Homemade greenhouse in a garden

Building a Greenhouse on a Budget

Whether you’re an aspiring farmer or just love to garden, building a greenhouse is a great way to get started. Greenhouses provide crops and plants with the optimal environment for growth, protection from pests, and can extend the growing season.

The average cost of building a greenhouse can be quite costly, running anywhere between $6,000 to $10,000. However, with careful planning and execution, it is possible to build one on a budget.

Man working by raised beds outside a greenhouse in a garden.
Man outside greenhouse

Placing Your Greenhouse

One of the most important factors in building your own greenhouse is choosing the right location. It is essential that the location receives at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. Placing your greenhouse near trees or other tall structures will block some of the sun’s rays and affect the growth of your plants.

Additionally, consider the proximity of a water source as you will need to water your plants regularly. Once you have found the perfect spot for your greenhouse, you can begin construction.

Building the Frame

The frame of your greenhouse will be one of the most important parts in determining how long your structure will last. For this reason, it is important to use high-quality materials that are weather-resistant.

Greenhouse with a wooden frame. Surrounded with vegetables plants in the summer.
Greenhouse with wooden frame

Wood is a popular choice for greenhouse frames as it is strong and relatively inexpensive. However, metal or PVC pipe are also good options. Just be sure to avoid using flimsy materials such as cardboard or plastic sheeting as they will not stand up well to wind or rain and will need to be replaced frequently.

Covering Your Greenhouse

There are several different materials you can use for covering your greenhouse ranging in price and durability. Polyethylene film is one of the most popular choices as it is lightweight and relatively inexpensive. However, it will only last for 1-2 seasons before needing to be replaced.

Greenhouse covered with polyethylene film.
Greenhouse covered with polyethylene film

Glass or polycarbonate panels are more expensive but will last much longer, 10 years or more in some cases. Be sure to take into account both the price of the materials and how often you will need to replace them when making your decision.

Adding Ventilation

Proper ventilation is essential for preventing frost damage and keeping your plants healthy. There are several different ways you can ventilate your greenhouse depending on its size and shape.

Greenhouse in a garden being ventilated just by opened windows.
Greenhouse with open windows

Smaller greenhouses can often get by with windows that open or hinged panels in the roof that can be opened to let in air. Larger greenhouses may require more elaborate setups such as electric fans or thermostatically controlled vents that open and close as needed.

Just be sure that whatever system you choose is adequate for preventing overheating during hot summer days.


With careful planning and execution, it is possible to build a high-quality greenhouse on a budget. By using durable materials and adding ventilation, you can create an optimal environment for plant growth that will last for years to come.