Hoop Greenhouse Guide: 10 Steps To DIY Build One On A Budget

Are you tired of seeing your garden thrive in Spring and Summer, just to hibernate during the colder months? An easy (and affordable) solution for this is to build a basic hoop greenhouse to keep your plants warm.

This guide will show you how to build your own in 2024, making it easy and affordable… In just 10 simple steps.

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What Exactly Is A Hoop Greenhouse?

A hoop greenhouse, also known as a hoop house, is a simple and affordable type of greenhouse that uses a series of arches, or “hoops,” typically made from PVC pipes, metal, or other flexible materials. These hoops are covered with a transparent plastic sheet to create a protected environment for plants.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Using One?

Let’s start with the benefits.

Pros

Cost-Effective:Building a hoop greenhouse is relatively inexpensive compared to traditional greenhouses, especially if you use materials like PVC pipes and plastic sheeting.
Easy to Construct:Hoop greenhouses are simple to assemble, requiring only basic tools and materials. This makes them an ideal DIY project.
Flexibility and Portability:They can be moved around the garden or yard if needed, providing flexibility in placement.
Extend Growing Season:By providing a protected environment, hoop greenhouses extend the growing season, allowing you to start planting earlier in the spring and continue later into the fall.
Versatile Use:Suitable for a wide range of plants including vegetables, herbs, and flowers. They can also be used for seed starting and hardening off plants.
Protection:They shield plants from harsh weather conditions like frost, wind, and heavy rain, as well as from pests and animals.

And let’s not forget about the downsides of owning one.

Cons

Durability:The materials used (e.g., plastic sheeting) can degrade over time due to exposure to sunlight and weather, requiring periodic replacement.
Less Insulation:Compared to traditional greenhouses, hoop houses offer less insulation, which can be a limitation in extremely cold climates.
Structural Stability:They may not withstand heavy snow loads or strong winds as well as more robust greenhouse structures.
Limited Height:The curved design may limit the height, making it difficult to grow taller plants or trees.
Ventilation Control:Managing temperature and humidity can be more challenging (1). It might require manual ventilation adjustments, like opening and closing the ends or sides.
Aesthetic Appeal:While functional, hoop greenhouses may not be as visually appealing as more traditional or custom-built greenhouses.

Okay so now that we know exactly what a hoop greenhouse is, and why it’s a good addition to your garden… Let’s get into how to build a hoop house on a budget.

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How Build A Hoop Greenhouse Step-By-Step

We will break the construction process up into 10 simple steps to make sure that it is as easy as possible.

Here is a great video to watch that will give you an overview of the process:



Here is everything you are going to need for the construction.

  • PVC pipes (10 feet long, about 1 inch in diameter)
  • PVC pipe connectors (T-joints and elbow joints)
  • Clear plastic sheeting (heavy-duty)
  • Garden stakes or rebar
  • Zip ties or clips
  • Wooden planks (for the base, optional)
  • Measuring tape
  • Hammer
  • Utility knife
  • Duct tape

Some of them you most likely already have at home (like duct tape and a hammer), but some of them have a few options that we should discuss.

You can get hoop greenhouse kits and heavy duty greenhouse plastic that will make your life significantly easier, here is what I recommend:

Recommendation #1: Gardzen Garden Hoops (72 pieces)

Where To Buy: Amazon

Specs & Features:
– Dimensions of 17 ft x 6pcs

– Comes with connectors, cross connectors, plugs and work gloves.

– Easy to bend and assemble

– Suitable for indoor and outdoor use.

The big benefit of using pre-designed garden hoops instead of PVC pipes is that these are much easier to bend and form into the correct hoop house shape. Plus – you can get these in different sizes and at a great price so I highly recommend that you use them for your hoop greenhouse build.

Check Best Price ➡️ Amazon

Next up, getting a heavy duty plastic covering will make your life much easier. Here is what I recommend.

Recommendation #2: Tapix Plastic Sheeting

Where To Buy: Amazon

Specs & Features:
– Dimensions of 10′ x 25′ and 6 mil thick

– Clear plastic sheeting that will create a moisture barrier for your plants.

This is a really good brand of multipurpose plastic sheeting that should work really well for you. I don’t know how big you want to make your hoop house, so make sure that you get enough plastic sheeting to cover the hoops properly. They have multiple different sizes available.

Check Best Price ➡️ Amazon


Step 2: Choose a Location

Choosing the right location for your hoop greenhouse is crucial for its effectiveness. Here’s a detailed guide to help you select the best spot:

Sunlight Exposure

  • Full Sun: Select a location that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day. Plants need ample light to thrive, especially during the growing season.
  • Avoid Shade: Ensure the spot is not shaded by trees, buildings, or other structures, as this will reduce the amount of light your plants receive.

Ground Conditions

  • Level Ground: The area should be relatively flat to make building easier and to ensure stability. If the ground is uneven, consider leveling it before construction.
  • Well-Drained Soil: Choose a site where water doesn’t pool after rain. Good drainage prevents waterlogging, which can harm plant roots.

