We love seeing DIY projects that save tons of money, especially when it comes to something as awesomely functional as a greenhouse. David LaFerney at Door Garden shows how you can make this really nice, spacious hoop-style greenhouse on the cheap. He did it for less than $50! Hoop house greenhouses are great for extending the growing season in cold climates, and they are much cheaper and easier to build than glass greenhouses. Because they are such a simple concept – a hoop-shaped structure made with plastic or metal framing that is covered in clear plastic – they make a great, inexpensive DIY project with plenty of flexibility for experimentation.
At 165 square feet, this is a nice sized greenhouse with plenty of space for growing plants. David has two built-in plant beds along each side of the greenhouse, in which he grows spinach, lettuce, and other plants year round. Free-standing shelves could easily be added to this design for additional planting space for starting seeds or for over-wintering potted plants.
It is absolutely possible to build a greenhouse like this for cheap. David had many of the materials on hand, which saved a lot of money, but even if you had to go out and buy all new materials, the cost would only amount to about $150, which is much cheaper than buying a kit for a similar sized greenhouse. By repurposing materials you might already have on hand and checking places like Freecycle and Craigslist, you could obtain many of these materials for cheap or free.
David began by building the two end pieces of the greenhouse frame out of wood and adding the 20 foot PVP pipes that will give the greenhouse its hoop shape. These same 20 foot PVC pieces will make up the “ribs” of the greenhouse between the two end pieces. This greenhouse is 11 feet wide, 15 feet long, and about seven and a half feet tall. This same concept can be used to make a greenhouse as long or short as you want, but with this design the width will need to be between 10-12 feet.
At this width, there is not a very steep sloping edge on the interior sides of the greenhouse like many hoop greenhouses have, leaving much more usable space along the edges. Another advantage to keeping the sides of the greenhouse steep, as opposed to a wider, flatter design, is that snow and rain water is more likely to fall down the sides rather than piling up on top, which could cause the greenhouse to collapse.
Once the end pieces are placed and stabilized in a level location, the middle pipe pieces are added to complete the frame of the greenhouse. Once everything is placed and stabilized with wood and screws, the greenhouse is ready to be covered in plastic. There are many options for plastic to use when covering a hoop greenhouse. In this case, non-UV stabilized 6 mil clear plastic sheeting from a lumberyard is used.
David provides a full, detailed tutorial showing how to put this together step by step at The Door Garden. Be sure to check out his updated comments about what worked well with this design and what needed improvements, as well as other ideas on how to implement similar structures in your own backyard.