Hobby greenhouses: construction & foundations
Greenhouses can be prefabricated or erected from raw materials, and the variety of shapes, sizes, and construction details offer endless possibilities to the greenhouse hobbyist. But before you start construction, check the local building codes in your city and county to learn about any possible constraints. Also, if you live in a covenanted community, check with the local homeowners association before you begin construction.
Siting the greenhouse is important for optimal plant growth. But some lots don't allow the flexibility to angle the greenhouse for maximum light-gain in the winter. A southeast orientation or an angle that provides a minimum of three hours of winter sunlight daily is good. Your greenhouse needs protection from the northerly and westerly winds that frequent the Front Range, which may require a windbreak made of plant materials. In addition, greenhouses require utilities, such as electricity and running water. And you should be able to access your greenhouse easily from your home.
Greenhouses can be erected directly on the ground with footers placed below the frost line, which is generally three feet along Colorado's Front Range. Other types of greenhouses may have a portable base plate ofconcrete, wood or metal. A solid permanent foundation may resist settling better than a portable one.
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Updated Friday, April 19, 2013