Accessibility

  • Proximity to Water Source: Ensure the greenhouse is close to a water source for easy irrigation. Running long hoses can be inconvenient.
  • Ease of Access: Place the greenhouse in a spot that’s easy to reach for daily maintenance. Consider paths and walkways, especially if you’ll be carrying tools and supplies.

Protection from Elements

  • Wind Protection: While the greenhouse needs sunlight, it should also be protected from strong winds. Consider natural windbreaks like hedges or fences, or place it where buildings can provide some wind protection without causing shade.
  • Avoid Low-Lying Areas: These spots can be prone to frost pockets and may have poorer air circulation.
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Orientation

  • East-West Orientation: If possible, align the greenhouse lengthwise from east to west. This orientation maximizes sunlight exposure throughout the day.
  • North-South Orientation: If your primary growing season is during the cooler months, a north-south orientation might be beneficial for reducing heat buildup.


If you want a sturdy base, use wooden planks:

  1. Lay out the planks in a rectangle the size you want your greenhouse to be.
  2. Nail or screw the planks together to form the base frame.

Wood is a decent option for the base, but know that it will decay after a period of time.

Here are some other options that you can explore for the foundation:
Greenhouse Flooring Ideas: The Best Materials For Plant Growth


  1. Place garden stakes or rebar into the ground on both sides of where the hoops will be. Space them about 2-3 feet apart.
  2. Make sure they’re deep enough to be stable but still have a bit sticking out to insert the PVC pipes over them.

Recommendation: MySit 12 Inch Garden Stakes

Where To Buy: Amazon

Specs & Features:
– 12 inches and come with 25 pieces

– Weight of 1.9 lbs

– Made of alloy steel

These are a good set of garden stakes that you can use to pin down the plastic sheeting. They can also be used all around the garden so they are multi-purpose.

Check Best Price ➡️ Amazon


  1. Take your PVC pipes and bend them into a U-shape to create the hoops.
  2. Slip each end of the PVC pipes over the stakes or rebar to form arches.

You want the shape to look something like this:

hoop greenhouse frame without sheeting


  1. Use PVC pipe connectors (T-joints) to connect the tops of the hoops together.
  2. Place a long PVC pipe along the top, connecting all the hoops to create a ridge pole.
  3. Secure the ridge pole with more T-joints or zip ties for extra stability.


  1. Drape the clear plastic sheeting over the hoops. Make sure it’s wide enough to cover both sides.
  2. Pull the plastic taut and secure it to the ground or the base frame using garden stakes, rebar, or wooden planks.
  3. Use zip ties, clips, or duct tape to secure the plastic to the PVC pipes, making sure it’s snug and won’t blow away in the wind.
hoop greenhouse covered with plastic sheeting


  1. Gather the excess plastic at the ends of the greenhouse.
  2. Twist it together and tie it off, or fold it neatly and secure with duct tape or zip ties.
  3. If you want a door, cut a flap in the plastic at one end. You can secure it with clips when not in use.


Make sure everything is secure and stable. Reinforce any areas that seem loose with extra ties or tape.



Your budget-friendly hoop greenhouse is ready! Move your plants inside and enjoy your new growing space.

Plus – just acknowledge the fact that you most likely saved a lot of money 🙂 Here’s what I mean:

Cost Comparison: Pre-made Kit vs. DIY

Cost FactorPre-made KitDIY Build
Materials$1,000 – $3,000$500 – $1,500
ToolsIncluded$100 – $300
Labor$0 (DIY)$0 (DIY)
CustomizationLimitedHigh
Time1-3 Days3-7 Days
Total Cost$1,000 – $3,000$600 – $1,800

– Materials: Pre-made kits range from $1,000 to $3,000, while DIY builds cost between $500 and $1,500.

– Tools: Kits usually include necessary tools. DIY builds may require an additional $100 to $300.

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– Labor: Both options involve DIY labor, so no extra costs here.

– Customization: Kits offer limited customization. DIY builds have high customization potential.

– Time: Kits take 1 to 3 days to assemble. DIY builds might take 3 to 7 days, depending on complexity.

This table highlights key cost differences between buying a pre-made kit and building your own hoop house greenhouse.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Constructing A Hoop Greenhouse

Building a hoop greenhouse is a fun and rewarding project, but there are a few common mistakes that can trip you up. Here’s how to avoid them:

1. Choosing the Wrong Location

  • Not Enough Sun: Make sure your greenhouse gets at least 6-8 hours of sunlight each day. Avoid spots shaded by trees or buildings.
  • Poor Drainage: Don’t set up in areas where water pools after rain. Choose well-drained soil to prevent waterlogging.

2. Using the Wrong Materials

  • Thin Plastic: Use heavy-duty, UV-resistant plastic sheeting. Thin plastic can tear easily and won’t last long.
  • Weak Stakes: Use sturdy garden stakes or rebar to secure the structure. Flimsy materials can cause instability.

3. Improper Measurement and Cutting

  • Incorrect Measurements: Double-check your measurements before cutting. This ensures your plastic sheeting covers the entire structure properly.
  • Uneven Cuts: Cut the plastic sheeting on a clean, flat surface to avoid uneven edges that can lead to gaps.

