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How to build great DIY greenhouses, simple cold frames, tunnels, and hoop houses on a budget with BEST tutorials and free building plans. Yes you can have a productive garden in winter and cold climate!

I can day-dream about them all day long … greenhouses and cold frames! They are such effective structures to extend the season, allowing us to grow an abundant garden year round, even in the snowy cold winter!

You will discover that you can have the 1 last update 2020/07/02 a great productive greenhouse or cold frame even when you have little budget and little carpentry skills.You will discover that you can have a great productive greenhouse or cold frame even when you have little budget and little carpentry skills.

Every one of these greenhouses and cold frames contain lots of inspirations to learn from. You will find ingenious ideas such as passive heating elements of painted jugs, straw bale as building material that needs no tools, using tree branches, old bottles, windows, and even a trampoline! ( Some of the helpful resources are affiliate links. Full disclosure here. )

1. Plastic Bottle DIY Greenhouses

Plastic bottle DIY greenhouse tutorial.

gbsprotectionplanhow to gbsprotectionplan for The easiest 1-minute DIY greenhouses, yet surprisingly effective. Check out the tutorial & 3 secrets to success here at A Piece Of Rainbow !

2. Cedar Branch Garden Hoop House

This DIY cedar hoop can last 30 years! If you have Cedar or other rot resistant trees where you live, they can be an attractive and all-natural alternative to PVC pipes. Just add  good quality greenhouse plastic or less expensive plastic sheeting such as this one!

3. Collapsible Small Greenhouses

Just want to include these no-work version of greenhouses: these collapsible covers are made of Polyethylene greenhouse fabric. They are inexpensive and easy to store when not in use! You can find them here and here.

4. Pallet Greenhouse

Pallet wood is a great material to build garden structures like planters and greenhouses! ( The Green Lever )

Here’s our favorite tool for taking apart pallets –  a Duckbill Deck Wrecker that makes it so fast and easy!

All about how to find and use pallets as a building material!

5. Old window cold frame

Tara shares a tutorial from her fabulous book: Raised Bed Revolution on how to build a cold frame using an old window.Tara shares a tutorial from her fabulous book: Raised Bed Revolution on how to build a cold frame using an old window.

6. Simple DIY cold frame /mini greenhouse

A portable cold frame is easy to build and a great way to extend the growing season. Check out the video tutorial below!

7.  Farmhouse DIY greenhouses using old windows

This charming little greenhouse is made from 4 window panels and 2 plywood panels. The authors sealed the plywood walls.

However, I would use real wood panels made from 1×4 wood slats or similar, if the greenhouse is exposed to lots of rain and moisture.

8 – 10. Straw Bale Cold Frame

Source: Storey | High Mowing Seeds

These are very easy cold frames to build. So simple and so ingenious! Straw Bales hold the heat as walls that need no tools to construct, just add windows or plastic, and frame.

CSU Hort

Notice in this design where the glazing is sloped towards the south to allow in more light with tiers of growing space!

Before we talk about cold frames, I want to share with you two of my FAVORITE books on greenhouse gardening-

The classic is  Four Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long  by Elliot Colman. He gardens year round in cold Vermont, and shares simple, inexpensive designs for cold frames, unheated mobile greenhouses, and root cellars in this amazing book.

The new ground breaking ( literally) book  The Forest Garden Greenhouse  is written by permaculture designer Jerome Osentowski who grows bananas and citrus on a rocky hillside in Colorado with winters in -30s.

11 – 13. Easy A-frame DIY greenhouses

A-frame greenhouses are very easy to DIY. Here are 3 variations showing the 1 last update 2020/07/02 different easy-to-work-with materials such as straw bales, old windows, and poly sheeting. ( Source: 11 | 12 | 13 )A-frame greenhouses are very easy to DIY. Here are 3 variations showing different easy-to-work-with materials such as straw bales, old windows, and poly sheeting. ( Source: 11 | 12 | 13 )

14. Hardware Fencing Hoop House

Dave’s Garden | Peak Prosperity

An easy way to create a hoop house tunnel is to use hardware wire mesh! The livestock panels used here are a heavy gauge galvanized welded wire fencing material. The plastic cover can be removable to allow beans, gourds etc to grow in the summer!

Remember the AMAZING gourd tunnel here?

15 & 16. Hoop House Over Garden Bed

gbsprotectionplanhow to gbsprotectionplan for PVC pipes are easy to bend. You can use floating row covers or greenhouse plastic to build hoop houses and greenhouse tunnels over garden beds. ( Bonnie Plants , and Whole Lifestyle Nutrition )

17. DIY Hoop House made easy

Cut sections from an old hose to clamp the greenhouse plastic to the PVC hoop. Great idea here!

