Greenhouses are an enormous asset for homeowners who enjoy growing their own fruits, veggies, and herbs, but how much do they cost? A professionally built greenhouse costs around $11,000, with most homeowners paying between $2,000 and $25,000.
For a smaller growing space at a considerably cheaper price, homeowners can install a smaller, prefabricated greenhouse, buy a greenhouse kit, or DIY it. Whatever option you choose, there are a few universal greenhouse elements that will allow you to build the ideal greenhouse for your needs.
- Average cost
- Cost estimator by size
- Other factors that affect cost
- Related services
- Pro cost vs. DIY cost
- Cost by location
Average greenhouse costs in 2024
|National average cost||$11,000|
|Typical price range||$2,000 – $25,000|
|Extreme low-end cost||$1,000|
|Extreme high-end cost||$30,000|
The cost to install a greenhouse varies depending on a variety of criteria. In a large conservatory or greenhouse, the materials you choose and whether you install water, a heating system, and ventilation fans all influence the price.
You may not need these bells and whistles in a small greenhouse to keep your plants happy, which will drastically lower your costs. A large greenhouse with all the amenities will have higher upfront costs to build.
Greenhouse cost estimator by size
The biggest cost consideration is size. If you have a small to mid-sized greenhouse, you may not need to invest in a heater, water lines, or electricity. As your garden grows, so will the importance of these systems.
Typical residential greenhouses cost between $5 to $30 per square foot or $22 per square foot on average The following table shows the typical price ranges for installing a backyard greenhouse.
|Project size||Average overall cost|
|50 square feet||$250 – $1,500|
|300 square feet||$1,500 – $9,000|
|600 square feet||$3,000 – $18,000|
Other factors that affect cost
Type of greenhouse
After size, the type of greenhouse and the materials used for the floor, framing, and walls will have a considerable impact on the cost.
|Greenhouse style||Average price (per square foot)|
|Hoop house||$5 – $10|
|Rooftop||$10 – $20|
|Geodesic||$10 – $25|
|A-frame||$25 – $35|
Half-tunnel-shaped greenhouses are known as hoop houses. They are a straightforward method of extending the growing season, usually composed of steel frames and inexpensive plastic sheeting.
A hoop greenhouse usually costs between $5 and $10 per square foot.
Growing your own food in the constrained space of a large city is known as urban gardening. Rooftop greenhouses are becoming more and more popular as a way to safeguard your investment.
A rooftop greenhouse typically costs between $10 and $20 per square foot.
Because of the curved surfaces of geodesic greenhouses, plants can catch more sunlight. They are also more durable and resistant to storms and snow than square greenhouse designs.
A geodesic greenhouse costs between $10 and $25 per square foot.
A-frame greenhouses can be constructed using a variety of materials. From recycled or brand-new, aluminum, galvanized steel, wood, and PVC are all options.
Glass A-frame greenhouses are more expensive to make and require costlier, stronger materials to make them sturdy enough to deal with snowfall. Despite their higher cost, the A-frame style is used by both home and commercial gardeners.
A-frame greenhouses typically cost between $25 and $35 per square foot.
For your greenhouse, a variety of flooring options are available. Unless your installer needs to level it, one choice is to leave a dirt or grass floor, which is free. The drawback to using a natural floor is it can get muddy. Rubber mats are a cheap and easy solution and average $2.00 a square foot.
The prices of common greenhouse flooring choices are listed below.
|Flooring material||Average price (per square foot)|
|Landscaping fabric||$0.45 – $0.80|
|Pea Gravel||$0.86 – $3.78|
|Concrete||$8.00 – $18.00|
|Pavers||$8.00 – $24.00|
Once you’ve opted for a design, you’ll need to choose the frame. Your greenhouse’s frame is its actual construction or skeleton. The frame material you select can have a significant effect on the total price of your installation. Materials range from $1.00 to $2.50 per square foot.
|Frame material||Average price (per square foot)|
The term “glazing” refers to any material used to cover or fit the frame of the greenhouse and is a major cost consideration. The materials for the greenhouse walls range from $0.20 to $2.60 per square foot.
|Glaze material||Average price (per square foot)|
|Greenhouse plastic (polyethylene film)||$0.20|
The cost of a greenhouse is also influenced by the type of insulation used. Your plants need a controlled environment with the correct humidity and temperature, which is made possible by proper insulation. Effective insulation can reduce energy costs and save your plants. You can expect to pay between $1.50 to $4.00 per square foot for insulation.
|Insulation material||Average price (per square foot)|
|Base cladding (protective layering material)||$1.50 – $3.00|
|Thermal screens||$1.50 – $4.00|
|Double-pane glass||$2.50 – $3.50|
|Bubble wrap||$2.60 – $3.00|
A few greenhouses include plumbing, fans, and electricity, but going beyond the essentials raises the price. Most installations for utilities also require hiring a contractor, whose rates range from $45 to $150 an hour. You may need:
- Plumbing for irrigation system and drainage
- Electricity for grow lights, plumbing, and climate control
- HVAC or climate control equipment like heaters and fans
Solar greenhouse panels can save you money on electricity, but the initial cost is higher, with an average cost of $35 to $45 per square foot.
