Finding the best greenhouse for your garden

Let our handy buying guide help you decipher what you need.

Greenhouse

by Eleanor Weaver |

With the sun beginning to shine, our green fingers are itching to get out in the garden to plant new seasonal plants and give our gardens some much needed TLC.

If you're a keen gardener, a greenhouse is an absolute must. You can grow fresh organic vegetables, take cuttings, protect your plants from harsh British weathers or pests and give them and seedlings the optimal environment to grow - perfect for all-season gardening.

Buying a greenhouse can be a huge investment, so we've shared our buying guide below to make sure you're getting the best greenhouse for your garden, with more affordable options available too for smaller garden spaces.

The Yours greenhouse buying guide

Size

The greenhouse size you choose will depend on the space you have available in your garden, but its worth noting that for a good range of general greenhouse gardening, you should choose one that is at least 6ft wide. Sizing goes up in 2ft increments so make sure to measure your available space first before buying to find the best fit for you.

In terms of height, the average greenhouse is 7ft tall and you should choose one that is at least 5ft tall - taller greenhouses will transmit light more efficiently to help your plants grow.

What if I have a small garden space?

If you're limited on space and would be unable to build a standard size greenhouse, buy a cold frame or mini-greenhouse instead.

A cold frame is a box with a sloping glazed lid and while it can't replace a greenhouse, it can be used to protect plants or provide seeds with cool conditions to grow.

Mini-greenhouses are the most useful choice for small gardens as compact but tall, shelved boxes or frames that come with open door fronts for access, much like a glazed cupboard. Measuring 2-3ft, they'll work well as a substitute to a standard greenhouse but will require more care as the tight air space can result in rapidly growing temperatures.

Mini-greenhouses are great for raising seedlings and growing taller plants than those that can fit in the cold frame, helping you grow thriving plants all year round.

Mini greenhouse
Mini-greenhouse ©Getty

Style

The traditional style of greenhouse is the freestanding greenhouse that looks like a mini glass house in your garden. These can be placed anywhere and let in light from all four sides. However, there are other freestanding styles available including circular, octagonal or lantern shaped glasshouses.

Another option is to choose a lean-to greenhouse that makes use of a back or side wall. These greenhouses take up less space and are more energy efficient as the brick wall support will help retain heat compared to the exposed sides of a freestanding greenhouse. The supporting wall will also help provide wind resistance, great for helping your greenhouse glazing last longer.

Aluminium or wooden frames?

Aluminium frames are the most popular choice as the most strong and durable option that'll stand the test of time. Aluminium frames are budget friendly, can come in a range of shapes, sizes and colours and are light and easy to assemble.

Wooden frames are less common but tend to be more in-keeping with a garden if you prefer a more rustic, natural appearance. They also provide better insulation in comparison to aluminium frames but can be more expensive and vulnerable to rot. To help prevent this you can treat your wood and choose a wood that's better suited (cedarwood is more durable than treated softwood) but all woods will require more maintenance in the long-run.

Choices for glazing

There are three main types of greenhouse glazing available - polycarbonate plastic, horticultural glass and toughened glass.

Polycarbonate plastic glazing is durable and holds in heat well, however it's less efficient at letting in optimal light over time. Horticultural glass transmits and holds more light than plastic glazing and is an inexpensive option that is easy to replace with any breakages.

However, if you'd prefer a more durable glazing that has the same light efficiency as horticultural glass, toughened glass would be a more suitable option. This might be best if you have lively pets or children running about and are worried about potential breakages, but it's worth bearing in mind that toughened glass comes with a much higher price tag.

Ventilation

It's important to ensure your greenhouse has sufficient ventilation so make sure to choose a greenhouse with roof vents. The larger your greenhouse of choice, the more vents you'll need for adequate air flow.

Best available greenhouses for your garden

As we're all making the most of our gardens, greenhouses are extremely popular right now! We've listed the best greenhouses that are available to buy or pre-order today.

Gallery

Best available greenhouses for your garden

Natural Wooden Mini Greenhouse
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Want to grow vegetables or flowers all year round? Aldi's latest special buy - the Natural Wooden Mini Greenhouse might just be the answer. As well as featuring three storage shelves and two lifting lids with adjustable lid stays, it also comes with a 36-month guarantee. What's not to like?Size 69 x 49 x 120cm (approx.)

Kingfisher GHPRO Premium 4 Tier Greenhouse
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This cheap and cheerful 4 tier mini-greenhouse is ideal for propagating seeds and protecting young plants. Easy to self-assemble at home, it has a roll-up front door with zip fasteners to help with ventilation. Size H130 x L50 x D45cm

Amazon
DKIEI 3-Tier Wooden Cold Frame Mini-Greenhouse
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This fir wood cold frame with polycarbonate panels is easy to install into your garden with simple self-assembly and it's neat size. With more height than a regular cold frame, you have more capacity to protect seedlings, vegetables or flowerbeds from harsh weather conditions. You can use the three shelves for garden tool storage if you wish!Size H120 x L69 x D49cm though larger sizes are available.

Amazon
Palram Harmony 6X8 Polycarbonate Apex Greenhouse
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This fun-sized greenhouse is big enough for your gardening dreams yet small enough to fit a tight space in your garden or terrace. With clear polycarbonate glazing panels and an aluminium frame, this greenhouse is designed to be durable and robust against the seasons and rust. This greenhouse includes a perimeter and galvanised steel base adding structural support and stability, large adjustable vent window and built-in gutters to channel rain water.Size 6ft x 8ft

Halls Cotswold Broadway 8 x 4 Lean-To Greenhouse
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Order this stylish lean-to greenhouse, equipped with Zero Threshold™ for no trip hazards and easy access for wheelchair users. Available in silver aluminium, green or black powder coated frames, you can also personalise your glazing options too with 3mm toughened glass or twin wall polycarbonate. With a window for ventilation and high capacity guttering, this greenhouse is the epitome of modern-garden chic and versatility. Size 8ft x 4ft though other sizes are available

Halls Popular Freestanding Greenhouse
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The Halls Popular Greenhouse is an more affordable structure, which is ideal for beginner and expert gardeners. With a smooth sliding door, large roof vent and a choice of glazing options between horticultural glass, toughened glass and polycarbonate glazing, this greenhouse is the whole package for a range of uses. Size 4ft x 6ft though other sizes are available

Where should I position my greenhouse?

When choosing where to site your greenhouse, you need to take into consideration a range of factors to make sure it's in the optimal place for plant growth and for you.

You might have an ideal space in mind but it's worth considering the below:

• Position your greenhouse in the sunniest part of your garden. This is paramount for getting the most out of your greenhouse. The best position for this would be to have your greenhouse south-facing where possible or failing that, east side to maximise light during the winter

• Putting your greenhouse in a space that will be sheltered from high winds or storms. This is great for the long-term maintenance and structural integrity of your greenhouse

• Position your greenhouse near a source of water or electricity. This is ideal for easy watering and providing additional heat in the cooler seasons if your sun exposure is limited

• Make sure to build on level ground with good foundations. Building on a slope will create complications with pots potentially rolling off the inside staging!

• Leave space around your greenhouse. This will make for an easier installation and make it easier to replace any broken panes later down the line.

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