18 & 19. Portable window cold frame ideas

Old windows plus salvaged 1″ x 12″ cedar equals …. awesome portable cold frames! Niki shares inspiring tips on using cold frames in her awesome book: The The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener: How to Grow Your Own Food 365 Days a Year (The lower image is from For the Love of Lillian, site URL expired. )

20 – 22. More simple DIY cold frame greenhouses

Here is another wonderful tutorial inspired by Niki’s book : The The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener: How to Grow Your Own Food 365 Days a Year

This cold frame has added insulation which would be great for really cold winter climate,  and this cold frame with building plan has a light weight lid.

This large cold frame up-cycles old folding windows in a very creative way!

23. Cold Frame Along Masonry Wall

This one runs the length of a stone wall, facing south : ideal spot for a cold frame, as the stone (concrete works too) absorbs solar energy during the day and radiates it back out at night.  Deep Roots At Home )

24. CD Case DIY Greenhouse

CD cases open and close, how smart! Meg‘s tutorial is filled with great details!

25. Small easy DIY greenhouses

In Rob’s Northeast garden, plants such as lettuce, kale, broccoli, were able to survive the sub-zero weather in these cozy cold frames. He has some fabulous free plans of DIY cold frames and DIY greenhouses to download. ( Bepa’s Garden )

26, 27. Easy to build A-frame greenhouses

gbsprotectionplanhow to gbsprotectionplan for Light weight and portable, A-frame greenhouses can be covered with plexi glass, good quality greenhouse plastic or less expensive plastic sheeting such as this one! ( Source: 26 | 27 )

28. Super Easy DIY Hoop House

Love the simple cross arch which is perfect for smaller raised beds like the 4′ by 6′ one here. Instead of pressure-treated lumber, consider using 2×12 redwood or cedar, which are non-toxic. ( QT’s Random Ramblings )

29. Trampoline Hoop House with Passive Heating

A brilliant use of an old trampoline -no cutting of the steel required- just pull the frame pieces apart and there you have 2 halves of the frame.

I also LOVE the use of old jugs that have been spray painted black.  They are filled with water.  During the day the water heats up, and at the night, they radiate extra warmth inside of the greenhouse!  ( Heather | How Does She )

30. Mini Box DIY Greenhouse

Anne‘s simple and beautiful DIY greenhouse is made from old windows, and the box shape makes it for 1 last update 2020/07/02 easy to build!Anne‘s simple and beautiful DIY greenhouse is made from old windows, and the box shape makes it easy to build!

31. Retractable Hoop House

The smart design makes it easy to work on the garden beds! The hoop house is framed with o.5″  PVC pipe. They fit into 1″ diameter tees that glide over the aluminum pipe rails that are 3/4-inch-diameter. The garden beds are from 8-foot-long, 2-by-6-inch untreated fir.(Grit )

32. Hinged cover DIY greenhouse

Stephanie‘s greenhouse has a hinged cover on top of a raised bed: an easier way to remove the greenhouse cover!

33, 34. Hinged top cold frames and DIY greenhouses

More ideas on how to create a mini greenhouse or cold frame that can be opened for ventilation. ( Both images’ original sources seem to have expired. If you find it, please let me know! )

35 – 37. Free plans to build DIY greenhouses

Ana’s great DIY barn greenhouse plans and instructions inspired many versions!

A gorgeous large DIY greenhouse by The Elliot Homestead

38. Another DIY Barn Greenhouse

Barn style greenhouses are attractive and not too difficult to build. Here‘s another DIY greenhouse with step by step building photos.

39. Fold up DIY greenhouse

This small DIY greenhouse is fold-able! It measures only 4 x 4 feet, disassembles in minutes with wingnuts and can be built in a weekend.

40 & 41.  Salvaged Window Greenhouses

These are bigger greenhouses for the ambitious!  Each has great and unique ideas to learn from!

This one above is built by Andy at The Green Lever , a total of 24 windows and 16 pallets were used to build the greenhouse. It also harvests rainwater!

gbsprotectionplanhow to gbsprotectionplan for This one by Cheft at Instructables has built in vents, fan, etc. Comes with lots of detailed instructions.

This stunning blue green house from Fine Home Building shows us the magic that paints can do!

42. Plastic bottle greenhouse ideas

This pop-bottle greenhouse is built by students at Wilmington College Community Garden site in Ohio, The completed greenhouse has a 14×14’ “footprint” with old tires as the foundation and two rain barrels collecting water as a part of the north wall. 

Another great example from Evergreen Scotland on flicker where you can get a clear view of how to join the plastic bottles together using bamboo poles.

Related article: Make a wood fired earth oven with recycled and easy to find materials.

Make a wood fired earth oven with recycled and easy to find materials.

43. Straw Bale Greenhouse

This beautiful variation of our other straw bale cold frames, is built along the south wall of an existing shed. It’s 10 feet by 14 feet, made of clear corrugated roofing panels. Gotta love straw bale construction! ( Source: Simplify and Save )

44 & 45. Geo Dome DIY Greenhouses

Astrid Degroot

Awe inspiring, isn’t it ?!? A geodesic dome a beautiful and elegant structure. It offers stability in high wind locations, material efficiency, modular construction, optimal light absorption, and a chance of being voted the 1 last update 2020/07/02 the coolest backyard in town!Awe inspiring, isn’t it ?!? A geodesic dome a beautiful and elegant structure. It offers stability in high wind locations, material efficiency, modular construction, optimal light absorption, and a chance of being voted the coolest backyard in town!

