Constructing a greenhouse requires you to finalize a design or style. A variety of greenhouse designs are available to choose from. You can take your pick according to your requirement, style, taste and budget. Greenhouse designs are broadly categorized into three types: attached, ridge or furrow, and detached.
Lean-to greenhouse: When space is limited and you want to save up on costs, an attached greenhouse is a good option. The lean-to greenhouse has a ridge line that is attached to one wall of your home. Usually, a connecting door provides direct access from your home to the interior of the greenhouse. Proximity with the main structure of your dwelling provides easy access to power sockets and water source. The lean-to comes with straight or curved eave design. The roof is always sloping to allow snow, rain and leaves to slide off.
Window greenhouse: The smallest of all the attached greenhouses are the window mounted variety with just two or three shelves that can accommodate a few of your favorite plants.
Even-span greenhouse: It can be put up as an attached or a free-standing structure. In the attached variety, one gable end is attached to the end wall of another building. It is the largest of the garden greenhouses and has the advantage of allowing you to lengthen it if you start on a budget and later decide to upgrade and upscale the structure. It scores over the lean-to in having a design that is more efficient as far as heating, cooling, ventilation and optimum use of available space are concerned.
Ridge or furrow greenhouses
These are generally free-standing structures with gabled or arched rooflines. These are attached only at a common gutter at the lower edges of the eaves of the roof with no division by walls of the structure under the canopy. The curved arches are preferred if you are planning to use flexible glazing material like polyethylene. The gabled roof can have more rigid material like glass or fiberglass. Being relatively large, this type of greenhouse is usually built by commercial growers.
These are independent or stand-alone free standing structures situated away from the home. They have the advantage of being larger and admit more sunshine as there are no shadows of an attached structure to hamper sunlight.
Quonset greenhouse or hoop house is a popular option because it is quite inexpensive and easy to put up. It is arched and uses light weight framing over which flexible glazing can be stretched.
The Gothic arch greenhousehas great aesthetic appeal. It consists of two separate curved pieces that meet at the ridge line of the roof. As the curvature is less pronounced than the Quonset, it provides more head room and usable space.
Classic A-Frames look like the alphabet ‘A’ when put up. They are easily assembled on the ground before being erected, but have relatively less usable space.
Modified A-Frame greenhouses are shaped typically like a house. With straight vertical walls topped by gabled roof without eaves, they have more usable space than the classic A-Frames.
Barn style greenhouse has greater usable space as the peaked roof slants to meet eaves on either side of the ridge line. The eaves at the roof’s edge connect it to the sidewalls. The sidewalls may be straight or slanted; the latter providing for greater sunny span.
Dome greenhouses are semi-circular. They are great for minimizing wind resistance and allowing maximum light transmission.
Each of these basic greenhouse designs has its own plus points as well as limitations. A little research would go a long way in allowing you to