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How to Build a Hoop House Greenhouse for $50

How to Build a Hoop House Greenhouse for $50

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We love seeing DIY greenhouse projects that save tons of money, especially when it comes to something as awesomely functional as a greenhouse. David LaFerney at The Door Garden shows how to build a hoop greenhouse on the cheap. He did it for less than $50!

UPDATE: we get lots of comments about the $50 price tag of this greenhouse build. Keep in mind, this particular hoop house was built using many upcycled and free materials – which is key to keeping costs down. In David’s words – “First off – you really can build this thing very cheaply, but to do so you have to recycle, freecycle, and scrounge. If you just go out and buy new everything it will probably cost just over $200 – still not bad all in all.” 

How to build a hoop greenhouse

Image: The Door Garden

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 overwintering potted plants.

Raised beds in a hoop greenhouse

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 $200, 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. He then added the 20 foot PVP pipes that give the greenhouse its hoop shape. These same 20 foot PVC pieces make up the “ribs” of the greenhouse between the two end pieces.  

Building a hoop greenhouse

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. This gentle slope leaves much more usable space along the edges for planting.  

Another advantage to keeping the sides of the greenhouse steep, as opposed to a wider, flatter design, is that snow and rainwater is more likely to fall down the sides rather than piling up on top, which could cause the greenhouse to collapse.

How to build a hoop greenhouse

The end pieces were placed and stabilized in a level location and the middle pipe pieces were added to complete the frame of the greenhouse. Once everything was secured with wood and screws, the greenhouse was ready for 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 was used. DIY hoop greenhouse

David provides a full, detailed tutorial showing how to build a hoop greenhouse, 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.


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How to build a hoop greenhouse

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Sunday 9th of September 2018

A little math check here: 1/2 schedule 40 PVC at HD is $1.85. 10 sticks would be $18.5 plus tax. That is way short of $324. Second: 20x24 plastic film will only cover the hoop area. Additional film will be needed to cover the gables. Third: Google hoop houses. I found a 15x7x7 with Velcro closure windows and zipper door for $110 with free shipping.


Wednesday 30th of May 2018

this looks like it has 6 pvc pipe hoops, at least 20 ft each. one 10ft long pcv pipe 1/2" wide is $2.70 from home depot. so the 120ft of pvc pipe used in this greenhouse would come out to $324. the polyethelene covering is $109 for 20x24 ft, which is potentially enough to cover this entire structure.

wondering where this claim of $50/ "even if you had to go out and buy all new materials, the cost would only amount to about $150" claim comes from.

Brian Hawkins

Saturday 13th of April 2019

Hi Monique, I'm afraid your decimal is misplaced. :) The pvc actually amounts to $32.40 assuming a 10' length is just $2.70. Also, check Amazon and you'll find greenhouse plastic (better than construction film) between $50 and $75. I found two rolls (20' x 25') for $20 on FB marketplace.

Off Grid World

Thursday 31st of May 2018

Hi Monique. As the article states, the builder used cheaper plastic from a lumberyard for this greenhouse. Still, it's an older article (he built it in 2008), so costs have changed a bit. Perhaps we'll do an updated article soon with cost estimates for new materials closer to what they are now. It is still possible to build one like this for very cheap, though, as we see these materials all the time on Craigslist, Facebook marketplace, and at our local ReStore.