47 BEST DIY GREENHOUSES ( TUTORIALS & FREE PLANS!

shares

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 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 Greenhouses
Plastic bottle DIY greenhouse tutorial.
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

Cedar Branch Hoop House garden tunnel
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

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.

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

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

easy DIY 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.
Straw Bale Cold 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-
books
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

Easy A-frame DIY greenhouses using repurposed windows
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

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?
Amazing Living Structures | A Piece of Rainbow

15 & 16. HOOP HOUSE OVER GARDEN BED

tunnel Hoop House Over Garden Bed
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

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

simple DIY cold frame greenhouse ideas
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
simple DIY cold frame greenhouse free plan
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.
use old windows to build cold frame greenhouse
This large cold frame up-cycles old folding windows in a very creative way!

23. COLD FRAME ALONG MASONRY WALL

winter garden Cold Frame Along 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

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

25. SMALL EASY DIY GREENHOUSES

Small easy DIY greenhouses using wood frame and plastic cover
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

easy and cheap A frame greenhouse ideas
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

cheap DIY greenhouse made from pvc pipes
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

 trampoline hoop house
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

smaal garden DIY-Greenhouse
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

DIY hoop tunnel
DIY hoop Greenhouse plan
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

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

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

Free plans to build DIY greenhouses
Ana’s great DIY barn greenhouse plans and instructions inspired many versions!
cute barn greenhouse DIY
large DIY greenhouse with clear acrylic polycarbonate sheet panels
A gorgeous large DIY greenhouse by The Elliot Homestead

38. ANOTHER DIY BARN GREENHOUSE

dutch 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

small greenhouse shed DIY
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!
upcycle old windows into a greenhouse shed
This one by Cheft at Instructables has built in vents, fan, etc. Comes with lots of detailed instructions.
beautiful DIY blue greenhouse from old windows
This stunning blue green house from Fine Home Building shows us the magic that paints can do!

42. PLASTIC BOTTLE GREENHOUSE IDEAS

Plastic bottle greenhouse DIY 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. 
how to make greenhouse from lastic bottles
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.
building foundation for DIY wood fired outdoor pizza oven, aka cob / earth oven
Make a wood fired earth oven with recycled and easy to find materials.

43. STRAW BALE GREENHOUSE

Straw Bale Greenhouse
large 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

geo dome greenhouse DIY
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 coolest backyard in town!
geodesic dome greenhouse with free plans
Northern Homestead | Astrid Degroot
Related article: 12 most beautiful backyard DIY sheds made from reclaimed windows.
12 amazing DIY sheds : how to create beautiful backyard offices, studios and greenhouses with reclaimed windows and other materials. - A Piece Of Rainbow
Related article: Make a strawberry tower with recycled nursery pots!
DIY Strawberry Tower with reservoir! | A Piece Of Rainbow Blog

LOVE THESE GREENHOUSE IDEAS? PIN THEM TO YOUR GARDENING BOARDS ON PINTEREST!

small DIY greenhouses and cold frames
best DIY Greenhouse ideas with free building plans