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19 Amazing [and Free!] DIY Greenhouse Plans and Ideas

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Want to beautify your backyard with a breathtaking greenhouse?

Then read this article!

You’ve just stumbled upon the holy grail of DIY greenhouse plans, resources, and tutorials!

We’ve scoured the internet and our private gardening archives to find the most inspirational greenhouse ideas – even if you’re not sure what your flowers, plants, herbs, and veggies need to survive.

It doesn’t matter what type of budget you have or how large of a greenhouse you want! The following greenhouse plans are the best (and most diverse) we could find anywhere!

Backyard greenhouse with adorable yellow dog.

Free DIY Greenhouse Plans

Whether you’re a budget-conscious gardener or seasoned green thumb who demands nothing but the best, we’ve got you covered.

So, which DIY greenhouse ideas are the best for you?

Let’s take a look!

1. The Best Rustic Timber Greenhouse Plan

When I saw how adorable this rustic DIY greenhouse looked, I knew it had to go on this list of DIY greenhouse ideas – and in a prominent spot! 

Whether you want to start your veggie garden early in the colder months – or if you want to maximize your small garden space during the raging heat of summer, I love the rustic simplicity of this greenhouse!

Not only does this greenhouse look wondrous, but it’s also one of the niftiest side projects if you’re new to the world of greenhouses and want a fun family activity.

You also get printable instructions with plenty of vibrant photos to help you follow along. Sound good? Check out the greenhouse plans here from Boots & Hooves.

Bonus points for convenience!

2. The Perfect Mini 2-Liter Greenhouse

mini pet bottle greenhouse
Image via Buzzfeed

There’s a big reason that I put this 2-liter greenhouse as number two on this list.


I love the clever design – and it’s also the cheapest (and lightest) greenhouse design you can deploy.

This mini 2-liter greenhouse should win a Nobel Peace Prize for ingenuity, economy, and convenience. 

The coolest part is that the 2-liter greenhouses can also protect your baby seedlings from cold weather shock! 

I use a similar design to protect my baby vegetable transplants.

That way, I don’t have to worry about a last-minute overnight chill! 

In New England, every week counts when planning your harvest.

3. A Genius Terrarium Mini-Garden Greenhouse – by NASA!

terrarium mini greenhouse nasa
Terrarium by NASA

If you and your kids want an unforgettable home DIY greenhouse project that you can launch anywhere on the planet – then wait until you see this adorable terrarium mini-garden activity from NASA! 

Not only is this Terrarium one of the most adorable on this entire list – but you also get in-depth instructions so you can make your own at home.

I love the potential for myriad colors and vibrant indoor vegetation that also makes the perfect office or bedroom centerpiece!

Check out the full PDF tutorial here for a boatload of gardening fun: Read NASA’s Mini Garden Activity Book Here!

4. Inverse DIY Terrarium Greenhouse

mini plastic bottle greenhouse
Image by DumpaDay

Here’s another terrarium greenhouse idea perfect for an enchanting home project. 

These DIY terrarium domes also double as an ideal garden hack for those in cold climates!

Another bonus of this DIY terrarium is that you probably already have all of the parts required to start today.

No fancy equipment, lumber, nail guns, or compressors necessary! 

These mini terrariums are also light, agile, and oodles of entertainment if you love DIY gardening projects.

You can cover your baby seedlings quickly and without breaking out the heavy gardening equipment – bonus points if you’re in a hurry for a fun project.

5. Portable Greenhouse In Quilt Bag

How to Easily Repurpose a Plastic Quilt Bag into Mini-Greenhouse: Seed Starts & Transplants

Want versatile simplicity and an excellent way to increase the solar rays for your plants?

Then check out this portable greenhouse!

One of the most frustrating things is when the sun neglects part of your yard.

Doubly so if you’re growing veggies that need at least six hours of sunlight per day – portability is the true genius of this portable greenhouse!

Now you can effortlessly shift and carry the portable greenhouse around your backyard, side yard, patio, or front yard to maximize sun exposure throughout the day – no heavy lifting required!

Check out the video above!

6. The Fold-Down Greenhouse

fold down greenhouse home design
Image by Fab Art DIY

In the world of gardening – presentation counts. 

