Get planting - whatever the weather
You don’t have to be an expert gardener to get the most out of a greenhouse. These garden structures make growing and maintaining plants, fruit and vegetables easier throughout the year for everyone - from experienced growers to enthusiastic novices. They help extend the growing season - allowing you to start planting earlier and continue later into the year and shelter delicate new plants from frost, snow and too much rain come the winter weather.
And it's not just about how you grow your plants, but what you grow as well. Greenhouses provide a warm, constant climate that nurtures exotic plants that are not native to the UK, enabling you to introduce some more unusual additions to your home and garden.
So whether you're interested in your first greenhouse or updating an existing one, check out our top tips to help you find the best greenhouse for your growing needs.
Before you begin
Where will your greenhouse go?
It's important to consider where you'll be building your greenhouse, and there are a number of things to think about. Your greenhouse should be placed on a spot that is:
- In the sun with no shade
- Away from overhanging trees
- On level, secure ground
- Easy to access from all sides of the structure (to help with maintenance and cleaning)
Next up, work out how much space you have. We recommend getting the largest greenhouse you can sensibly accommodate as larger greenhouses create a more constant climate for your plants, as it takes more time for them to heat up or cool down.
What ground will your greenhouse be placed on?
Putting your greenhouse directly onto the ground will allow you to plant directly into the earth. However, you may still want to lay a path through the middle – a well-watered greenhouse will mean muddy feet for you.
Placing it on a paving slab, brick or concrete base means you’ll need to use grow bags as you can’t plant directly into the ground. Gravel is another option if you want some sort of flooring, but still want a level of drainage. These options may also retain some heat in the summer months, ensuring your greenhouse is slightly warmer.
Will you need planning permission?
Most of our garden buildings are less than 2.5 metres (m) tall, which means that they won’t need planning permission to be installed. However, you need to make sure that your greenhouse is:
- Only one storey and not more than 3 metres tall
- Placed at least 2 metres away from any boundary
- Not going to cover more than half of the land around your home
If you have any questions or doubts around any applicable building regulations, be sure to contact your local authority.
Constructing your greenhouse
Our greenhouses are available either as self-assembly or some can be assembled for you. If doing it yourself, you’ll usually need at least two people to install it safely – and be sure to follow the instruction manual.
Alternatively, opt for a greenhouse that includes assembly service, so that it will be professionally installed in your garden by an approved team. They’ll contact you to arrange a suitable time and date for fitting. Though please note that you'll need to prepare a suitable, level base for the greenhouse before the installers arrive or they won’t be able to install.
Types of greenhouse
When it comes to picking your greenhouse, there are two critical elements to think about - the materials for your frame and the glazing.
There are three options for your greenhouse frame: aluminium, extruded resin and wood.
The most popular choice of greenhouse, an aluminium frame is strong, durable and hard-wearing, and won’t rot or rust. With some maintenance, an aluminium greenhouse will last for years.
Our range comes in plain metallic or green painted options, with a galvanised steel base.
A type of plastic, extruded resin frames offer an attractive and cost-effective choice that boasts better heat-retention properties than aluminium options. Slightly less robust than metal, they're best suited to smaller greenhouses.
Our extruded resin greenhouses are available in white and green finishes.
For a more rustic style, our wooden greenhouses are a great choice – plus you can personalise them with exterior paint to create your own unique look.
Our selection of greenhouses are made with pressure treated wood. This means that protective treatment is shot directly into the timber to prevent rot and mould. As will all wood exposed to the elements, it will require regular maintenance such as repainting or staining every few years.
All the timber we use is approved by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) – an international not for profit organisation that promotes responsible management of the world’s forests. For more information, visit our One Planet Home page.
There are three main types of greenhouse glazing available - polycarbonate, acrylic and glass - and these present further different options for you to choose from. Some greenhouses feature more than one type to offer the best combination of insulation, lighting and safety.
A cheaper, thinner, more durable option to glass, polycarbonate is available as panels or Twinwall.
Polycarbonate panels are a great option for those on a budget and require no maintenance once installed. While offering 90% light transmission (this means it lets in almost all light), each panel has UV protection applied. This not only blocks harmful rays from scorching your delicate plants, but also prevents panels becoming discoloured over time. This high-level of light transmission is ideal if you’re planting from seed.
Despite being just 0.7millimetres (mm) thick, and extremely lightweight, these panels are virtually unbreakable, making them a top choice for gardens with children and pets.
Offering most of the advantages of panels with a few added benefits, Twinwall is made from two sheets (walls) of polycarbonate with struts in between. This makes it thicker than a a standard panel alone, trapping the air to improve heat insulation. Twinwall looks opaque and offers 70% light transmission, giving your plants slightly more protection from the sun - best suited if you’re growing plants to maturity. Opaque glazing also ensures that the light is diffused evenly, meaning you won’t have any hotspots within your greenhouse.
A solid budget option, acrylic glazing is easy to maintain, requiring just a little soap and water. Any dullness in appearance can be banished with a quick polish, though it's not as flexible as polycarbonate and so can chip easily.
Glass glazing is a heavier option for your greenhouse, and choosing this will lead to a stronger structure overall. But beware of impacts, as it's more likely to shatter easily than polycarbonate or acrylic. We present two types - horticultural glass and toughened safety glass.
