Greenhouse Cost: 8 Genius Ways To Cut Costs By 50% Or More

Building or buying a greenhouse can be expensive! Gardeners are often shocked when they see the greenhouse cost… But don’t worry – this article will show you how to cut those costs in half.

Let’s get into it.

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First – let’s set a benchmark for how much it usually costs to build or buy a greenhouse.

How Much Does A Greenhouse Cost?

how does a greenhouse cost

To give you a rough estimate, here are some general figures:

DIY Greenhouse Kits: Small DIY greenhouse kits can start at around $100-$500 for basic models, while larger and more elaborate kits can range from $1,000 to $5,000 or more.

Custom-Built Greenhouses: Custom-built greenhouses can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the size and complexity.

Commercial Greenhouses: Commercial-grade greenhouses designed for agricultural or commercial use can cost tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars, or even more for large-scale operations.

In general this is what you’ll be expected to pay when you decide to take the plunge and buy a greenhouse.

Next – why is it so expensive?

Factors Affecting Greenhouse Cost

The cost of building or buying a greenhouse can vary widely depending on several factors such as size, materials, location, and complexity of the design. Here’s a breakdown of some common cost considerations:

Size:Larger greenhouses will naturally cost more to build or buy than smaller ones.
Materials:The choice of materials for the frame (e.g., wood, aluminum, galvanized steel) and covering (e.g., glass, polycarbonate panels, polyethylene film) will significantly affect the cost
Foundation:The type of foundation required (e.g., concrete slab, gravel, or none at all) will impact costs
Permits and Regulations:Obtaining permits and complying with local building codes and regulations may also add to the total cost.
Heating and Cooling Systems:Additional costs may arise if you need to install heating, cooling, or ventilation systems to regulate the temperature inside the greenhouse
Utilities:If the greenhouse requires electricity, water supply, or drainage systems, these will add to the overall cost.
Labor:If you’re hiring professionals to build the greenhouse, labor costs will be a significant factor.

8 Genius Ways To Cut Costs By 50% Or More

Here is where you’re going to save big:

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1 – DIY Build Instead Of Buying

When you DIY build you will be able to control the costs more and choose exactly what you want in your greenhouse instead of someone else doing it for you. This might be obvious, but if you’re going to drastically cut costs then you definitely need to build yourself.

Estimated Savings -100%

2 – Use A Simple Design

Many people get really excited about the design of their greenhouse, but if you’re looking to cut costs then I recommend focussing on something easy and efficient on materials.

greenhouse cost

You will want to focus on making a basic square or rectangular shaped greenhouse because they are the most cost efficient. You could even make a hoop house greenhouse which is super easy to put together.

Estimated Savings -40%

3 – Use Good Source Materials

Focus on getting affordable materials before you start building.

Look for used windows, doors, and frames that you can use as part of the structure.

Check Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or local salvage yards. Instead of glass, consider using polycarbonate panels or heavy-duty polyethylene plastic. These are much cheaper and still effective.

For the frame – you might use PVC pipes, wood, or metal poles depending on availability and cost.

Estimated Savings -50%

4 – Focus On Insulation

Heating can be one of the more expensive aspects of running a greenhouse, especially in colder climates. Insulating your greenhouse effectively can help maintain a stable temperature, reducing the need for additional heating.

Here’s what you need to know:
16 Genius Ways To Insulate Your Greenhouse For Year-Round Growth

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Estimated Savings -70%

5 – Install Utilities Properly

Another major drain of funding is things like watering and electricity costs. So let’s focus on optimizing that.

Position the greenhouse to maximize sun exposure – you’ll want to orient the longest side of your greenhouse SOUTH so that you can get as much direct sunlight as possible during the day (southern hemisphere readers should be facing North)

Use manual venting (like opening a window or door) instead of installing expensive automatic systems. This can be as simple as rolling up the sides of your greenhouse if you you’re using polyethylene (plastic) covering.

Set up a rainwater collection system to save on water costs so that any rain nourishes your plants instead of being wasted.

