Planning on Planting? Check Out These Cheap, Year-Round DIY Greenhouse Ideas

a close up of a flower garden with a greenhouse

Niklas Storm/istockphoto

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a close up of a flower garden with a greenhouse
Niklas Storm/istockphoto

How To Build a Greenhouse for Cheap

Given that greenhouses can cost as much as $25,000, only the wealthiest cold-climate gardeners can afford to keep their plants happy year-round. Unless, that is, you build the greenhouse yourself. Thanks to the wealth of information online, we’ve found several cheap greenhouse ideas to stretch your dollar (and the growing season).

Related: Cheap Patio Paver Ideas When You’re on a Tight Budget

Plastic tunnel outside greenhouse Plant nurseries with metal frame

PVC Pipe Hoop House

Lumber, PVC pipes, and polyethylene plastic are the building blocks of a basic do-it-yourself hoop house, and if you follow the below YouTuber’s plan, you should be able to construct it for under $200. This simple build has the added benefit of coming together in just one day, though you will need access to a saw.

Video Tutorial

Related: 5 Cheap DIY Shed Ideas, Ranked From Complicated to Easy Peasy

Costco Carport
Raindrops on transparent umbrella

Umbrella Greenhouse

Those transparent bubble umbrellas aren’t just a fashion statement; they also double as mini greenhouses. There’s no drilling, sawing, or DYing required (some companies even sell umbrellas specifically for gardening), and they’re great for urban gardeners who have limited space. Simply place the umbrellas directly on plants or circular planters.

Related: Edibles Anywhere: 15 Foods to Grow in a Container Garden

The beautiful old Danish greenhouse

Recycled Window Greenhouse

If you’re looking for a more involved project and have a collection of power tools, consider building a greenhouse out of recycled materials such as reclaimed windows and wood. While DIYers’ plans vary, most build a wooden frame that they then fill with old windows rather than plastic sheeting. Below, Babbling in My Backyard provides detailed instructions on how to approach a recycled window build, and you’ll find similar tutorials across the internet.

Video Tutorial

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CDs in shelf

CD Case Greenhouse

Before you donate your CD collection, you should know that you can make a miniature greenhouse with 40 or so jewel cases. As you can imagine, it’s going to be pretty small — only large enough for one or two plants — but it’s nearly free to build, assuming you’ve got old CDs lying around.


Greenhouses on Amazon
Cheapism / Maxwell Shukuya

Greenhouse Kits

Gardeners who want to skip the whole DIY process can buy a cheap greenhouse kit from Harbor Freight, Amazon, or Costco, though it’s hard to say how sturdy these structures are. Still, if you need a greenhouse on the cheap and don’t have the time for a full-on build, it’s not a terrible idea.

Gardener woman reading book and transplants indoor plants and use a shovel on table. Zamioculcas Concept of plants care and home garden. Spring planting
Anastasiia Yanishevska/istockphoto