Greenhouse Planning

Taking the first steps in planning your Greenhouse

Get Started On Planning Your Greenhouse

One of the most important decisions while planning your future greenhouse is choosing what plants to grow and what time of year to grow them. These factors will help determine which type of greenhouse will best meet your needs.

Greenhouse Styles

English/Traditional Greenhouses

English/Traditional Greenhouse An English greenhouse has a specific style and is the epitome of a traditional, classical appearance. English greenhouses are highly ornate and are a beautiful and functional addition to any home or business. English greenhouses may include decorative elements such as dormers, ridge cresting, finials, grids, masonry base walls, or raised panels. Pilasters may also be added to a greenhouse’s exterior for a more formal appearance. A Palladian arch and historically designed gutters are also attractive additions.

The greenhouse’s interior can include crown molding and bar caps in various profile options. Decorative castings are often used as plant hangers. The combination of these enhancements creates a striking English greenhouse.

Contemporary Greenhouses

Contemporary Greenhouse Unlike their decorative counterparts, contemporary greenhouses consist of large glass areas and clean lines. A linear format is often associated with contemporary styles and can be accomplished in modern greenhouses. Mullions are frequently used to achieve horizontal designs.

The greenhouse’s finish can enhance the modern appearance; popular choices include white, black, and clear anodized, which is often used in industrial settings. Stainless steel cladding can be applied directly to the aluminum frame as well. The interior of the greenhouse achieves a modern flare by using flat rafters and commercial grade accessories.

Placements and Considerations

Solar Exposure

Placements and Considerations To achieve the highest amount of solar exposure, the longest side of the greenhouse should be within a 20° orientation to true south to achieve the highest amount of solar exposure. However, a freestanding greenhouse’s orientation is not as critical, because it receives light from all sides and can be supplemented with grow lights.

Attached or lean-to greenhouses should be installed on the south, southeast, or east facing walls for the greatest light exposure. A western exposure provides enough light, but the summer afternoon sun causes cooling the structure less cost effective. A north facing greenhouse is not recommended since it only provides enough sun for plants with low light requirements. The greenhouse should be oriented due south when possible since the light is ideal for passive heat which warms the greenhouse and nurtures the plants.

Solar Blockages

Many customers are concerned with trees located close to the proposed site of a greenhouse. The most common concern is falling trees or limbs causing damage the structure, but most of the time customers can be at ease. For example, a deciduous tree is often beneficial to the greenhouse since it provides shade during the summer for cooling and also allows for solar gain when its foliage drops in the winter.

Easy Access

The property’s features play an important role in determining the greenhouse’s location and orientation. All projects require adequate access to the project site for material delivery and installation. This includes the work doneby other subcontractors like masonry, plumbing, and electricity. Arrangements need to be made prior to work commencing if the site’s location requires access through another person’s property. If crane access and/or a freight elevator are required to transport materials to a rooftop in an urban area, component size and project design will be even more critical. Easy Access Once installed, owners need the ability to access the greenhouse year-round. Depending upon the region, this can become a difficult situation since plants still need to be watered and tended regardless of the weather; the same is true during rain and high temperatures. Keeping the greenhouse in close proximity to the main structure will allow for easy access during extreme weather.


Straight Eave Double Pitch Greenhouses

Straight Eave Double Pitch Greenhouse

Double pitch is a classic shape for greenhouses and is the most common configuration for free-standing units; it provides a uniform space that is tallest at the ridge. As you determine the roof pitch, keep in mind the surrounding structures, and that each plane of the roof can employ a different pitch. One of the gable ends will typically be the attachment point.

Straight Eave Double Pitch Greenhouse

Straight Lean-to Greenhouses

Straight Lean-to Greenhouse

A straight Eave, lean-to shape is the most common configuration for greenhouses attached to another structure. They tend to require a smaller investment of materials when compared to a double pitch, but can provide the same amount of interior area. This attached greenhouse allows for direct access during inclement weather. This configuration is an excellent option if you only have a small amount of space, but it is equally impressive when used in large spans along a building. An advantage to this shape is the solid rear wall, which can act as thermal storage for solar heat. Many customers modify the back wall with shelving for additional storage.

Straight Lean-to Greenhouse

Curved Eave Double Pitch Greenhouses

Curved Eave Double Pitch Greenhouses

In a curved eave, double pitch configuration, the eaves of the walls are curved and create a modern appearance.

When decorative elements are added to adorn the greenhouse, the aesthetic develops a more classic look, reminiscent of wooden greenhouses of the past.

The curve can begin high on the rafter to allow for taller interior elements, or low on the rafter for a more traditional look.

Curved Eave Double Pitch Greenhouses

Curved Eave Lean-to Greenhouses

Curved Eave Lean-to Greenhouse

In this configuration the lean-to walls are curved to create a modern appearance. Curves can begin high on the rafter to allow for taller interior elements, or low on the rafter for a more traditional look.

