foot panel, but the material diffuses light well and requires little maintenance.
Other Greenhouse Cost Considerations
In addition to the actual structure, a greenhouse needs temperature and heating control and lighting systems. HVAC and lighting for a large greenhouse can easily double the cost of construction because a licensed professional should oversee the installation. Expect to pay up to $8,000 for a complete heating and air conditioning system. Artificial lights add an additional $30 to $130 for each light. One final consideration is the cost of local permits or fines for attempting construction without one.
Advantages Of Greenhouses
The greatest advantage of having a greenhouse is the ability to grow plants year-round. Not only does this extend the growing season, it also gives you the chance to grow exotic flowers and tropical fruits that don't survive naturally in the area. It helps keep squirrels, insects and other animals away from the plants and increases the success of transplants. Greenhouses also give you a place to store your supplies instead of taking up space in a garage or shed.
Disadvantages Of Greenhouses
Greenhouses aren't a perfect solution, though. They do require maintenance, and you must spend time periodically checking the building for cracks and other signs of damage. Additionally, some greenhouses are expensive to build and maintain. Structures with heating and lighting systems increase your electric bills. This is an important consideration if you live in a region that experiences heavy snowfall and extreme temperatures in the winter.
DIY Or Hire A Pro?
Individuals who have a basic understanding of construction and the proper tools can build a greenhouse from scratch or purchase a ready-to-build kit. They can build a small greenhouse during a weekend, but a large greenhouse may require several weeks to construct, from applying for the permit to adding finishing touches. Depending on the size and scope of the project, hiring a pro is a better option for some people. A professional has the knowledge, skills and equipment necessary to clear the land, safely build the structure and install equipment on your land.
How To Build A Greenhouse
You can build a basic greenhouse using 2x4 lumber, PVC pipe and greenhouse plastic. This is a relatively simple project that follows these steps:
- Excavate the ground to create a level surface.
- Build a base frame around the excavated land using 2x4s.
- Construct a frame for the greenhouse by attaching PVC pipe to the base so it forms a hoop over the ground.
- Construct a door jamb on each end with 2x4s.
- Add a support beam across the top of the structure that runs between the door jambs. This beam can hold lights and other equipment.
- Add side supports along the length of the structure.
- Wrap greenhouse plastic over the frame and secure it with clamps.
The video below details how one person built a greenhouse using these materials. It also shows how the homeowner used the greenhouse through several seasons.
Find A Pro
If you're ready to explore the growing options that a greenhouse offers, we can help you find a pro to complete the project. Use our lead generator today to find greenhouse builders nearby to help get your greenhouse going.