How to Build a Greenhouse For Under $200

Want to find out how to build a greenhouse? Since we live in a cooler climate, we NEED to grow tomatoes and peppers under covers and a greenhouse works perfectly for us. Although we can’t grow enough tomatoes to preserve a lot of tomato sauce, we can fit enough plants in here for fresh eating. There’s nothing better than picking cherry tomatoes right off the vine and popping them into my mouth!

Our greenhouse is unheated and it usually used from April to October.

Here’s how we built our greenhouse for under $200!



greenhouse, gardening, raised beds


A greenhouse is a fantastic addition to any home and it can be built cheaper than you may think. We built ours stick frame but you can easily build hoop greenhouses, which would be less trouble constructing than the one we built. Ours is very durable however and we are glad we went with stick frame. Our winters are severe enough here we need a steep roof on the greenhouse, so the winter snows will slide off. Since hoop houses don’t shed the snow as easily, we thought it was best to go with the steeper roof.





The picture above is a temporary greenhouse that Graham made soon after we moved here. That year, we grew squash, beans and cucumbers under that cover. For the permanent greenhouse, Graham wanted to reuse those roof panels that you see in the picture.



greenhouse, hoop house



The roof panels were in two pieces. When it came to deciding where to site the permanent greenhouse, we had some thinking to do. In the end, we decided to build the new greenhouse right on top of the oldest compost pile. Why create extra work for ourselves?

This way it would be easy to rake out, take away the excess, and leave some really awesome soil underneath the plants.

Right next to the site, we had a second pile of well composted manure. Nice and easy to move into the new greenhouse!

The Lumber List:

Use this list to estimate your lumber costs, depending on the size of greenhouse. Ours is 12 feet long. Your costs will vary, of course, depending on the finished size and lumber costs in your area.


4  –  12 foot  2 x 4

16   –  8 foot  2 x 4

6  –  12 foot  2 x 2 (for roof panel)

1 roll  poly

staples, nails & the rest of the obvious!


How We Did it:




First, we framed up the one wall.





Then another and another and voila. The basic frame was ready.



Next, we worked on framing in the walls.





Can you see where we laid logs inside where we needed to level the site out? You know why logs are good? Because they are FREE.  Then I started raking smooth all the compost and also adding the great soil from the pile in the back.

The compost that wasn’t quite ready, I just shovelled onto the other compost pile. Siting the greenhouse right here was a LOT less work in the end. Of course, we had put the piles in a good spot to begin with! Nice and close to the garden and far enough to the edge of the lawn that they weren’t under the trees.

You can really see the lay of the land we were working with. See the slope? And that middle hump inside the greenhouse is the left over pile of finished compost.

Over time, I raked that over to the edges to fill out the raised beds inside.




build your own Greenhouse, raised beds, gardening


Here’s a better picture of the log details.



greenhouse, gardening

Once that was done, we started working on putting the roof panels in place. Graham put a great pitch on the roof and it should hopefully be able to withstand all the snow in the winter.

Later, we stapled the plastic poly around the sides. We stapled it very well, so the wind couldn’t catch the plastic and start lifting it off. We just used 6mm plastic off a roll that we had laying around for a building project. Some people prefer to get greenhouse weight plastic.




 Since the bottom areas of the front had open spaces, I played around with building rock faces on either side. Easy and FREE!



build your own greenhouse, raised beds, gardening


And here’s what it looks like from the porch – we are very happy with the way it turned out. It was a fair bit of work, but it will add a LOT to our homestead.

This greenhouse has enabled us to grow peppers and tomatoes. If you live in a northern climate, you really can’t go wrong building a greenhouse.

Want to learn more about building your own greenhouse?  Using basic tools, you save a lot of money building your own, as opposed to buying a new greenhouse. Build your own for about $300, including electricity – extend your growing season, start your own seeds and grow your own organic food! The cost for ours was well under $200, even if we would have had  to buy that roll of plastic.

Want to read all our posts about growing in a greenhouse? Find out why I always transplant tomato plants before planting them again into the greenhouse. Ever wondered just how small of a pot is needed to grow peppers that actually set peppers?




Want to find out which are The 5 Easiest Vegetables to Grow?

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  1. Nice! I put some little hoops of pvc pipe over my new raised bed.. Eager to see what a sheet of plastic will do to extend the New England growing season. Thanks for showing how you built this structure – always fun to get new ideas!

    • avatar Annie says:

      Hi Lauren, thanks for commenting. I’ll bet a sheet of plastic will make a 3 or 4 degree difference for you. We use 6 ml. but that is because we have a lot on hand. I’d go 10ml (greenhouse plastic) when we need to buy more.

  2. avatar Lisa says:

    Great information, thank you.

  3. Thanks for sharing all the details on building your greenhouse. Ours had a hard winter …there are greenhouse parts sticking out of the snow. We might be needing a new one 🙁

    • avatar Annie says:

      Oh no! I hope you will be able to fix it instead of having to build a new one! Once the snow comes, we try to leave a wide path around the whole greenhouse, then use a broom to sweep the snow off the roof. Not easy to do from the ground, but we really don’t want ours crashing down. The snow falls on the pathway, then we shovel it off to make room for the next round. Extra work for sure, but worth it.

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