My First Greenhouse
Welcome to the wonderful world of greenhouses! If you are new to greenhouses this is a great place to begin your greenhouse plans.
The first decision is to select a free standing or building attached greenhouse model. Free standing allows you to select the appropriate site to maximize sunlight exposure and aesthetic appeal. Home-attached greenhouses offer convenient access to services, good use of yard space and added insulation.
BC Greenhouse Builders manufactures 7 DIY product lines within the Cross Country brand: Pacific,Traditional, Cottage, Cape Cod, The Parkside and our standard 8×8 models the Sungarden and Legacy Each line can be modified and sized to suit your needs excluding the standard models. The kits are intuitively designed with an easy to follow written instructions. On average, a typical 8×12 model will take a weekend to build.
Our greenhouse plans and designs are modular and built in two foot increments. We can modify any size and fit any greenhouse to an existing foundation. We also offer a series of feature sizes such as 8×12 and 12×16 which are popular greenhouse sizes with customers and offer extra savings. View our feature greenhouse models here.
If you live in an area prone to high winds, heavy snow or the occasional hurricane, some greenhouse plans and consideration should be given to the weather tightness of the greenhouse (drafts, water penetration and strength). We can engineer greenhouses according to your municipality to meet wind and snow loads in all states and provinces. No matter your climate, one of our 4 unique glazing systems will work for you.
Locate the greenhouse so that 6 hours of sunlight per day is available during winter months. Anything less and you may have to supplement with grow lights. If possible, align the longest side of your greenhouse to face south. This permits the roof to attract the most amount of sunlight during the day.
Wood frame or concrete is most common. Wood frames are simple, less expensive and can be moved if necessary. Concrete gives the greenhouse a more permanent look, is easy to clean and will last for generations. For greenhouses over 16×20, a concrete foundation is recommended. All foundations must be level and square for easy installation.
What is a door drop?
A door drop is a free custom modification that lowers the greenhouse into the foundation (or allows the door to be flush to with the ground) so that you do not have to step over and into the greenhouse. Prior to manufacturing the greenhouse, BC Greenhouse Builders will ask for the dimensions of the “drop” which is the total height of the foundation (which could be a concrete footing, one row of 4×4’s, or a custom rock wall for example). We will install a custom piece of glass or poly above the door for a perfect fit!
Heating depends on the type of plants you are growing, the size of your greenhouse, the glazing and your climate.
We have heating formulas to determine the best system for your needs and then we’ll even factory modify the cuts and drill points for the heater and/or fan and include those in the installation instructions too! Check out the various greenhouse heaters that are available for purchase:
Glass vs. Polycarbonate
To simplify, the difference really comes down to “form over function”. Glass is a traditional glazing used to beautify your yard that gives you the ability to control light transmission with external shading options. Polycarbonate offers built in shading, is maintenance free and virtually unbreakable. You have the option of choosing a combination of glazing for your structure which includes single tempered glass, double glass, twinwall and fivewall polycarbonate.
Want to talk to a greenhouse expert?
We‘re ready to help! 1-888-391-4433
Some Growing examples
A Cool House
Our customer Jennifer lives in mild climate and wants to winter over. Jen chose a greenhouse with single glass sidewalls and a twinwall polycarbonate roof. She maintains a night temperature of 40 – 45 Fahrenheit (5 – 7 Celsius) to protect her fuchsias, begonias and the polycarbonate roof adds extra protection for her tomatoes and peppers in the summer. The best of both worlds!
A Warm House
Tom lives in a colder climate that sees a significant amount of snow but he wanted to grow citrus trees, orchids and fox- gloves. A Cape Cod fivewall polycarbonate was the perfect fit and with very little additional heat, Tom could maintain the night temperature of 55 Fahrenheit (13 Celsius). The fivewall polycarbonate glazing allowed for the best combination of light transmission and heat retention. The steep pitch of the roof causes the snow to simply slide off!
A Hot House
Nicholas wanted to create more living and growing space. He liked the idea of the home attached Pacific double glass and then was sold on its energy efficiency and was amazed at how easy is was to maintain a night temperature of 65 Fahrenheit (18 Celsius). He upgraded to the low E glass with the beauty capping and now has a three season sitting and growing room for his tropical and rare houseplants.