Curved Eave Lean-to Greenhouse

Bull Nose Greenhouses

Bull Nose Greenhouse

This roof design includes a double pitch section that tapers into a nose; it is also known as a conservatory nose or Victorian style. The nose typically projects half the width of the structure with six to nine segments comprising the radial shape. The nose part of the design can also be designed as an attached lean-to with no double pitch section, in which case the nose attaches directly to a house. This is another design which is easily equipped with decorative accessories to achieve a design specific aesthetic.

Bull Nose Greenhouse

Hip End Greenhouses

Hip End Greenhouse

A hip end roof is an attractive option, typically selected for its aesthetic qualities. All sides of the roof slope downward to the walls, usually at a gentle pitch, which eliminates gable ends. A hip end is easily adapted to numerous design styles. The size of the structure is smaller than a comparably sized double pitch greenhouse, which can correlate to lower heating and cooling costs. Hip end greenhouses can be attached to a building or constructed as freestanding units.

Hip End Greenhouse

Custom Configuration Greenhouses

Hip End Greenhouse

Custom Greenhouse can be designed to fit the shape of your house with valleys, two-story height, or interior dividing walls. Customized testing and engineering are often available.

Hip End Greenhouse

Methods of Growing

Earth Beds vs. Container Growing

Greenhouses often utilize a combination of growing methods that can suit various needs. For example, earth beds, benches, trellises, and containers can all be utilized and dedicated to growing. When potted plants are stored on benches, there is less bending and kneeling, which can be beneficial to both children and the elderly. Container gardening is also less physical in nature and can be utilized within a greenhouse. In addition, pest and weed maintenance is easier to control when plants are individually potted.

Traditional greenhouses grow plants in containers, but earth beds can also be incorporated. This method of growing is where plants are propagated directly into the ground and is a simple solution that, depending on the foundation, can emulate outdoor beds.Plants benefit from the extra space and do not have to be repotted as they grow.



A trellis consists of cross tie aluminum wire enclosed within a frame and are available in single or stack option. A single trellis is a traditional trellis, where the unit is only one section. Stacked trellises are shorter trellises connected by chain, aligned atop each other. Trellises can be as tall as needed and are appropriate for interior and exterior gardens. The framing is provided in a mill finish, but custom paint options are also available.

Greenhouse Benches

Benches are a staple accessory in a greenhouse, as they enhance the amount of growing space.

Potting Benches

Potting Bench

Potting benches are used as work stations and can be used to repot flowers, store tools, and display plants.

Tiered Benches

Tiered benches can stand three levels tall and can be placed above or under a fixed bench. Low light plants grow well under bench tiers.

Tiered Bench

Rolling Benches

Rolling Bench Rolling benches have fixed legs and an expandable top, which extends growing space into the aisles and are retracted when not in use.

Fixed Benches

Fixed benches are a staple in greenhouses. They are inoperable and are available with Mahogany, galvanized steel mesh, or black polyethylene crosshatched tops.

Fixed Bench

Seedling Benches

Seedling benches are raised beds on legs which allow you to grow plants directly in the soil. These benches have a solid bottom and can be designed to accommodate varying depths of soil.

Seedling Bench

Gravel Benches

Gravel benches consist of a solid bench top, which is filled with gravel and water. This is an ideal bench for humidity loving plants such as tropicals and orchids.

Gravel Bench

Greenhouse Shelving

Installing shelving is another great way to expand your greenhouse’s growing area. The units can be placed directly in front of a window, on a solid wall, or located high on the eaves.

Open Grate Shelves

Open Grate Shelf Open grate shelving units are practical and affordable. They allow optimal air flow and are easy to maintain. Tops are available in galvanized steel mesh or black polyethylene plastic.

Wooden Shelves

Wood shelving inserts are traditional English greenhouse elements that are made of hardwood species like Mahogany or Cedar. These slats can be stained or kept in their natural state.

Wooden Shelf

Metal Bracket Shelves

Metal bracket shelving supports are an economical choice, have a functional appearance, and can be mounted above or below the shelf.

Metal Bracket Shelf

Decorative Castings

Decorative Casting Decorative corner shelf supports are historical greenhouse elements. This shelf support works well with conservatory style greenhouses and can also double as a plant hanger.

Greenhouse Plant Hangers

A variety of plants can be grown year-round in hanging baskets within the greenhouse. Decorative hanging baskets are a popular porch item during the summer and can live through the winter in your greenhouse.

Truss Hangers

A truss is a structural element that spans the width of the greenhouse and can hold a high quantity of heavy plants.

Truss Hanger

Ring and Collar Hangers

Ring and Collar Hanger Ring and collars are a type of historical plant hanger that can be adorned with an appliqué and hold medium weight plants in large quantities.

Aluminum Pipe Hangers

Aluminum Pipe Hanger Aluminum pipe plant hangers are stationary tubes that can hold a large amount of medium to lightweight plants.

Single Rafter Hanger

Single Rafter Hanger Single rafter plant hangers are small hooks placed in rafters to allow the hanging of one light weight plant.

Sliding Hanger

A sliding plant hanger is designed to slide left and right via trolleys. There are wheels built into the unit that make a plant’s relocation effortless.

Sliding Hanger