Quonset Greenhouse Guide: How To Build One In 1 Weekend


Building a Quonset greenhouse is a really nice DIY project that pretty much anyone can take on because it’s easy! Not only can you get it done in 10 steps or less, but you’ll most likely have many of the tools already at home.

That’s why – in this article we’ll dive into the steps that you need to take to go from zero to hero with your own Quonset greenhouse in the shortest time possible.

Let’s get into it. ☘️

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Why A Quonset Greenhouse Hut Is Awesome

Here are all the perks that you’ll get to enjoy when you have your own Quonset greenhouse.

Affordable:Quonset greenhouses are usually cheaper to build compared to other types of greenhouses. The materials are easy to find and budget-friendly.
Easy to Build:The simple, curved design makes it a great DIY project. You don’t need to be a construction expert to put one together.
Strong and Durable:The rounded shape helps the greenhouse withstand heavy snow and wind. It distributes the weight evenly, reducing the risk of collapse.
Efficient Use of Space:The curved structure provides ample growing space inside. You can maximize the vertical space for tall plants and hanging baskets.
Good Light Distribution:The shape of a Quonset greenhouse allows sunlight to spread evenly throughout the structure. This ensures your plants get plenty of light from all angles (1).
Low Maintenance:Once built, a Quonset greenhouse requires minimal upkeep. Just make sure to keep it clean and check for any wear and tear on the plastic sheeting.

So now that you know why they are awesome, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to actually build one.

10 Steps To Build The Perfect Quonset Greenhouse

Materials Needed

Here is an overview of what you’ll need to get regarding materials:

  • PVC pipes (1 inch diameter)
  • Rebar stakes
  • Plastic sheeting (greenhouse film)
  • Zip ties
  • Wooden plants (for base)
  • Screws and nails
  • Door frame and door
  • Tape measure
  • Hammer
  • Saw

When it comes to the materials, there are two major recommendations that I can make.

Recommendation #1: Buy A Pre-Made Greenhouse Frame

The reason why I say this is because the number one sticking point with this project is getting the PVC pipes to bend properly and then fasten them. This can take a lot of effort and this is an easy solution for it… Just get a pre-made greenhouse frame and save yourself a ton of time and effort.

Here’s what I’m talking about:

quonset greenhouse kit

Where To Buy: Amazon

Specs & Features:
– Dimensions of 16′ x 7′ x 7′

– Made of a rust-resistant steel frame

– Easy to assemble with screws and a screwdriver.

So that’s my first recommendation.

The second one?

Recommendation #2: Don’t Go Cheap On The Plastic Sheeting

The reason that I say this is because it will be the #1 thing that protects your Quonset greenhouse from the elements. In the past I bought cheap plastic sheeting and it quickly broke down, but as soon as I got something good then not only did my plants love it, but the greenhouse also lasted longer.

Here’s what I recommend that you use:

quonset greenhouse materials

Where To Buy: Amazon

Specs & Features:
– Dimensions of 10′ x 100′ 10 Mill

– Heavy-duty sheeting that can withstand rain, cold and heat.

– Will give you coverage of 1000 sq. ft. so you have leeway to make mistakes and not run out.

Now that we have that done, let’s get into step 1.

Step 1: Select A Location For Your Quonset Greenhouse

When it comes to location, your major goal is to choose a sunny spot with good drainage.

Here are some factors to go through when choosing a location:

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Sunlight:Pick a spot that gets plenty of sunlight throughout the day. Plants need lots of light to grow well. Aim for at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight.
Flat Ground:Look for a flat, level area. This makes building easier and ensures your greenhouse will be stable. If the ground isn’t level, you might need to do some digging to flatten it out.
Good Drainage:Make sure the spot you choose doesn’t collect water when it rains. You don’t want your greenhouse to be in a puddle. Good drainage helps keep the soil inside from getting waterlogged.
Wind Protection:Try to find a spot that’s protected from strong winds. Too much wind can damage the greenhouse or make it harder to keep warm. If possible, use natural windbreaks like trees or buildings.
Convenient Access:Think about how close the greenhouse is to your house or a water source. You’ll be visiting it often, so you don’t want it too far away. Easy access to water for your plants is also a big plus.
Away from Trees:Avoid placing your greenhouse too close to large trees. Falling branches or leaves can damage the structure, and trees can cast too much shade.

