How Much Does It Cost to Build a Greenhouse?
Greenhouse Costs at a Glance
- PVC framing: 50 cents-$2 per linear foot
- Aluminum or wood framing: $1-$2 per linear foot
- Steel framing: $2.50-$3 per linear foot
- Plastic sheeting: 10 cents-50 cents per square foot
- Corrugated fiberglass covering: $1-$2 per square foot
- Polycarbonate covering: $1.60-$3 per square foot
- Glass covering: $2.50-$3.50 per square foot
- Small greenhouse kit: $100
- Lean-to greenhouse kit: $500
- 8x20 greenhouse kit: $3,000
- Large greenhouse kit: $15,000
Having a private greenhouse on your property might sound like something reserved for grand estates in exclusive communities, but you can find a greenhouse to fit almost every budget.
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While the cost of greenhouses can vary almost as widely as the type of plants you can grow in them, it's helpful to look at three different ways to build your own greenhouse: DIY from scratch, a greenhouse kit or a professional install. Here we'll look at each and give you an idea of what you can expect to pay to keep your plants warm and thriving.
One of the cheapest ways to create your own greenhouse is to build one yourself and, among greenhouse DIY projects, the hoop house is the most affordable option.
To construct such a structure, you build a simple frame out of pressure-treated 2-foot by 6-foot boards. Then, create arcs out of ¾-inch PVC pipes, which attach to the boards with metal straps. Once that's complete, you simply cover the entire structure in 6mm plastic sheeting and you're good to go.
Alternatively, it's possible to purchase premade fiberglass greenhouse arches for under $50, which are easier to work with than PVC. You can make your hoop house as long as you'd like and as high as you like. It's even possible to use this method to create a simple low canopy that goes directly over your plant beds to keep them warm throughout the colder months. You won't be able to walk in it, but it's a pretty darn inexpensive solution which, depending on the size, could be completed for just $50. For a structure that you can enter and walk around in with a wood frame and a door, $500 to $1,000 should get the job done.
In general, you can expect to pay between 50 cents to $2 per linear foot of PVC, according to Fixr. You could go with aluminum or wood framing for $1 to $2 per linear foot, while steel framing will run about $2.50 to $3 per linear foot.
In terms of covering your greenhouse, on a square-foot basis, expect to pay between 10 cents and 50 cents for plastic sheeting, $1 to $2 for translucent corrugated fiberglass, $1.60 to $3 for polycarbonate and $2.50 to $3.50 for glass.
Then, you'll also want to consider the floor of your greenhouse. This can be a simple dirt floor, one with landscape fabric and gravel or pavers or a concrete slab. A dirt floor won't cost you anything other than a bit of time, while pavers run about $1 per square foot. Stone costs on average about $25 per square foot, and you can expect to pay about $90 to $100 per cubic yard for a concrete slab.
Of course, if you choose to add upgrades like irrigation systems, electricity, fans, vents and heat lamps, your price will climb.
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If you'd rather not start completely from scratch, you can still put up an affordable greenhouse using a kit. The biggest factor in how much a kit will cost is the size. A simple greenhouse kit that lets you put together a small, walk-in greenhouse can be had for under $100. Lean-to kits that install against one of the existing walls of your home or shed start as low as $500, while a more expansive 8-foot by 20-foot greenhouse kit will be in the $3,000 range. Extra-large greenhouse kits can even climb as high as $15,000, so you'll want to determine your needs and goals for your structure and carefully compare prices as you look around for a solution.
If you'd rather have someone else handle your greenhouse installation, the price will depend on the size and complexity of your greenhouse. You can use the figures above to get an idea of material costs and then factor in between $50 and $100 for a landscape contractor to build the greenhouse. If you need to clear or level the land where the greenhouse will go, add $3 to $6 per square foot for excavation work. Most professional greenhouse builders will be happy to check out the site where you want the structure, consult with you on any extras you'd like to have and quote you a price for the complete installation.
As you plan your greenhouse, think about what these extras might be. Do you want grow lights, heat lamps, fans or power outlets? If so, you can expect to pay an electrician between $40 and $100 per hour to set this up, on top of the cost of the equipment. If you build a lean-to-style greenhouse against a side of your home or shed where there already is a power outlet, you can save by using that.
Alternatively, being that you're going to want to site your greenhouse in a sunny location, you could consider installing a solar power system to deliver the power you need to run basic equipment. Such systems are easy to install by yourself and start at around $300.
To install an irrigation system or sink, you can buy gear that simply connects to your garden hose. For more involved systems, though, you'll want to factor in the cost of a plumber, who will charge between $45 and $200 per hour on average.
Benches and shelving will also cost a bit more to construct, but you should also be able to find prefab plastic or metal solutions that could save you money, based on the ever-climbing price of lumber.