4. Not Securing the Plastic Properly

  • Loose Plastic: Pull the plastic taut over the hoops. Loose plastic can flap in the wind and get damaged.
  • Inadequate Fastening: Secure the plastic with zip ties, clips, or duct tape. Don’t rely on just a few ties; use enough to keep it snug and secure.

5. Ignoring Ventilation

  • Overheating: Without proper ventilation, your greenhouse can get too hot. Remember to create flaps or openings for airflow.
  • Manual Adjustments: Be prepared to manually open and close vents or flaps as needed to regulate temperature and humidity.
Here is a great tactic for ventilation:
Why You Should Immediately Start Using Roll Up Sides For Your Greenhouse…

6. Skipping Regular Maintenance

  • Wear and Tear: Check your greenhouse regularly for signs of wear, like tears in the plastic or loose ties. Fix issues promptly to keep it in good shape.
  • Seasonal Adjustments: Adjust the greenhouse setup for different seasons, such as adding insulation in winter or more ventilation in summer.

7. Overlooking Structural Stability

  • Weak Frame: Make sure the hoops and connectors are securely fitted. A weak frame can collapse under heavy snow or strong winds.
  • Reinforcement: Use additional supports if needed, especially if you live in an area with extreme weather conditions.

8. Poor Planning

  • Rushed Construction: Take your time to plan and build. Rushing can lead to mistakes that are costly and time-consuming to fix.
  • Lack of Tools: Make sure you have all the necessary tools before you start. Running back and forth to get tools can be frustrating and slow you down.

By keeping these common mistakes in mind, you’ll be well on your way to building a sturdy and effective hoop greenhouse.

10 Best Plants and Vegetables to Grow in a Hoop Greenhouse

vegetables with a clear background

Here are some of my favorite plants and vegetables to grow in a hoop house.

Plant/VegetableWhy
TomatoesThey love the warm conditions and can produce fruit year-round with proper care.
CucumbersThey thrive in the humidity and warmth, yielding bountiful harvests.
PeppersThese heat-loving plants do exceptionally well in the consistent temperature of a greenhouse.
LettuceFast-growing and perfect for multiple harvests throughout the year.
StrawberriesBenefit from the protected environment and can produce delicious fruit year-round.
SpinachGrows well in cooler temperatures and can be harvested repeatedly.
BasilThrives in the warmth and can be harvested frequently.
CarrotsGrow well in the loose, well-drained soil inside a greenhouse.
ParsleyEasy to grow and does well in moderate temperatures, providing fresh herbs year-round.
MarigoldsBrighten up the greenhouse and help repel pests, benefiting the overall health of your garden.

Conclusion

Building a hoop greenhouse is a fantastic way to keep your garden thriving all year round. It’s a fun and affordable project that can make a big difference in how you grow your plants. By following these 10 simple steps, you can create a warm, protected environment for your plants, extending your growing season and improving your garden’s productivity.

Remember, choosing the right location and materials, securing the structure properly, and maintaining it regularly are key to your greenhouse’s success. And with a variety of plants and vegetables to choose from, you’ll have fresh produce and beautiful flowers throughout the year.

So, roll up your sleeves and get started on your hoop greenhouse project. Your garden will thank you, and you’ll enjoy the fruits (and veggies!) of your labor in no time. Happy gardening!

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

Hoop Greenhouse FAQS

Is a hoop house as good as a greenhouse?

A hoop house is a type of greenhouse, but it’s generally simpler and more affordable. While it doesn’t provide as much insulation as a traditional greenhouse, it still offers excellent protection for plants and extends the growing season. It’s perfect for budget-conscious gardeners and those who enjoy DIY projects.

How much does it cost to build a hoop house?

Building a hoop house can cost between $500 and $1,500, depending on the size and materials you choose. This is significantly cheaper than buying a pre-made greenhouse, which can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000.

What does hoops mean in greenhouse?

In the context of a greenhouse, “hoops” refer to the curved pipes or rods that form the arched frame of the structure. These hoops create the tunnel-like shape of the greenhouse and support the plastic sheeting or other covering material.

What can I use to make greenhouse hoops?

You can make greenhouse hoops using PVC pipes, metal conduit, or even flexible fiberglass rods. PVC pipes are popular because they are affordable, easy to work with, and readily available at most hardware stores.

Can you heat a hoop house?

Yes, you can heat a hoop house. There are several methods to keep it warm, including using space heaters, heat mats, or even passive solar heating by adding thermal mass like barrels of water that absorb and release heat. Just be mindful of safety and energy costs.

Here are some recommendations:
Discover the Ultimate Greenhouse Heaters for Year-Round Plant Protection

Which is better: hoop house or greenhouse?

It depends on your needs and budget. A traditional greenhouse offers better insulation and can be more durable, making it ideal for year-round growing in colder climates. However, a hoop house is much cheaper and easier to build, making it a great option for extending the growing season and protecting plants from harsh weather. For many home gardeners, a hoop house provides a perfect balance of cost and functionality.

hoop greenhouse

References:
1 – BONNIE L. GRANT, Greenhouse Humidity Info – Is Greenhouse Humidity Important. Taken from: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/greenhouses/is-greenhouse-humidity-important.htm

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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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