Three Steps to Achieving Your Dream Greenhouse
A Vancouver greenhouse professional shares how to expand your space and add light to your life
Imagine enjoying your morning coffee as you watch snowflakes drift onto the clear ceiling above you. Swimming in the moonlight on a cool autumn evening, or pruning your plants without breaking a sweat on a hot summer afternoon. Sound appealing? All of these activities are possible when you’re surrounded by well-designed glass. “Whether you have something that inspires you or a photo of a greenhouse you’ve fallen in love with, start thinking about what’s achievable at your home,” says Angela Drake of Vancouver-based Meridian Estate Greenhouses. “Then make your dreams a reality.”
At this home in Rancho Santa Fe, California, Drake’s team created a greenhouse tailored around the owner’s desire for a space to tend her prized orchids. The roof has three types of glass, each of which filters different UV rays to suit the varied needs of the 60-odd orchids that live in the greenhouse. There’s a custom concrete potting bench fitted with stainless steel cabinetry to hold tools, soil and gloves. Plants sit on wire-topped metal benches that allow water to drain through.
It’s important to know outdoor conditions such as winter temperatures, wind force and snow loads to assess the structural support needs of your greenhouse, Drake says, “whether it’s 140 pounds of snow or 140-mph winds.”
The owners of this Seattle home wanted to sit in a cozy greenhouse year-round. Drake’s team created a tropical space that always stays above 60 degrees Fahrenheit, even in winter. Palm trees, bromeliads and foxgloves cluster happily around an intimate seating area. Even though the space is warmed by propane, an exhaust fan limits condensation and tubular bars hide all the heating and cooling hardware so it doesn’t mar the views to the outside.
Decide on a look that matches your home and your overall vision, Drake says. “Then plan ahead, especially if you’re also working with an architect or contractor.”
The greenhouse at this Ohio home was designed to be tall and stately and to match the traditional main residence. A stone base mimics the home’s cladding, and a cupola rises 30 feet, reflecting the smaller cupola on the house. The owner chose curved transoms for the side walls as a decorative feature to add an extra something special to the greenhouse.
More: For more information on Angela Drake and examples of her team’s work, visit Meridian Estate Greenhouses’ Houzz profile.