But functionality reigns supreme!

Here’s another bright greenhouse option if you risk overnight frost – one of the banes of my gardening existence as a northern gardener.

I’ve used a similar design over my raised garden bed using a tacked 2-by-4 and a shower curtain.

The greenhouse didn’t look the best – but it kept my vegetables warm and protected from the frost for a few more days – which is just what I needed for a bountiful harvest.

Read More – Cool Backyard Stuff for Adventure and Relaxation! 21+ Ideas!

7. Old-School PVC Pipe Greenhouse

pvc pipe greenhouse plans
Image by PVC Plans

Here’s one of the best ways to build a sizeable greenhouse without spending all of those greenbacks!

I don’t think anything beats the look and feel of a solid oak-framed greenhouse.

But, as you know, the cost of lumber and oak are both skyrocketing beyond our wildest imaginations.

It’s tough to justify building a $5,000 greenhouse for $500 worth of veggies – if you’re lucky.

That’s why a PVC frame is one of the cleverest ways to build a sturdy greenhouse for your flowers and veggies – especially if you want to establish a relatively large greenhouse on a budget.

Want more cold-frame greenhouses? Here’s a list of 26 cold-frame greenhouses from Epic Gardening.

8. Rustic Salvaged Window Greenhouse

I get sad every time I see all of the junk and plastic filling the landfills and the oceans – which is why I had to include these epic window frame greenhouses in this list! The blue one above can be found at Fine Home Building.

Have you ever installed new windows in your home? 

One of the biggest problems is that nobody wants to take your spare windows off your hands – and trying to sell them for a good deal is like pulling teeth from a fiery-beaked dragon!

If you can relate, and if you want a borderline-genius method to reuse your salvaged windows, then consider lending them to your garden so your veggies can soak up the sun rays in vintage style.

9. Traditional DIY Greenhouse. Made From Recycled Bottles?!

When I saw the genius innovation from a University of Michigan graduate student – I knew I had to share this DIY greenhouse idea with you!

The idea is to gather all of the 2-liter bottles in your home, neighborhood, place of business, or school – and use them to help build your greenhouse.

What better use do you have than to help grow delicious and savory veggies right in your backyard? 

No other purpose is more worthy!

After researching, I found that crafting entire greenhouses made from 2-liter bottles is more popular than I thought – kudos to all of the gardening DIYers of the world putting their plastic waste to good use!

10. A Cute, Yet Practical Greenhouse Seed Box

Want a low-riding greenhouse idea that’s relatively straightforward to build?

Here’s a lovely seedbed greenhouse that’s easy to overlook, but there are a few reasons I love the design.

First, I love the simplicity. 

Here’s a lowkey greenhouse idea that’s easy to build without spending too much money or time.

If you want an outdoor seedbed or a way to start your veggies outside a few weeks before the last day of frost, then this is one of my favorite greenhouse options.

Read more about this adorable recycled greenhouse on Cameron’s page – including more photos and details.

11. The Epic Oregon Trail Greenhouse!

This high tunnel greenhouse with a looped cover reminded me of one of the wagons you might see when traveling through the Oregon Trail. 

The first thing I noticed about this greenhouse is that it can protect your veggies, flowers, and herbs from unwanted garden pests!

The other day, I noticed that someone (I mean something) chewed the top from many flowers in my flower garden!

I wasn’t sure who the culprit was – so I kept my eyes peeled.

A few days later, I was shocked to find a turkey perched in my garden bed – pecking and scratching, and looking for lunch!

I expected a bunny, rabbit, or squirrel as the most likely flower thief, but no.

My instincts were dead wrong!

That’s why this greenhouse idea gets bonus points – it’s perfect if you don’t have access to the most expensive materials, yet you still want to protect your crops from mid-afternoon pests seeking to munch on your garden.

Want to learn more? Apartment Therapy has their DIY greenhouse guide with more details on their website. Perfect for protecting your plants!

12. Mini Greenhouse Starter Kit

Check out this mini greenhouse plan that’s full of delight for your garden!