Once you’ve got your location dialed in, then go to step 2.

Step 2: Prepare The Base

First, measure out the area where you want your greenhouse to go. Use a tape measure to get the exact dimensions you need. It’s important to be precise so everything fits together nicely. Once you have your measurements, mark the corners with stakes or something similar. This will give you a clear outline of where the greenhouse will sit.

Next, you’ll need to lay out the wooden planks to create the base. These planks will form the foundation, so they need to be sturdy and straight. Place the planks along the lines you marked out earlier. If you need to cut them to the right size, use a saw to make sure they fit perfectly.

quonset greenhouse advantages and disadvantages

After laying out the planks, it’s time to secure them together. Use screws and a screwdriver or drill to fasten the corners. This will ensure the base is solid and won’t move around. Make sure all the planks are tightly secured and the base is square. You can check this by measuring diagonally from corner to corner; if both measurements are the same, your base is square.

Once your base is assembled, it’s a good idea to double-check that it’s level. Place a level on top of the planks and make adjustments if necessary. If the ground is uneven, you might need to add some soil or dig down a bit to get everything level.

Here is a good video showing you the process:

Once you have your base ready, the next step is to insert the rebar stakes. These stakes will provide support for the PVC pipes that form the frame of your greenhouse.

Step 3: Insert Rebar Stakes

Start by measuring and marking where each rebar stake will go. You want to place a stake every 2 feet along the length of the base on both sides. Use a tape measure to ensure accuracy, and mark each spot with a small flag or a piece of chalk.

Now, it’s time to drive the rebar stakes into the ground. Rebar stakes are usually about 2 feet long and made of steel, which makes them strong and sturdy. To insert them, you’ll need a heavy-duty hammer or mallet.

Position the first rebar stake at one of your marked spots. Hold the stake upright and use the hammer to tap it into the ground. Start gently to ensure it goes in straight. As the stake begins to sink into the ground, you can use more force. Drive the stake in until about half of it is buried. You want enough of the stake above ground to slide the PVC pipe over later.

Repeat this process for each marked spot along both sides of the base. Make sure the stakes are all driven to the same depth so that the PVC pipes will sit evenly. This might take a bit of effort, especially if the ground is hard, but it’s crucial for the stability of your greenhouse.

If you’re wondering what rebar stakes to get, I can recommend these Rebar Stakes.

Where To Buy: Amazon

Specs & Features:
– Product Dimensions: 24.02″L x 3.15″W

– Made of black alloy steel

– Each stake is about 24″ in length, 1/2″ diameter, hook is 1-1/2 inch.

Step 4: Create The Quonset Greenhouse Frame

quonset greenhouse drawing

First Pipe:

  • Take your first PVC pipe and slide one end over a rebar stake at the corner of your base.
  • Bend the pipe over to the opposite side and slide it over the corresponding rebar stake. This forms an arch.
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Repeat for More Arches:

  • Move 2 feet down and do the same thing with another PVC pipe. Slide one end over the rebar stake, bend it, and slide the other end over the rebar on the opposite side.
  • Keep doing this every 2 feet along the length of the base, creating more arches.

Check Alignment:

  • Make sure all the arches are evenly spaced and aligned. They should look uniform and stable.

Secure the Arches:

  • Use zip ties or tape at the top of the arches to connect them together for extra stability.

    Now you have a series of arches forming the frame of your Quonset greenhouse. This frame will support the covering and keep your greenhouse sturdy.

    You can also look at getting a pre-made greenhouse frame which will save you a lot of hassle.

    Step 5: Secure The PVC Pipes

    First, get your zip ties ready. These will help secure the PVC pipes together and add stability to your frame. Start at one end of your greenhouse, focusing on where the first two arches cross at the top. Wrap a zip tie around the point where the two PVC pipes intersect and pull it tight. Make sure it’s snug but not too tight to avoid damaging the PVC.

