Things to consider
What and how much do you plan to grow in your greenhouse? Our greenhouses are made to be used during the winter months as a cool greenhouse (staying above freezing on the colder nights). Instead of a three season greenhouse -late spring-summer and early fall- our method allows it to be used at full potential year round. Even through our greenhouses are designed for the colder months of the year you will need a heater for the coldest weather. An 8×12 greenhouse can usually get by with a 5,000btu 120v electric heater. Larger greenhouses either just heat one end of the greenhouse, use a 220 electric heater, radiant heat, or a gas heater. After visiting our greenhouses a year or two later, we have often found them to be under-utilized. Also consider that the nature of polycarbonate provides deep penetration of sunlight so you can have multiple layers of plants.
Whether a stand-alone or attached greenhouse it’s important that you have a southerly, southwest, or southeast exposure. Shading of trees can be a problem, however, deciduous trees often can provide needed shade in the summer while allowing sunlight to penetrate in the winter. Sites that are steep or sloping will require extra work and may not be suitable. How easy will access be for building on the site your are considering? Carting stone/cement and material will incur more cost. Consider where your greenhouse will be in relation to your garden and more importantly your kitchen. The path from our kitchen to our greenhouse is the most traveled. For an attached greenhouse remember that you may lose a window or two to the outside, but you gain a window into your greenhouse.
For stand-alone greenhouses you need to figure out electricity and water. Electricity is fairly straightforward by digging a shallow trench and having an electrician run conduit from your electrical box to an outlet in the greenhouse. Water can be more of a challenge. A deeper line is necessary for a water line which runs from a basement to hydrate that is either inside the greenhouse or outside. For smaller greenhouses it is usually practical to water from Nov – April with a watering can. During the warmer months your greenhouse will need lots of water once or twice a day and using a watering can will become burdensome. Missing even one day could lead to the death of your plants. If you have either an outside hydrant or wall cock extending from you house you can just use a garden hose which can attach directly to the greenhouse and its watering system. Attached greenhouses can usually be easily fitted with water and electricity.
Stand Alone versus Attached
Many people simply do not have a good spot on their house for an attached greenhouse. However, because our greenhouses are custom made they offer more possibilities. Attaching our greenhouse to an existing barn or shed is a great idea because every greenhouse needs a potting area and place for storage. Why use growing and display space for that. A third option would be to build a greenhouse/potting area combo. An example of that can be seen on our website under our gallery page.
Cost is determined by the type of structure, size, number of vents, doors and benches, distance from Middlebury, VT, and the greenhouse site your are considering. Our ventilation, circulation and water systems are part of our complete greenhouse along with benches and shelving. You can purchase a basic greenhouse and add any systems you like. If you want to save money yet still have a Vt Victory greenhouse you can buy our plans and build the foundation and wooden frame yourself and then purchase the remaining materials from us and either have use finish the greenhouse or you can finish it yourself.
A greenhouse that is half as big as one does not cost half as much because the same systems that go into a small greenhouse go into a larger one. Both the stand alone and attach cost similar. A stand-alone structure has more glazing area while an attached has the extra costs of insulating and finishing off the adjoining wall. Typically, it takes six to eight days to build these structures that include site work, concrete, framing, glazing and installing the various systems.
A rough cost estimate of two different size greenhouses with different purchasing options. The complete greenhouse includes vents, solar fan, water system, benches and shelves.
with vents only
|Install glazing, trim,
& vents only
|8×12 Stand Alone||$12,000.00||$9,500.00||$5,700.00||$3,100.00|
|12×16 Stand Alone||$17,000.00||$15,000.00||$9,000.00||$6,200.00|