DIY: Build a Backyard Greenhouse

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Start seedlings in a backyard greenhouse you build yourself.

Start seedlings in a backyard greenhouse you build yourself.

Small, backyard greenhouses like the kind shown in mail-order catalogs are a gardener’s dream. They prolong the growing season and offer protection to young plants. Unfortunately, they can also be quite pricey. Don’t waste your money — you can save hundreds of dollars and achieve the same results when you build a greenhouse yourself.

Use your backyard greenhouse to extend the season in both spring and fall. Move your started seedlings into the greenhouse in spring, and sow some crops directly in the ground in late summer for fall harvest.

Materials to Build a Greenhouse

  • Rebar
  • PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipe
  • Electrical tape
  • Sheet of heavy-duty clear plastic (with a UV inhibitor).

Instructions to Build a Greenhouse

    1. Cut six 18-inch lengths of rebar, three 10-foot sections of ¾-inch PVC pipe, and one section of ¾-inch PVC pipe slightly more than 6 feet long.
    2. Mark out a garden bed measuring 4 by 6 feet. Pound the rebar 12 inches into the ground at each corner and also at the midpoint of each long side of the bed.
    3. Insert one end of a 10-foot piece of PVC pipe over one rebar stake. Bend the PVC pipe across the bed and fit the other end over the rebar stake on the opposite side. Repeat this with the other two 10-foot pieces of PVC pipe.Greenhouse Frame
      Bend the PVC pipe across the bed and fit it into the rebar.


  1. Place the 6-foot section of PVC pipe over the three hoops, taping each joint well with electrical tape. Cover the ends of the pipe with tape, too, so they won’t poke a hole in the plastic.
  2. Cut the plastic to the size you need, leaving at least 1 foot extra all around.
  3. Cover the hoops with the plastic. Open a furrow along one side and one end of the frame and bury the edges of the plastic in the furrows. Use rocks to weigh down the edges of the plastic on the other side and end, for easy access when you want to go inside.
    Plastic-Covered Greenhouse
    Cover your PVC frame with plastic sheeting.

Note: If you live in an area with heavy snowfall, remove the plastic before winter sets in, or you’re likely to find your greenhouse flattened come spring.


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