    Move along the length of the greenhouse, repeating this process wherever the pipes cross at the top. Secure each intersection with a zip tie, ensuring they’re all firmly fastened. For added stability, you can even double up on the zip ties at each crossing point.

    This step helps to keep the PVC pipes in place and strengthens the overall structure of your greenhouse.

    Step 6: Cover Your Quonset Greenhouse With Plastic Sheeting

    Start by unrolling the plastic sheeting. It’s best to do this on a calm day to avoid the wind making it difficult. Position yourself at one end of the greenhouse and slowly begin to drape the plastic over the PVC frame. Make sure you have enough material to cover the entire structure and reach the ground on both sides.

    As you unroll the plastic, work your way down the length of the greenhouse, pulling the sheeting over the arches. It’s important to keep the plastic taut but not overly stretched. If the plastic is too loose, it might flap around in the wind; if it’s too tight, it could tear.

    Once the plastic is draped over the frame, make sure it reaches the ground on both sides. You want the plastic to extend slightly past the base of the greenhouse to ensure full coverage. This will help keep the interior protected from the elements.

    After positioning the plastic sheeting, take a moment to smooth out any wrinkles or folds. This will help with the overall appearance and function of the greenhouse. If the plastic isn’t lying flat, adjust it as needed to ensure an even fit.

    Now, you’re ready to secure the plastic sheeting in place. This will ensure it stays put and provides a stable covering for your greenhouse.

    Step 7: Secure The Plastic Sheeting

    To secure the plastic sheeting, start by attaching it to the wooden base. Use screws and washers for this task. The washers are crucial because they distribute the pressure and prevent the plastic from tearing. Begin at one corner of the base, placing the plastic sheeting against the wood. Insert a screw with a washer through the plastic and into the wood, securing it tightly. Continue along the base, placing screws and washers every few feet to ensure the plastic is firmly attached and won’t shift or come loose.

    Next, focus on securing the plastic sheeting to the PVC pipes. This helps keep the plastic tight and free of wrinkles, which is important for the greenhouse’s effectiveness and durability. Use zip ties for this step. Starting at one end, wrap a zip tie around the PVC pipe and the plastic sheeting, then pull it tight. Move along each arch, placing zip ties at regular intervals to hold the plastic firmly against the frame.

    As you work, periodically check to make sure the plastic is smooth and wrinkle-free. If you notice any loose areas, adjust the plastic and add additional zip ties as needed. Ensuring the plastic is taut not only makes the greenhouse look neat but also helps it withstand wind and weather.

    Step 8: Build The Quonset Greenhouse Doorframe

    To build the door frame for your Quonset greenhouse, start by constructing a simple rectangular frame using sturdy wooden planks. Measure the desired height and width for your door, typically around 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide, but adjust according to your needs. Cut the wooden planks to size using a saw. You’ll need two vertical planks for the sides and two horizontal planks for the top and bottom.

    quonset greenhouse door

    Once you have your planks cut to size, lay them out on a flat surface to form a rectangle. Ensure the corners are square, then use screws and a screwdriver or drill to secure the corners together. This will form the basic frame for your door. For added strength, you can also add diagonal braces from corner to corner within the frame.

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    Next, it’s time to attach the door frame to one end of the greenhouse. Position the frame against the greenhouse at the desired entry point. Make sure it’s level and centered. Use screws to attach the frame to the wooden base and the PVC pipes at that end. If the greenhouse has a wooden base, secure the bottom of the door frame directly to the base. For additional stability, you can also attach the sides of the frame to the PVC arches using zip ties or more screws, depending on the materials and construction of your greenhouse.

    With the door frame in place, you’re ready to hang the door. Take your door and position it within the frame. Attach hinges to one side of the door, spacing them evenly from the top and bottom. Typically, two to three hinges are sufficient for a standard-sized door. Once the hinges are attached to the door, align them with the door frame and secure them with screws. Ensure the door swings open and closed smoothly.

    Finally, check that everything is secure and the door operates correctly. If needed, make adjustments to the hinges or frame to ensure a proper fit. Adding a latch or lock can also help keep the door closed and secure.

