Homestead Update: A Greenhouse

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One project that has been underway since March on our property is the building of our very own greenhouse – shed. This combination building was really an exciting project for me, as I have dreamed of having a greenhouse for years. With our growing homestead, we needed a space to organize the gardening tools, yard implements, our chicken bedding, feed and tools, as well as our new assortment of beekeeping equipment. 

My husband found a guy online who specialized in building small outbuildings, and featured some really beautiful design options. I got really excited when my husband told me that the builder also uses reclaimed wood and re-purposed windows and materials as often as possible. We were involved in all aspects of the design  – how big, what style windows, roofing, siding, and so on. It was really exciting to be able to choose exactly how we wanted the greenhouse to look, and what materials we wanted to use.

It took only 6 days to build, although those days were spread out over the past two months due to weather, some serious yard flooding issues we experienced, and the availability of our materials. We chose to reuse old windows and an old door, ordered live-edge, raw siding, and a beautiful dark green metal roofing. The builder dropped off the windows and door to us early, so we were able to scrape and clean them up a little, and painted them to match the roofing.

My husband prepared the site – leveling, measuring out the corner stones and bringing in fill and rock. Days 1 and 2 were primarily framing and getting the basics set. After that, the rest of the greenhouse went up pretty fast. It was really exciting to watch, I am always amazed by the skills and talent people have! This greenhouse came out much prettier than anything either my husband or I could have imagined, never mind built ourselves!

Once the siding arrived from the lumber mill, the greenhouse really started to look like one of those tiny houses. I keep joking I am going to move in, and just visit “the big house”.

The iterior has a split floor – half of it is plywood we painted with a heavy outdoor paint that will stand up to constant traffic,  as well as our various equipment. This area will be our designated storage for all of our tools and equipment. A small loft is going to be added in the back corner for bins of seasonal items that we don’t need constant access to. We’ll put up some shelves, and my husband is going to design a rack to hang all of the shovels and rakes on.

The front half is the greenhouse, with the beautiful windows. Both pairs of side windows open out, as do the top two center windows. My husband designed a potting bench inside for me using old shutters and some really cool metal brackets he designed himself and sprayed with vinegar to rust and “age” them.

We are going to add some shelving and hooks here and there for me to use for my smaller gardening tools and seed starting items. I requested a sink so I can water and clean up, and we designed a sustainable option using a large, old metal funnel for the “basin”. The greenhouse half of the floor is all loose stone, so the water can drain out without damaging the floor, and my husband and the builder put up corrugated steel panels as a splash guard to protect the siding.  The idea of setting up a gutter system and having that drain into a rain barrel inside for my water source was an idea, but we decided to just use a refillable barrel that I can take down as needed. We have so many rain barrels set up on the house already, including the massive 275-gallon container under our deck, so we have plenty of saved rainwater to use!

The final part of our greenhouse building adventure is actually managing what is around the greenhouse. We are going to bring in more stone to fill the outside area, and my husband leveled out a bit more of the surrounding ground. Our daughter’s tree (we planted it when she was born) is off to the side in front of the greenhouse, so we decided to extend the stonewall as a sort of retaining wall for the hill in front. We are going to plant a tree for the baby we are expecting this summer (August 2017!), once s/he is born, and this will finish out the wall. In preparation, my husband dug into the hill side a bit more, providing more space.

There is a nice open space in front and to the left of the greenhouse now, which I think will be delightful for a pair of chairs and the old cast iron potbelly stove we use as a chiminea for quick evening fires. I’ve been researching some various plants to landscape the hill top and walkway with, in addition to the lavender I plan to put in.

All in all I am very pleased with how this project came together. So many items were repurposed and reused, and the end result is just adorable. I can’t wait to get all of our tools organized, and get my plants and greens set up in the new greenhouse, an amazing replacement for the temporary greenhouse I pop up in my sunroom every year!

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