Greenhouse buying guide
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Unleash the potential of your garden with your very own greenhouse. Perfect for cultivating seeds, saplings and cuttings as well as more delicate, tender plants. The right greenhouse will enable you to grow beautiful flowers and delicious fruit and veg, all year round.
Every gardener and garden is different, so use this guide to help you choose the right shape, size and style of greenhouse for you.
What do I need to consider before buying a greenhouse?
Before buying your new greenhouse, you’ll need to think about two things that should help you to decide which size and what style to go for:
1. Where you’re going to place it.
2. Which direction is it going to face.
- Mark out the space that your greenhouse will occupy with string or canes, that way you can get a good idea of how much of your garden it will take up and how it will affect the rest of the space.
Types of materials
Once you’ve chosen the size and the style of your greenhouse, you’ll need to think about the materials for your frame and glass. Both options of frame have their own benefits, so it’s worth taking the time to think about exactly what you need before you make a decision:
Aluminum frames are available with either natural silver or a powder coated finish. Lightweight and durable, they’re easy to assemble and easy to maintain. With a variety of colours to choose from, aluminium frames can be styled to match your garden. As aluminium doesn’t store heat well, these types of frames can be hard to heat, so you’ll need to take extra care to protect your plants in the winter.
With a natural and traditional look, wooden frames are usually made from durable hardwoods. Delivered in large, pre-glazed panels, wooden greenhouses retain heat more efficiently, making them a smart idea if you’re looking to grow year round. However, they do require more maintenance, which can make them more expensive. In addition, the panels are heavy, so you may need some professional help with assembly.
Once you've picked the type of frame you'd like to use, it is then time to choose your glazing. There are three types, each with their own benefits:
Standard horticultural glass
The most affordable glazing option, standard horticultural glass is clear, practical and looks great. However, this type of glass will splinter when broken and can break very easily – so if you’ve got pets or young children, you may want to look elsewhere.
Polycarbonate safety glazing
Light, flexible and shatterproof, polycarbonate safety glazing is a good choice if you’ve got energetic children or excitable pets. With an opaque finish, two sheets of polycarbonate act like double-glazing, offering improved insulation. If you go for polycarbonate, you’ll want to check regularly for algae between the sheets, which can be difficult to remove.
Toughened safety glass
Toughened safety glass crumbles when broken, making it the safest option for your greenhouse. Although it is more expensive than other types of glazing, it’s clear finish, superior strength and improved safety make it a great choice for family homes.
Constructing your greenhouse on a base will help to give it strength and stability, so that it lasts longer. Whilst you can build your own base out of bricks and mortar, you can save yourself loads of time, energy and hassle by investing in a galvanised stainless steel base.
Once your greenhouse is installed, you’ll need to lay a floor to complete the job. Concrete is a popular, permanent choice, but you can also use wooden decking, gravel, patio slabs or even rubber matting to create your floor.
- If you’re planning on growing all year round, or want to grow delicate seedlings and exotic plants, then some kind of greenhouse heater is a must.
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