Maybe you want to sprout your tomatoes early, give your zucchini plant time to stretch in the sun, or you need a few more weeks to let your baby seedlings develop before you transplant them into your moist garden soil?

If so, then here’s one of my favorite greenhouse ideas that works like a charm.

The best part is that you don’t need any tools or hardware whatsoever!

Find one of your best plastic containers! 

Or, buy one on Amazon, and add a lid if exposed to overly cold temperatures overnight. 

Easy, convenient, low-cost, and highly flexible.

Read More – How to Make a Backyard Burn Barrel! Easy DIY Guide!

13. Dollar Tree Greenhouse Starters

It seems like these days, in the US at least, dollar stores are taking over!

Tons of local mom and pops and larger companies are shutting down – but dollar stores are all the rage.

That’s why I wanted to showcase this excellent starter greenhouse idea from dollar tree! Perfect if you only have a few dollars to sprout your seeds.

Not only is this greenhouse perfectly portable, but I’ve had oodles of seeds sprouts using similar setups before without stress – and probably much quicker than you think.

More DIY Greenhouse Ideas and Plans

Are you looking for more DIY greenhouse guides?

I’ve scoured the top Universities on the planet to find the best DIY resources and plans – for free!

Take a look below.

You won’t believe what I’ve found!

14. The Official USBC Greenhouse Manual!

hoop greenhouse plans
76 pages of greenhouse building information from the US Botanical Garden!


Here’s the perfect all-in-one guide for greenhouse building in your backyard.

Check out this epic (and fully illustrated) report by the United States Botanic Garden. This report is one of the best resources I’ve found after scrounging the internet for days. 

By the way, it’s 100% free! 

Perfect if you want to study everything you need to know about greenhouses – including which one works best for your situation and how to build a beautiful DIY greenhouse from scratch.

15. Community Garden Guide – Hoop Houses

community garden diy hoop house
Hoop house plans from NRCS

Here’s another handy guide from the USDA that teaches how to build a homemade hoop greenhouse from scratch.

You also get everything you need if you’re not the most technically inclined gardener – so you can launch a beautiful hoop house by Tuesday of next week – without accidentally banging your thumb with a hammer.

You also get a straightforward blueprint so you can hopefully erect a stunning greenhouse without second-guessing. 

Read More – Romaine Lettuce Harvesting Guide!

16. Building a Simple Greenhouse from Scratch!

simple inexpensive diy greenhouse
Simple, inexpensive DIY greenhouse from the University of Florida

This greenhouse tutorial is one of my favorite guides on building a simple (yet sturdy) greenhouse for your backyard!

The folks over at the University of Florida have greenhouse building down to an art – and a science.

If you want to build a backyard greenhouse without breaking the bank or scratching your head over complicated blueprints, then I invite you to read this report!

Also 100% free for you to launch and deploy.

You also get step instructions with tons of accompanying photographs – perfect if you want to build a DIY greenhouse today.

17. Hobby Greenhouses

hobby greenhouses diy
DIY hobby greenhouse plans from the University of Georgia

Here’s another beautiful DIY greenhouse resource and tutorial from the University of Georgia.

You’ll discover the different styles of greenhouses, greenhouse design, greenhouse frames, greenhouse heating, greenhouse beds, and more!

You also get a comprehensive list of greenhouse DIY plans so you can launch your preferred greenhouse idea without a snag.

It’s also 100% free – so it’s a highly recommended resource if you’re building your first hobby greenhouse!

18. How to Build a Raised Bed Cloche

raised garden cloche diy
DIY raised garden cloche from the Oregon State Extension Service

Here’s a hidden gem of a report that I found from the Oregon State Extension Service.

In the report, you’ll discover how to build a breathtaking raised bed cloche – perfect if you want to grow delicate plants in chilly New England weather!

You also get a comprehensive list of materials, instructions, plus full illustration so you can follow along and build a raised bed cloche without stress.

19. Cold Frames vs. High Tunnels vs. Green Houses!

Are you familiar with the differences between cold frames, high tunnels, and greenhouses?

If not, then you should read this epic guide!

Which option is most affordable – and which is best for your situation?

You might be surprised to find out – especially if you have no clue about cold frames vs. greenhouses.