For a more traditional look that lets in a lot of light, choose horticultural glass glazing for your greenhouse.
Fitted with a thickness of 3mm, this glass could shatter into large shards if impacted - something to consider if children or pets will be playing in a nearby area. However if the glass is broken, the panes are easy to replace as they're all standard sizes.
Toughened safety glass
For a sturdier glass option, choose toughened safety glass. It’s also 3mm thick, but is tougher and more resistant to impacts and wind than horticultural glass. And it shatters when broken, resulting in small, relatively harmless pieces of glass, not shards.Shop all greenhouses
Once you’ve decided what materials you’d like your greenhouse to be constructed from, it’s time to think about the style elements and practicalities you want.
There are four options when it comes to picking a roof for your greenhouse: apex, curved apex, Dutch apex and lean-to. Whichever option you choose, check to see if it comes with a roof panel that you can prop open for extra ventilation – this can also ensure that any condensation is released without losing as much heat as keeping the doors open.
The traditional pointed greenhouse roof, shaped like an inverted “V”. Choose an option with built-in guttering and you can collect rainwater to use around your garden.
Also available are Curved apex greenhouses which offer the same benefits as the apex while the softer lines lend a more contemporary look.
And Dutch apex (also known as the Dutch barn or barn roof) with greater height - ideal if you want to grow taller plants in your greenhouse.
Attaching to the side of your home or a wall, this greenhouse has the look of a conservatory and takes up the least amount of space, making it perfect for patios.
If placed up against a property, heat may radiate out and into your greenhouse, so be sure to take this into account when choosing which plants to grow in there – some may not suit the higher temperature.
Before choosing your door, consider how much space you’ll need to open it up fully. Will you be moving large plants, tools or equipment, such as wheelbarrows, in or out? And don't forget ventilation – the bigger the greenhouse, the more ventilation it will need.
Number of doors
The more traditional option, this is great for smaller spaces.
Offers the most ventilation as well as giving you easy and convenient access if you need to move larger items in or out.
Style of door
A great space-saving option, sliding doors are made from glass but you don’t have to worry about them swinging open and smashing against anything – the rails ensure limited movement.
Made from polycarbonate glazing, all of our hinged doors come with magnets on the corner of their frames so that they can be held in place while open. However, there's still the risk of them catching in the wind, so be sure to keep an eye on them when there’s blustery weather.
You might need
With your greenhouse chosen, don’t forget the finishing touches. We offer a wide range of greenhouse accessories to suit your every need.
Greenhouse bases help attach your greenhouse to the surface beneath - be it just bare ground, paving, brickwork or concrete - ensuring that it’s secure.
Some of our greenhouses come with bases as part of the package, while others don’t, so be sure to check yours before you buying. We sell plastic bases separately, as well as anchor kits.
Staging and shelving
Keeping your plants organised will enable you to grow more, as well as group them into different stages. We offer wooden, metal and plastic models to help you keep your space tidy.
If you’re concerned about how much light is getting into your greenhouse, add a shade kit. This synthetic green netting protects delicate plants from the intense rays of the sun but doesn't block out light.
Bubble wrap works wonders when retaining heat and protecting plants from frost in your greenhouse, but still lets sufficient light through. Simply cut to size and attach.
Make the most of the unpredictable British weather by collecting rainwater to use in your greenhouse. It will save you from having to walk up and down the garden with a watering can, or unrolling the hose – and is the ideal choice in case of a hosepipe ban.
Most aluminium greenhouses come with guttering built-in, so add a rainwater diverter and you can direct the water from the guttering into a water butt or container.
Another way to save water is to add capillary matting underneath your plants. These absorb water and then release it slowly, your plants absorbing it from the bottom of the plants or seed trays so that you won't need to water as much. And if you’re going on holiday, or you don’t want to water every day, consider the Hozelock Lazy Watering Dripper kit which ensures that each plant is watered automatically.
Auto vents and louvre windows
Ventilation is important for your greenhouse plants in order to keep the humidity down.
Most greenhouse frames include adjustable air vents, but an auto vent will respond to the weather changes to automatically open and shut the windows accordingly with no power supply required to keep the air circulating. Louvre windows offer adjustable ventilation through the side panels of your greenhouse.
Depending on the plants you want to grow (especially tropical types), you may need to heat your greenhouse to get it to the right temperature. Invest in a paraffin heater to keep the space as warm as you require. Also good for keeping you toasty while working in your greenhouse, especially when the temperatures drop in autumn and winter.
A necessity if your greenhouse is on an allotment, padlocks discourage thieves and vandals damaging your plants or stealing your equipment. Combine with a hasp and staple lock for peace of mind.
You won’t need to do much to keep your greenhouse looking great for years to come.
Using the right materials to keep the frame clean will ensure that rot or rust don’t cause it to deteriorate. Aluminium and extruded resin frames can be cleaned with a pressure washer or simply by using Jeyes fluid alongside a brush or cloth. Wooden frames need to be regularly treated with a stain or oil to prevent rot or mould.
Buy a greenhouse maintenance kit for when you need to replace glass or polycarbonate, frames or nuts and bolts. Or you can just get glazing clips on their own – these hold the glazing panels in place.