Buying Guide

Heartland Greenhouse and Garden Supply Greenhouse Buying Guide

Almost every gardener has dreamed of owning a greenhouse at some point. With the right structure and maintenance, a greenhouse can be your own personal gardening haven, allowing you the freedom and ability to extend your growing season year round. Nowadays, thanks to the vast array of quality greenhouses available, many people consider the possibility of investing in their own greenhouse. At Heartland Greenhouse and Garden Supply, we want to provide our customers with as much information and guidance as possible before they commit to such a project. This is why we came up with our greenhouse buyer’s guide to help you find the perfect greenhouse for whatever climate, terrain, or yard size you have to work with. 

Things to Consider Before Buying a Greenhouse

While there are many different factors to consider when trying to find the ideal greenhouse, one of the first things you should do before you buy a greenhouse is to check with your municipality if a building permit is required for you to construct a greenhouse on your property. Even though having to acquire a building permit for a greenhouse is usually rare, especially in rural areas, it’s best to at least do some research beforehand on exactly what laws and guidelines your local government has in place. 

Another important factor to consider is what type of material you want your greenhouse to be constructed out of. Since there are several different types of materials out there that greenhouses are built from, it’s best to look at the advantages and disadvantages of each to see what will ultimately serve you the best. 

Wooden Greenhouse

First and foremost, one of the biggest advantages of a wooden greenhouse is durability. In some cases, with the proper maintenance, a wooden greenhouse can last for decades. However, one of their biggest disadvantages is their tendency to rot if subjected to too much humidity. So if you live in a climate with mild winters, little humidity and mostly dry heat in the summer, our Santa Barbara wooden greenhouses would be an ideal choice. 

Aluminum Frame Greenhouse

Aluminum Frame greenhouses are by far the most popular choice for gardeners. This is because they are extremely durable and require minimal maintenance. Additionally, they are also less expensive than most wooden greenhouses. Aluminum greenhouses are most commonly built with either polycarbonate or tempered glass panels. Both of these materials yield distinct advantages and disadvantages. For polycarbonate panels, one big advantage is its sturdiness. It can withstand heavy snow buildup and high winds without breaking, making it an ideal choice for gardeners who live in climates that experience heavy snowfall in the winter. Additionally, polycarbonate retains heat more efficiently than glass, allowing for better protection of your plants from freezing temperatures. Furthermore, unlike glass, polycarbonate requires little cleaning and allows you to focus your time more on your plants and not on maintaining the structure of your greenhouse. 

However, polycarbonate is not without a few small drawbacks. It is more expensive than tempered glass panels and most gardeners prefer the aesthetic of glass panels on the outside of their greenhouse. 

Oppositely, tempered glass greenhouse panels are often chosen over polycarbonate for their transparency. Glass panels allow you a clear view inside the greenhouse from the outside, giving it an aesthetic edge over the opaque polycarbonate panels. Not only is this an aesthetic advantage, but more transparency means more sunlight is able to be let through into the greenhouse. Additionally, glass will not fade and lose color over time like polycarbonate panels will, making it an aesthetically pleasing choice that’s built to last. 

As for the drawbacks of tempered glass panels, even though safety glass is thicker and stronger than most normal glass, it is still possible that a panel could break in a situation like being hit by flying debris from a storm. Finally, the biggest drawback of tempered glass is that it fails to retain heat as well as polycarbonate does in cold weather. So if you live somewhere with freezing temperatures all winter, tempered glass might require more work than polycarbonate to keep your plants warm. 

Elements of Maintaining a Greenhouse

Ventilation - Good ventilation is one of the most critical components of a functional greenhouse. A greenhouse needs to be able retain warm air in the winter, while also filtering out warm air in the summer. Unfortunately, greenhouses themselves aren’t built with a perfectly balanced ventilation system. This is why gardeners commonly use exhaust fans with remote controlled thermostats to control the ventilation in their greenhouses. You can see our selection of exhaust fans and ventilation accessories HERE

Insulation - At the end of the day, keeping your plants warm enough or cool enough depending on the weather outside, is arguably the most important function of any greenhouse. The outer covering, or “panels”, of your greenhouse’s job are to trap heat and retain it, allowing you to heat your greenhouse from the inside during the winter months. This is why choosing the right material for the panels of your greenhouse in accordance to your local climate is paramount to the success of your greenhouse. Heating and cooling systems are another essential factor in keeping your greenhouse the right temperature for the right time of the year. HERE are some of our heating and cooling systems available now. 

Watering System - One of the most important components of your greenhouse should be water system accessibility. As every type of plant has different watering needs, it is important to create a watering system that can meet every plant’s needs within the greenhouse. Whether this be hand watering each plant individually the correct amount, or setting up an automatic system that waters plants according to their needs, your plants’ daily watering needs should be one of the most important factors to consider for a greenhouse. For internal watering systems, our Riverstone watering system is an excellent choice for automating your plants’ watering needs. 

Power Source - Another important element of a functional year round greenhouse is accessibility to a power supply. To keep your heating/cooling systems up and running, you’ll need to locate your greenhouse within reach of a power source. If you’re using an internal watering system, we would recommend having an electrician set up your electrical system, as having power sources close to water can be a fire hazard.