Estimated Savings -50%

6 – Go In With A Clear Construction Plan

Again this might seem obvious, but if you have a clear plan then you won’t have wastages on materials and other aspects of the construction. A great place to look for a plan is usually Etsy because you can get designers to map something out for you exactly how you want it.

You can also get some nice free DIY plans at the Spruce.

Estimated Savings -20%

7 – Make Your Greenhouse Small

Most of the time a small structure is exempt from needing permits. This is a really easy way to cut costs because these permits can get expensive and waste time.

To get the most accurate information:

Check Local Regulations: Contact your local building department or check their website. They can provide specific guidelines and any other requirements you might need to meet.

Homeowner Association (HOA) Rules: If you live in a community with an HOA, check their rules as well, as they can sometimes be stricter than city regulations.

Estimated Savings -100%

8 – Skip The Foundation

The foundation of the greenhouse is an easy way to cut costs. Most of the time you’ll want to use concrete but this is a major money wastage area because the greenhouse can function without it. That’s why I recommend just using earth and no foundation.

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greenhouse cost

Most of the time these swell the costs:

Basic Concrete Prices: Typically, the cost for standard concrete ranges from about $100 to $150 per cubic yard (0.76 cubic meters), depending on the mix and regional variations in pricing.

Delivery Costs: There might be additional fees for the delivery of concrete, especially if you’re located far from a concrete plant. The minimum order requirement and the distance from the supplier will affect this cost.

Labor and Installation: Pouring concrete is labor-intensive, especially if you need a large area covered or if it involves complex shapes and reinforcements. Labor costs can significantly increase the overall expenses.

Preparation Work: The cost of preparing the site (like excavation, grading, and compacting), constructing forms, and installing reinforcements like wire mesh or rebar, also contributes to the total cost.

Estimated Savings -90%

Conclusion:

Alright, that wraps up our guide on slashing greenhouse costs dramatically. By embracing these strategies, you can build a functional and efficient greenhouse without breaking the bank. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, these tips are designed to help you save money while still enjoying the benefits of a personalized, sustainable greenhouse. Remember, the key is planning, using cost-effective materials, and doing what you can yourself. Get creative, think sustainably, and you’ll not only cut costs but also end up with a greenhouse that’s uniquely yours. Happy gardening!

Here are our favorite accessories to boost any greenhouse:
14 Best Greenhouse Accessories That You Need In 2024

FAQ

How expensive is it to build a greenhouse?

Building a greenhouse can vary a lot in cost. If you go for a small DIY kit, you might spend around $100 to $500. For something larger and custom-built, costs could range from a few thousand dollars to over $10,000, depending on what materials and features you choose.

Are greenhouses worth the cost?

Yes, for many people, they are! If you love gardening and want to extend the growing season or grow plants that wouldn’t normally survive in your climate, a greenhouse can be a fantastic investment. It lets you enjoy gardening year-round, which many find worth the upfront cost.

Is a greenhouse a good investment?

Definitely, if you’re serious about gardening. A greenhouse allows you to grow more varieties of plants and for a longer season. Plus, if you grow your own food, it can save you money on groceries in the long run. It also adds value to your property, which is a nice bonus.

Are cheap greenhouses worth it?

They can be, especially if you’re just starting out or have a limited budget. Cheap greenhouses might not last as long as more expensive ones and could need more maintenance. But, they still offer a good way to try out greenhouse gardening without a huge commitment. Just be ready to possibly upgrade parts over time.

What is the most expensive part of a greenhouse?

The most expensive part is usually the framing and covering materials. Durable materials like aluminum and polycarbonate are costlier than simpler materials like plastic or PVC. Also, if you add heating and cooling systems, those can quickly become major expenses, too.

greenhouse cost
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Jason Watson

My initial goal was to protect my loved ones from harmful pesticides & help them enjoy nature more. Now, I want to tell as many people as I can about what I've learned... I hope that I can inspire you to help cool our planet with your own little slice of paradise 🌱. Let's do this together!


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