Our Simple Nursery Hoop House

The simple hoop houses we built for our plant nursery

We used to run a plant nursery from our property. Because we lived in the sub-tropics, no greenhouses were necessary. However, the plants needed protection from the sun, which is where these great hoop houses excel.

It is very simple to turn them into greenhouses, however. Simply replace the shade cloth with greenhouse material, and voila – your very own greenhouse.

This design can be as small or large as you want it to be. It is also easily extendable if you want to start small and work your way up.

Here’s a bunch of photos that will illustrate the process:

shadehouse frame
Green-stripe poly pipe (2″ from memory) fits snugly onto short star pickets, providing the perfect basis for a greenhouse.
shadehouse frame side
White poly pipe (downpipe) holds the centre of the roof up. Roofing battens hold everything together and help you space the pipe evenly.
shadehouse batten
Roofing battens screwed onto poly pipe
shadehouse tie down
The top secured
diy easy hoop house garden 4898
Roofing battens along the base help hold the shade cloth or greenhouse material down at the bottom.
shadehouse hauling up shadecloth
Hauling the shade cloth up and over is a bit of an ordeal – but worth it!
shadehouse shadecloth fastening
Washer to prevent the shade cloth ripping
shadehouse shadecloth tie down
Securing the shade cloth to the bottom roofing battens. You could leave the shade cloth or greenhouse material longer and cover it with dirt to make it even more vermin-proof.

Which DIY Greenhouse Idea Is Your Favorite?

I have to admit that I love simplicity – especially in the garden!

So, I like the 2-liter greenhouse idea the best.

It’s low cost, easy to deploy, and gives your baby seedlings enough protection from the icy clutch of overnight frost!

But what about you?

Please reply and let me know which greenhouse ideas are your favorite!

Or, maybe you have a greenhouse idea you’d like to share?

I’m excited to hear from you!

Please have a great day!

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  1. While this is an EXCELLENT post, the first 15 greenhouses are completely useless unless you subscribe to pinterest! I do not do social media (Facebook, pinterest, Twitter, etc.) There aren’t even any links except to pinterest and you can’t download any photos just to see what you are trying to build. Totally useless. Thank you, though for the links to the free downloads…those were helpful, but I had picked out about 5 of the first 15 to look into further. I just re-did my windows, and wanted to try the window greenhouse (something I had planned from the beginning,) and thought this would be very helpful for me…but, nope.

    1. Hi there Carol, thanks for the feedback! I didn’t realize the images didn’t show up unless you’re subscribed to Pinterest, that’s no good at all! I’ll find a solution for this today and update it to include links to the website where the idea is shown. I’ll update this comment once it’s complete 😀
      Thanks again!

    2. A few of the photos can be copied/printed now for reference, and those also have links that are not just available to pinterest subscribers. There are still a couple that are not available, but oh well, I can only build ONE anyway! Thank you for fixing those: (used windows and liter bottles!)
      Oh, I also was very impressed with the photos and detail guidelines for the nursery hoop house!!!
      Thanks again!

      1. No problem Carol!!! Thanks so much for alerting me – I had no idea! I have now finished editing the entire article so I hope they now all show up :D. We built 4 of the hoop houses at our last property – they’re ultra-functional and you can truly build them in any size. They held up during cyclones too as they’re flexible. We only experienced damage once and that was during a hail storm – an entire tree went right through it… I suppose there’s no structure that would stand up to that 😀
        I didn’t mention that the black cloth on the bottom is weed mat – if you’re going to have a lot of pots in the greenhouse (mainly if they’re on the ground and not on shelves) this is invaluable. Grass, in particular, loves wreaking havoc in a greenhouse!

  2. This information is perfect for our new Community Garden. I will send this link to all members today and see which of these amazing shade/ wind proof/ frost protection houses we can build on our two available sites. Really exciting all these options, hard to choose which. I do love your huge plant nursery houses, would love one of these for wind protection here. Thanks heaps Elle, your blogs are always so practical.

    1. Thank you Suzanne, the big hoop houses are great, aren’t they! Great to hear it’s useful for your community garden 🙂 Please do show us a photo if you decide to include one!

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