How to Build an Easy Plastic Greenhouse: Guest Post by Jodi Marks


When cooler weather arrives, you might think the days of beautiful flowers and plants are numbered. Not so! Building an easy and inexpensive greenhouse out of plastic pipe and sheeting is a perfect way to protect and nurture your plants during cold and windy days.

There are ready-to-go greenhouse kits available, and finding the right one for your gardening needs is as easy as searching the Internet. Greenhouses that are small and can fit right over your raised flowerbeds are a great choice. Larger ones that pop up like tents are also great if you have several types and sizes of plants that you want to protect. If you feel your gardening needs require an even larger greenhouse, there are several choices that offer shelving, windows, and retractable sunshades to provide the ultimate protection for your plants.

If you’re inclined to create your own greenhouse, there are many plans on the Internet for easy-to-assemble greenhouses made with pipes and sheeting made from plastics, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

Here are some tips to help make it a reality.

  1. First, sketch out your greenhouse and determine where you would like to construct it, based on size and wind and sun exposure.
  2. Choose a plan that fits your needs and capabilities. Most plans require basic tools and some DIY experience.
  3. You want to make sure the ground is flat and level, if possible.
  4. Most people use beams made of pressure-treated lumber for the greenhouse base. Better yet, look for plastic lumber: it’s already colored, requires little maintenance, and cuts like wood.
  5. Use galvanized screws to make any wood-to-wood connections.
  6. Sheets of clear, 6-millimeter plastic sheeting work well over your greenhouse’s PVC frame. It lasts a long time—but once it needs to be replaced, check for plastics recycling opportunities in your community.
  7. Leave enough excess sheeting on each end to use as a draped doorway and to provide ventilation.
  8. Use PVC “snap clamps” to secure the sheeting to the top and sides of your greenhouse.
  9. Use fencing staples to attach the sheeting to the frame at the base of your greenhouse. Be very generous with your clamps and staples: you don’t want the sheeting to break loose over time or due to blustery weather.
  10. You can use large binder clips that are found in office supply stores to secure the door flaps open or closed. (Look for plastic clips that won’t rust.)
  11. If your greenhouse is sturdy enough, you can also set up metal or plastic shelving inside your greenhouse to store your plants easily.
  12. Pea gravel flooring adds a nice touch. Or look into artificial (plastic) turf that’s easy to clean and provides a nice ground barrier.
  13. Transplant your plants or flowers into the proper size containers and place them in your greenhouse. Plastic containers work great since they’re lightweight and won’t crack in freezing temperatures.

Now enjoy your plants for seasons to come!