    Step 9: Seal The Edges

    To seal the edges of your Quonset greenhouse, you need to use extra pieces of plastic sheeting to cover the ends, ensuring the interior is fully enclosed and protected from the elements.

    Start by cutting a piece of plastic sheeting large enough to cover one end of the greenhouse, extending a few inches beyond the edges for a secure fit. It’s helpful to have an extra pair of hands for this step. Drape the plastic over the end frame, ensuring it reaches the ground and covers all sides adequately.

    Next, focus on securing the plastic to the frame. Begin at the top center of the arch and work your way down one side, then the other. Use screws and washers to attach the plastic sheeting to the wooden base and the PVC pipes. The washers will help distribute the pressure and prevent the plastic from tearing. Place screws and washers every few inches to ensure the plastic is firmly attached and won’t come loose.

    As you move along, keep the plastic taut to avoid wrinkles and ensure a snug fit. This not only makes the greenhouse look neat but also helps it withstand wind and weather better.

    quonset greenhouse in a field

    When you reach the door area, carefully cut the plastic around the door frame, leaving enough excess to fold and secure it around the edges of the frame. Attach the plastic to the door frame with screws and washers, just like you did with the rest of the frame. Make sure to pull the plastic tight and smooth out any wrinkles as you go.

    Repeat the process for the other end of the greenhouse, using another piece of plastic sheeting. Again, ensure the plastic covers the entire end and extends beyond the edges for a secure fit. Attach it to the frame and base with screws and washers, keeping the plastic tight and smooth.

    Once both ends are sealed, inspect the entire greenhouse to ensure all edges are securely fastened and there are no gaps. If you find any loose areas or gaps, add more screws and washers as needed.

    Step 10: Final Touches

    Now you should be finally finished! Congratulations 🙂

    All that’s left to do is check all the connections and make sure that everything is secure. Along with that, you can also trim any excess plastic sheeting to make sure that you have a neat finish.

    Conclusion:

    Conclusion

    Congratulations on building your very own Quonset greenhouse! With just a bit of effort and some basic materials, you’ve created a space where you can grow plants year-round, protect them from harsh weather, and enjoy gardening in a controlled environment.

    Now that your greenhouse is set up, make sure to give it a final once-over. Check all the connections, ensure the plastic sheeting is secure, and trim any excess plastic for a neat finish. This will keep your greenhouse looking great and functioning well.

    Remember, the key to maintaining your greenhouse is to keep it clean and check for any wear and tear on the plastic sheeting. With proper care, your Quonset greenhouse will provide you with a productive growing space for many seasons to come.

    Enjoy your new greenhouse, and happy gardening!

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

    FAQs

    What is a Quonset greenhouse?

    A Quonset greenhouse is a type of greenhouse with a rounded, tunnel-like shape. It’s made from arched PVC pipes or metal frames covered with plastic sheeting. This design is simple, affordable, and provides great light distribution for growing plants.

    What are the disadvantages of a Quonset greenhouse?

    While Quonset greenhouses are great, they do have a few drawbacks:

    • Limited Height: The curved shape might not be ideal for very tall plants.
    • Wind Vulnerability: If not anchored well, they can be affected by strong winds.
    • Temperature Fluctuations: Without proper ventilation, they can get too hot during sunny days.

    How much does it cost to build a Quonset?

    The cost can vary depending on the size and materials used. For a DIY project, you might spend anywhere from $200 to $1,000. Buying a pre-made frame can add to the cost, but it saves time and effort.

    Why is it called a Quonset hut?

    The name “Quonset” comes from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island, where these structures were first manufactured during World War II. The original design was used for military purposes and has since been adapted for various uses, including greenhouses.

    How long does it take to put up a Quonset hut?

    Building a Quonset greenhouse typically takes a weekend or about 1 to 2 days, depending on your experience and if you have all the materials ready. If you buy a pre-made frame, it can be even quicker, as you just need to assemble and secure it.

    quonset greenhouse

    References:
    1 – Terry Walton, Down to earth gardening advice on growing your own fruit and vegetables, taken from: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p0hvlww7

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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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