11 Greenhouse Ideas for Gardening

Updated: Nov. 24, 2023

Ah, spring! If you're getting excited about planting season, here are 11 awesome greenhouse ideas to suit every backyard and budget.

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mini greenhouse with old window deck greenhouse
Family Handyman

Mini Greenhouse

If you don’t have space for a walk-in greenhouse, this mini greenhouse is the perfect alternative. It is made from cedar boards and a repurposed window to save time and effort in construction. The hinged lid is perfect for providing ventilation and acclimating your seedlings before planting in the garden. You can make this greenhouse in a couple of hours using basic power tools.

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fold-down-greenhouse-down-web greenhouse ideas backyard greenhouse diy
Courtesy of Bonnie Plants

Fold-Down Greenhouse

This space-saving fold-down greenhouse is ideal for small backyards. This backyard DIY greenhouse attaches to a wall and folds down like an awning, so you can leave it up in warm weather and lower it to protect tender plants when frost is forecast. Made from PVC pipe and plastic sheeting it’s also lightweight, easy to adjust and it can be built in an afternoon — less if you have the PVC piping pre-cut at the hardware store or home center.

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portable greenhouse
via amazon.com

Portable Greenhouse

How about a portable greenhouse that can roll away when it’s not needed? This cleverest of greenhouse ideas can be placed anywhere in your yard that’s sunny, protected and flat. With windows made from plastic film, this rolling greenhouse is lightweight and portable. And it can hold up to 88 lbs. The no fuss assembly assures you’ll be up and running in an afternoon. Give your plant babies room to grow with these cute and functional greenhouse shelving ideas.

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Courtesy of Suburble

Recycled Frames Greenhouse

If you want to raise your seedlings and help the environment at the same time, how about a backyard DIY greenhouse made from repurposed materials? This smart little greenhouse uses recycled window frames mounted on cinder blocks to make construction quick and easy. And when you’re done, make the greenhouse all your own by adding window boxes, planters and hanging baskets for the finishing touch. Follow this series of blog posts to see how it’s done.

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Courtesy of Garden Plans Free

Lean-To Greenhouse

This lean-to greenhouse has an angled roof, a spacious doorway and plenty of room inside for shelving. Its simple design makes it totally adaptable to the available space. Best of all, you can have it up and ready to use in one day, using only basic tools and a miter saw.

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plastic bottles greenhouse
Courtesy of Finaghy Primary School/Jessica Perry

Plastic Bottle Greenhouse

Looking for “green” greenhouse ideas? Give empty plastic bottles a new life as an environmentally friendly greenhouse. These instructions from The Green Optimistic show how it’s done. This innovative greenhouse idea simply requires a basic wooden frame, some fishing line or bamboo canes to hold the bottles in place, and a LOT of plastic bottles. You can arrange the bottles vertically or horizontally for different textures, and even use different colors of bottles for a stained-glass effect. If you’re planning to raise tomatoes, take a look at these five ways to do it.

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Courtesy of The Elliot Homestead

Plastic-Paneled Barn Greenhouse

Still on the theme of plastic greenhouse ideas, this paneled barn greenhouse at The Elliott Homestead is a sturdy structure, built to withstand whatever the weather throws at it. Based on an original plan by Ana White, the Elliotts have adjusted the dimensions to make the most of their available space. This barn greenhouse is set on concrete blocks, with a wooden frame and plastic windows, although greenhouse plastic or film would make an affordable alternative.

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umbrella greenhouse deck greenhouse
Courtesy of A Little Bit Wonderful

Upside-Down Umbrella

Maybe you don’t have a yard, just small patio or balcony. With a clear plastic umbrella, you can create a mini greenhouse in minutes. This would also work for a deck greenhouse where small space gardening is key.

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dome greenhouse
Courtesy of Northern Homestead

Geodome Greenhouse

With a nod to the innovative look of the iconic Eden Project biomes, this futuristic geodome greenhouse is a design with a difference. Start with a wooden frame, made from stained pine or red cedar, and then choose from greenhouse plastic, greenhouse film, shrink film or polycarbonate panels for the windows. You’ll need hinges on a few windows for ventilation so the greenhouse doesn’t get too hot when the sun is out. Your neighbors may think aliens have landed, but you’ll have the perfect home for your tender plants, especially if you use your kitchen waste to boost plant growth.

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solar greenhouse winter backyard greenhouse diy
Courtesy of Greenhouse of the Future

Solar Greenhouse

Why spend money heating your greenhouse when you can harness the power of the sun? This eco-friendly solar greenhouse uses a variety of recycled materials, including old car tires, and has a solar panel installed on the roof to provide warmth for your precious plants. (Here are some more small-scale solar panel projects for you to try). Constructing this greenhouse is a job for an expert, but the DVD and ebook on Greenhouse of the Future tell you everything you need to know about the project. There’s even an introductory video on their site to explain all the details. Don’t forget to check out our guide to greenhouse gardening.

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stained glass greenhouse
Courtesy of Tom Fruins

Stained Glass Greenhouse

OK, so this multi-colored greenhouse is probably more decorative than functional. But why not bring a little splash of the rainbow to your garden with a stained-glass greenhouse? Using a genuine stained-glass technique would be time-consuming and costly, but fortunately there are ways to cheat! Construct a standard greenhouse frame, then use glass paints to give free rein to your creative talents. Or to make it even easier, opt for decorative window film or decals to create your own unique home for plants.