How to Build a Lean-To Greenhouse

| December 22, 2010 | Comments (0)

How to Build a Lean-To Greenhouse

A lean-to greenhouse is built against another structure and one wall of that structure serves as a wall of the greenhouse. A lean-to greenhouse is very cost effective to build compared to most greenhouses and will be close to available sources of water, heat and electricity. A properly sited lean-to greenhouse will be located on the side of the structure that receives maximum sun exposure. With a few tools and a little knowledge, it is easy to build a lean-to greenhouse.

  • Measure out from the structure to lay out your greenhouse’s foundation. For example, for a 5-by-8 foot greenhouse, mark out a 5-by-8 foot rectangle from the side of your house.
    • Trench this perimeter to lay in your foundation. You will be using treated 8-by-8 timbers for the foundation, so only trench as deep as the timbers. Lay these into the trenches ensuring they are level and 90 degrees to each other. When finished, it will look like a garden plot bordered by timbers on three sides and up against the house.
    • Use 2-by-2 lumber to frame your walls. Spruce or cedar is a good wood type to use in framing your lean-to greenhouse. Screw a 2-by-2 board that is as long as the width of your greenhouse foundation to the wall of your structure at a height of eight feet. Frame the front wall at 6 feet off the ground. This will allow your roof to have pitch to let the water run off. You’ll want your vertical framing studs at least 24 inches on center, but leave a 30 inch space between the studs in the front for the door.
    • Frame the sides to the required height. The sides will pitch down from the structure towards the front of the greenhouse, so each vertical board will be cut at a different height. After the walls are framed, add a couple of horizontal supports across the roof. You should now have a completely framed lean-to greenhouse.
    • Take 1/2 inch-by-1/2 inch wire mesh and staple it to the roof. Cut to fit as required. This will add support and keep the polyethylene plastic from sagging and ripping.
    • Staple the polyethylene plastic to the three sides and roof of the lean-to greenhouse. You will not need anything for the back wall as it is against a building structure. Overlap the seams and staple down to provide a better air seal.
    • Install a greenhouse zipper door in the 30 inch space in the front of your greenhouse. Follow the zipper door’s instructions for exact installation methods.

    Things you will need;

    • Level
    • Box fans
    • Portable electric heater
    • Greenhouse zipper door
    • (3) 8-by-8 treated timbers
    • 2-by-2 lumber
    • Saw
    • Hammer
    • Cordless drill
    • Safety glasses
    • Work gloves
    • 1/2 inch-by-1/2 inch wire mesh
    • 6 mil polyethylene plastic
    • Staples
    • Box of 2-3/4 inch wood screws
    • Staple gun
    • Tape measure
    • Carpenter’s square


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