Average contractor rates
|Contractor specialty||Average rate (per hour)|
|Plumber||$45 – $150|
|Electrician||$45 – $100|
|HVAC||$60 – $150|
Climate control equipment
|Equipment||Average cost (per item)|
|Fans||$25 – $150|
|Heaters||$55 – $270|
Building permits determine how your greenhouse is built, and zoning regulations govern where it is placed on your property. Rooftop greenhouses are the most difficult to get approval for since urban areas typically have more restrictions than rural ones.
If you hire a professional for the installation, they should have all the necessary permits, but you should verify that when getting an estimate. For DIY projects, check with your local zoning office to avoid fines or having to remove your greenhouse later. Permits for greenhouses typically cost between $100 and $600.
If the land is not ready for construction, the cost of your greenhouse will be higher overall. When constructing a greenhouse, you must ensure that the ground is open and level. Land clearing and excavating will be the most costly. You may need to prep the site by:
- Clearing the space and removing bushes or trees
- Removing the grass
- Excavating the site to install the greenhouse base
- Grading or leveling uneven areas
Bundling services with the installation of your new greenhouse by your greenhouse pro or contractor may save you time and money in the long run.
Irrigation and drainage
A successful garden needs regular watering. For smaller greenhouses, watering cans are sufficient. Avoid using a sprayer attached to your hose as the force of the spray can spread mold spores. However, you may consider having gutters installed to catch rainwater or installing a misting system.
A simple and inexpensive option to store water for your plants is to use rain barrels to collect runoff from the roof. A single 40- to 60-gallon rain barrel costs roughly $140 on average but can range between $120 and $160.
In order to prevent mud and mold from growing more than your vegetables, make sure that the water in your garden goes somewhere, such as a French drain or a channel for the water to drip down and escape. A French drain costs as little as $500 to install, but depending on other factors, they average $2,800 to $6,500.
Shelves or benches
If your greenhouse design hasn’t already incorporated shelves or a table, consider adding them. Shelves and benches will not only give you more space for your plants but also a worktop for potting plants. Shelving runs, on average, between $45 and $620 depending on materials, size, and number of shelves.
Plant shade trees
Sometimes, the best spot for your zoning permit isn’t the best for your greenhouse. You can protect your greenhouse against harsh winds and high heat by planting shade trees nearby. The national average cost for planting a tree, which includes the tree and labor, ranges from $150 to $1,850.
Install garden beds
If your greenhouse is primarily used to keep your plants alive during the winter, ornamental beds are an excellent summer home for them. A flower bed improves the appearance of your yard and increases your home’s curb appeal.
A 5 by 12-foot flower bed costs about $2,500, including materials and labor. A raised garden bed kit ranges in price from $105 to $210.
Pro cost vs. DIY cost
DIY is an excellent alternative for handy homeowners who want to build a greenhouse but do not want to invest a lot of money. You can save money by building your own greenhouse, provided you have the necessary skills and supplies.
DIY greenhouses cost roughly 40% less than a professional installation would.
|Professional greenhouse installation||$11,000|
|DIY greenhouse installation||$5,000|
Online and at your local hardware store, you can find low-cost greenhouse kits and building materials.
|DIY equipment and materials||Average material costs|
|DIY greenhouse kit||$4,000|
|Impact driver (rental)||$25 (per day)|
|Pea gravel||$464 (for about 200 sq. ft.)|
|Total DIY Cost||$4,995|
Cost of a greenhouse by location
Depending on where you live, labor rates may be higher than what’s estimated in this article, such as rural areas versus urban or residential neighborhoods. The cost of living in your state can make a significant difference, as well.
Money-saving tips when building a greenhouse
- Multiple quotes: It’s recommended that when using a contractor, you get multiple estimates and verify that everything you want for your ideal greenhouse is included in the quote.
- Recycled materials: Contact your builder or friends to see if they have any spare or leftover materials you can use for the greenhouse project. Recyclable materials include plastic sheeting, concrete pavers, and gravel.
- Realistic budget: Ultimately, the entire project boils down to the budget. Saving money is great, but cutting corners can cost you in the long run. It is often recommended for first-time greenhouse owners to leave room for expansion or plan for a greenhouse they can grow into.
That depends. Many small home greenhouses won’t require any special building permits, but it’s best to check with your local zoning office to make sure.
Glass is an excellent greenhouse panel material. In addition to providing excellent light penetration, glass also adds curb appeal. On the other hand, it is more expensive than plastic and is costly to replace if damaged.
Yes, geodesic greenhouses work well. Make certain that the greenhouse design or kit you select has a sturdy construction and roof trusses or gables to handle heavier snow and strong winds.
When planning to install your greenhouse, take a look at your whole landscape design for your current or future projects. Adding stone or gravel walkways, privacy hedges, or a new patio can enhance your environment even more. Hiring professional installers can help you create the backyard oasis you’ve always wanted.
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