Though many people might automatically envision one type of design and a range of similar materials whenever they hear the word “greenhouse” it is important to understand that there is a tremendous amount of variety in terms of the designing, planning, and materials used for any greenhouse project.
Just consider that there are attached greenhouses that include – “lean to” (meaning that they are connected to an outer wall of a pre-existing building and use it for support), “even span” styles that are free-standing (with the exception that they are attached to another building at one end), and “window mounted” styles that are simply inserted into a pre-existing window space. There are also the more familiar freestanding types that use a somewhat basic structure with the only variations coming with the sizes selected and the materials used.
Generally, when speaking of design it begins with the selection of one of the styles above. There is not always a huge amount of variety available because of the location of the structure, and this means that planning has to take into account a lot more than just the position of the sun, etc.
Location and Seasons
For example, you may want a “lean to” style greenhouse but the location of some trees causes to much shade or the inability to get decent drainage may prevent you from selecting the actual style that you prefer. In this example, you may have to switch from the lean to style to the “even span” that is attached to a different area of the home or building, and which might then get better sun or more reasonable drainage.
The design and planning stages also have to take into consideration when the greenhouse will be put to use. Though it is entirely possible for a greenhouse to be used year-round, most people find that they can become too warm during summer months unless designed with optimal air flow and a bit of cooling. What this means, however, is that it is vitally important to understand the amount of time that the structure will be used in order to design it accordingly.
After all, there is the need to also understand the appropriate flooring, ventilation, heating or cooling, air circulation system, and water system for the building too. Ignoring the fact that weather conditions during summer months might leave the building exposed to direct sunlight and without adequate airflow is going to result in a very unpleasant result.
Materials and Shape
Finally, once the designing and planning are done, it is time to also consider the structural materials. This is something that is essential as well because it begins with the choice of framing style. Whether it is an A-frame, gothic, Quonset hut, or post and rafter greenhouse, it is necessary to understand this during the planning and design phases too.
Assessing when the greenhouse will be used is going to also demand a lot of thought about the covering materials too. For instance, there is glass, fiberglass, and a variety of different plastics from which to choose. There is also the need to determine the flooring early in the planning stages in order to know which of the coverings are viable too.
Clearly, there is a tremendous amount of information necessary when building a greenhouse and we suggest that you spend time doing some drawings or exploring all of the options.