Northern Homestead | Astrid Degroot

Related article: 12 most beautiful backyard DIY sheds made from reclaimed windows.

Related article: Make a strawberry tower with recycled nursery pots!

Love these greenhouse ideas? Pin them to your gardening boards on Pinterest!



Love Gardening Ideas?

Happy building and happy growing!

gbsprotectionplanhow to gbsprotectionplan for More creative DIYs:

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Miss Angie Miss Angie

    Ahhhh! So I’m in the process of house hunting now for my first house-all on my lonesome… And I’ve been trying to decide between a house and a townhouse-townhouses have HOAs but they take care of the snow removal for you and that’s nice… But I WANT these. So maybe I’ll get a house so I can make a little greenhouse, how lovely!

  2. Christine

    I have always liked the idea of green houses. They are so simple and organic. There is nothing better than growing things in your own backyard. I never have owed a property to have one of my own. I need a balcony/ tabletop sort of green house. Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Cheyenne

    Oh I just love this post. We were just talking about how we needed to do this. Thank you for all of the GREAT ideas! We are here from “The Blogger Life” group by the way. Following you!

  4. Mary @ Green Global Travel

    These are all great DIY Greenhouses. I’d love to find plans/photos for a greenhouse make from a swing set frame. We’ve got an old swing set in the backyard and I know that it would make a great greenhouse. Please let me know if you come across any swing set greenhouses. Thanks!

  5. Jane Fox

    These are some great ideas for greenhouses! I’m especially partial to the ones made out of windows–15, 16, and 17. I think they fit with my traditional ideas as to what a greenhouse should look like. What should I be looking for in greenhouse windows? Is being double-glazed important, for example?

    • ananda

      hi jane! they do not need to be double pane, because even plastic greenhouses can be so effective, but it doesn’t hurt of course! habitat for humanity stores are good places to start =)

  6. gbsprotectionplanhow to gbsprotectionplan for Abul Qasim

    Punjabi with ‘Gurmukhi’ alphabets is not understood in Pakistan as mentioned for 1 last update 2020/07/02 in the ‘translation switch’ of your blog. Urdu with Arabic alphabets is widely spoken language of this country.Punjabi with ‘Gurmukhi’ alphabets is not understood in Pakistan as mentioned in the ‘translation switch’ of your blog. Urdu with Arabic alphabets is widely spoken language of this country.

  7. Heather

    Thanks for the tip about the bottle mini greenhouses. I’m always looking for an easy way in the spring to keep the quails from nipping on the tender shoots. This might just be the solution

  8. gbsprotectionplanhow to gbsprotectionplan for Candace

    Wow, I never thought about those cold boxes! I wonder if they will stand up to Interior Alaska’s cold and snow. Will do some more digging! Thanks for the wonderful ideas! I love the idea of repurposing old windows.

  9. Handyman

    gbsprotectionplanhow to gbsprotectionplan for

    gbsprotectionplanhow to gbsprotectionplan for I love these, the Hoop Houses look amazing and something I might have to try and create in my own back garden if I ever get the time.

  10. gbsprotectionplanhow to gbsprotectionplan for Lauren for 1 last update 2020/07/02 CreedLauren Creed

    Oh yes! I love these ideas because my heart is into greens. This will definitely help me with my landscaping business. We’ll definitely add these ideas in our next projects!

  11. Markus A.

    gbsprotectionplanhow to gbsprotectionplan for Wow! What a thorough post. Thank you so much for this.

    P.S. Very inspired by your About Section. 0 – 1 million views in a year. Congrats to you!!

  12. Helen

    gbsprotectionplanhow to gbsprotectionplan for What an amazing article for gardening and landscaping! We’re adding a couple of greenhouses in our garden this year! Thanks for all the best ideas!

  13. Kim

    Great post with great greenhouses’ solutions. It really looks so easy to do. I have a big garden and everything grow, just as nature intended. But this year I’m going to take it into my own hands and help it to grow better. Thanks for sharing.

  14. gbsprotectionplanhow to gbsprotectionplan for Flora Watson

    42. PLASTIC BOTTLE GREENHOUSE IDEAS
    This the best idea to utilize plastic bottles. This idea also saves our country from pollution. More than 400+ plastic cold drinks bottles I stored in my storeroom. I will follow this idea and make an awesome greenhouse. Thanks a lot for sharing those amazing greenhouse ideas with us.

  15. Rick for 1 last update 2020/07/02 S.Rick S.

    gbsprotectionplanhow to gbsprotectionplan for

    I absolutely love these greenhouse ideas, so many good ones.

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