How do you choose the best backyard greenhouse for your garden?

Here in the UK, a greenhouse is a necessity for many gardeners if they want somewhere to protect non-hardy plants from the damage that can be wrought by winter frosts. However, thanks to the huge range of greenhouses that are available, we can be forgiven for not knowing where to start when it comes to choosing a greenhouse. There’s just so much information that we can suffer from information overload!

However, if you start by asking yourself the following questions, then you will be well on the way to deciding which will be the best greenhouse for you and you will find it easier to decide which type to choose.

Questions to help you choose the best backyard greenhouse

  1. What will be the main use for your greenhouse?
  2. Will you want a small or large greenhouse?
  3. Will the backyard greenhouse be a main feature in your garden?
  4. Is your garden, or the planned location of the greenhouse, regularly exposed to strong winds?
  5. Will young children play in or visit the garden?
  6. Is the garden visited by large wild animals?

Two additional important factors are budget and the space available and if you do live in a Windy Area, the durability of the greenhouse will be important and you may have to spend extra on a more solid structure. You also need to remember that damage to greenhouses is not normally covered by UK Home Insurance Policies.

The internal temperature of the Greenhouse will also determine exactly which plants and/or vegetables you will be able to grow, so let’s have a look at temperature control. Basically, there’s three types of greenhouse when it comes to temperature control:

  • a hot greenhouse (sometimes called a hothouse)
  • a warm greenhouse
  • a cool greenhouse

Hot Greenhouse

The internal temperature of a hot greenhouse is usually maintained at a minimum temperature of 65 F (18 C) and is usually intended for growing tropical and exotic plants in more temperate climates, such as the UK. Heating and lighting equipment will need to be installed, unless of course you live in a warmer climate.

Warm Greenhouse

The temperature inside a warm greenhouse is usually maintained at about 55 F (13 C).  This enables a larger variety of plants to grow, possibly as many as you would be able to grow outdoors.  However, you may need to use additional heat and light during the winter months.

Cool Greenhouse

The purpose of a cool greenhouse is to protect non-hardy plants from frost and is usually maintained at a temperature ranging from 40 to 45 degrees F (four to seven degrees C). This temperature is ideal for growing seedlings or any plants that do not need warmer temperatures to survive.

A cool backyard greenhouse is perfect for starting off growing plants from seed in anticipation of the summer months.  The use of heat or lighting is not normally needed in a cool greenhouse.

I have a cool greenhouse, in which I over-winter my non-hardy plants, mainly fuschias, which would be killed off if exposed to too many frosts. I also have a greenhouse heater on standby, in case the weather gets really cold for any period of time.

However, this winter has probably been the warmest we have had for a long time. Not only have I not needed to use the greenhouse heater, but some of my over-wintering fuschias have continued to bloom and others, that have been cut back, are already starting to sprout strong new shoots.

In our next post we will look at the types of Greenhouse available, which will help you to choose the best backyard greenhouse for your specific needs.