Las Pilitas Nursery

California Native Plants are all we grow!

Blog Contact Us Directions

3232 Las Pilitas Rd
Santa Margarita, CA 93453

Shop For Plants Cart Contents

You might notice changes as we begin to upgrade our website. More info to follow. Thanks for your support.

How to build a small, cheap and easy greenhouse

Material List for 28 foot by 15 foot greenhouse, sorry, with pvc, the greenhouse has to be small.

5 20 foot pieces of 5/8 inch rebar (cut in 1/3's to about 6 foot lengths)

7 20 foot lengths of 1 inch schedule 40 PVC with a small (3/16-¼ inch) hole drilled dead center, at 10 feet

2 20 foot lengths of 1 inch schedule 40 PVC (cut into 20 inch pieces)

84 feet of ½ schedule 40 PVC cut into 4 foot lengths.

About 80 feet of 2X4 treated wood

4 teated 8 foot fence posts

40X24 feet of UV stabilized polyethylene

60 2 ½ inch fence staples

How to build the side of the greenhouse with cheapo rebar posts - grid24_6
1. Start by stretching a string along where you want the two long sides of the greenhouse to be. Then pound in your 6 foot long pieces of rebar every 4 feet in a straight line leaving 48 inches protruding from the ground. It is important that they be vertical and within ½ inch of the 48 inch target. If you plan on graveling the floor, put it down as soon you have figured out where the greenhouse goes.
How to attach the side clip of greenhouse - grid24_6
2. Nail on 2X6 runner to the rebar stakes. This will give you something to nail the polyethylene onto later. You can use 60 2 ½ inch fence staples. (In the picture left we put the PVC on before attaching the 2X6. This was a pain as you had to hold up the PVC while you nailed the rebar.) 3. Slide the 20 inch pieces of PVC over the rebar stakes. * make sure no sharps are exposed: wire ends, rebar, rough pipe, etc. It will latter tear the plastic.
How to use cheap greenhouse hoops of 1 inch plastic. Notice gravel base before you build the greenhouse. - grid24_6
4. Place the 20 foot pieces of PVC on the rebar stakes. (Don't put it all the way down on one side and then do the other. Have friend do one side while you do the other, both a little at a time. *When you first slide the pipes on, the holes you drilled MUST be horizontal (parallel to the ground). Wait about an hour and you will not be about to twist the pipe to correct the problem. The vertical rebar will bend inward as the PVC flexes. This grabs the rebar and locks up the PVC .
Wire ties going through a center hoop - grid24_6
5. Now you can slide the wire through the holes in the PVC and then through the eight four foot pieces of PVC along the roof.
if you do not wire the sides together the plastic hoops will lay down and the greenhouse will fail. - grid24_6
6. To keep the ribs of this greenhouse from shifting horizontally wire the four foot lengths of PVC pipe with copper or baling wire. Make sure you wrap the wire so the PVC is forced inward not outward.
wire through hole of hoop tie to runners - grid24_6
* This side wall and top tie is VERY,VERY important. If the walls can separate snow or even hail will collapse the structure. The greenhouse will stand up to about a foot (2 foot?) of snow with the ties, two inches without them. If the frame stays together the snow will slide off, if the structure pulls apart the snow can build up to a weight of a 1956 Buick. This greenhouse will not support a Buick on it.
Pull the polyethylene to the end, fold and staple it onto the wood - grid24_6
7. Finally you need to build the two end walls with doors. You should put a door on both sides as it will vent better. Either use 10 foot vertical posts (4X4) buried 3-4 feet for doorway frame or 8 foot posts with bracing back to runners(as shown). The two end walls have to be well built and cannot be floppy. They have to stay vertical so the PVC cannot separate. The door needs to be tight enough so that gusts of wind cannot inflate your greenhouse.
nails in post before you put it in the dirt - grid24_6
Drive a few nails horizontally into the base of the posts and bury them. This will help give your posts some grip in the ground. Little mini-twisters love to hit our greenhouses and blow them up. 40 MPH winds coming in from both sides test your construction. (Our fiberglass greenhouses are cleated with lath because of this problem. Our mini-twisters have blown up some barns in the area.)
Finished end of plastic greenhouse. You can build a greenhouse like this for a $100 in a day. - grid24_12
8. Last of all have someone help you, one person on each side, slide the plastic over your rib cage. Attach each end by rapping the end of your plastic around pieces of lath and then nail the lath to the triangular end walls and to that long 2X6 along the bottom. Ta Da! A green house! You can make it look a lot classier. Ours is just functional.
We've moved these a couple of times. The only difficulty is leaving the door on the post and leaving the end walls as intact as possible. So temporary or portable they can be. Much like a large tent.
To see more how to build stuff go to our

How to build garden stuff

Simple solar vents for greenhouses.

How to build a simple poly greenhouse.

If you do not have a lot of money try to work around the problems of your site instead of making an expensive greenhouse. If the cold is really only there once every 10 years, maybe row covers would be enough for you to get by. If the real problems are wildlife, maybe a fence would be enough and greenhouse would make it worse. If your site as some cold but a lot of heat, maybe a shade house with 30% shade would be better.
Try to think like a plant, or, try to think like a smart plant. Where would you want to grow and what would make you happy?

Some simple ideas for shade house and greenhouse construction, cold, deer, and hot.