DIY Green House

We completed building our green house last weekend. We started on April 17th and worked on it for four continuous weekends. We are very pleased with the way it turned out. We opted for a modest size of 12′ x 16′.

When we build our next green house, there are a few things we will do differently. (1) Level the ground before we build. (2) Reinforce the base frame corners and pay more attention to the tendency of the PVC pipes to work their way outward by using re-bar as anchor stakes to strengthen each pipe, and keep the outward pressure off of the frame. (3) Always pre-plan your excess dirt pile. Dirt always seems to triple in size after you dig it out. (We speak from experience)

Things we did right the first time… (1) Bracing the PVC pipes with 1″ x 2″ wood strips on the top and sides of the frame. (2) Digging out the beds before we put the plastic on.

Things we may wish we had done differently… (1) Having the ability to lift the plastic on the sides to allow for more air flow on really hot days. (We’ll update you on this at the end of the summer)

Here are some photos we took during the building process.

We used 2″ x  6″ for the base frame, and 1″ PVC pipes.

We secured the PVC pipes with 2 Two-Hole Straps on each pipe. (I only took a photo of the first set of straps) At this stage we should have used re-bar as anchor stakes to strengthen each pipe. There was a big wind storm during the following week which caused the pipes to flex so much that it broke the screws that were holding the base frame together. So we had to nail the frame back together, and added scraps of 1″ x 6″ wooden joining plates on the ends for added strength.

We painted the base frame and started our plumb lines for the doors and windows. We then discovered just how much of a slant the ground was, (more than a one foot difference across the 12 foot width of the green house) so our options were… (1) dig a trench on the side and back to level it out. (2) build up one side with rocks (and hope the mice wouldn’t discover a way inside) (3) leave it as it was and live with a green house that looked like it should be in the Flintstones. We opted for digging a trench.

Once the structure was level we began building the end framing with 2″ x 3″.

Next we built the door and window frames out of scrap 1″ x 6″ and screwed them into place.

After we painted the door and window frames, and dug out the beds, we rolled our plastic over the top and secured the plastic on the ends with strips of lathe on the outside and inside of the green house. We also built a 4′ t-post fence fence around it to discourage any curious deer.

Here are the raised beds built with scrap 1″ x 6″. We also left some space in the back for storage of garden tools, and a sprouting station.

Both doors and all four windows are permanently screened. We made a rolling plastic cover for both doors for summer, and we’ll replace these with a removable plastic covered frame for the winter.


  1. I am planning on building a similar size structure and I’m curious how long the sections of 1″ PVC pipe you used were.

  2. I am just beginning research on green houses, what is this like in winter? Do you try to keep anything living during the winter? I live in Nebraska, so I am curious. Thanks, Nicole

    • Hi Nicole, during the summer, even with two big doors and four big windows on the ends for cross-ventilation, the greenhouse still got extremely hot; up to 110 degrees. But we are also at an altitude of 4200 feet. As for winter, per your question, it gets down to -20 degrees at times during the winter. We haven’t tried to extend our growing season because it gets too hot in the summer to start anything. But we plan on disassembling our current greenhouse and reassembling it with a smaller footprint where we can draw the plastic closed as the temperature begins to drop. Thanks for visiting us.

  3. You may find this funny but I am thinking of using this idea over a 18 foot round above ground pool …able to disassemble and easily put together every year

  4. Estaba pensando algo que poner en mi invernader de 3×6 m y al ver el dry green house la idea. Hasido resuelta.

  5. Just a quick comment if I may. I built raised beds two years ago from regular garden and now because of the low loonie and prices high I thought I would build myself a greenhouse with left over windows I have…I have researched the net to death and came across yours…
    I like your ideas better and I think I would put a fan in the summer and heater in winder?

  6. Tha k you for poating the step by atep lictures and your notes on whatbwpuld do next rime and what sis right. Most helpful. Love your results. I will be tryng this come spring.
    One question: How are the wood strips attached down the sides to the PVC pipes?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s