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How to choose the best greenhouse

Published: Friday, 17 June, 2022 at 3:42 pm

Thinking of buying a greenhouse? There's lots to consider – we explain the options.

A greenhouse is a must for a keen gardener – it’s ideal for sowing seeds, taking cuttings, growing tender plants and crops and overwintering tender plants.

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There’s a wide range of options when it comes to choosing a greenhouse, and prices can vary from a few hundred to many thousands of pounds. The greenhouse you eventually choose will come down to two main factors – the area you have available and your budget.

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Before you do anything else, decide on the site, as this will determine the size of the greenhouse you can install. You’ll also need to decide whether you are able to lay the foundations and build the greenhouse yourself, or whether you to get it installed. Read more about siting a greenhouse, or watch Monty explain below.

In the buyers’ guide below, we explain how to choose a greenhouse, and what you should consider. We’ve also pulled together a selection of some of the best greenhouses which incorporate the different aspects highlighted in the guide.

Once you’ve chosen your greenhouse, you’ll need some kit. Read more about the essential kit for your greenhouse and discover our guide to the best greenhouse accessories. For help with cleaning your greenhouse, take a look at our guide to the best pressure washers and the best garden hoses. If you’re looking for outdoor storage rather than growing space, we’ve found the best garden sheds including a clear guide on what to consider before you buy.


How to choose a greenhouse

Size of your greenhouse

Using a soil sieve in a greenhouse

Greenhouses come in a range of widths and lengths, in 2ft (60cm) increments. It’s best to go for one that’s at least 6ft (1.8m) wide so you have enough room to move around; 8ft (2.4m) wide will enable you to put staging (shelves) on both sides. The eaves should be at least 5ft (1.5m) tall to let in plenty of light. Most gardeners wish they had a bigger greenhouse, so choose the biggest you can afford and have room for.


Shape of your greenhouse

Traditional greenhouse with a cold frame attached

There are three main greenhouse shapes – traditional, lean-to and round. Newer shapes such as domes are also available. Lean-tos takes advantage of an existing wall, for example a south-facing house or garage wall. The bricks hold the heat of the sun, especially at night, which is ideal for growing. A round greenhouse is useful if you have an awkward space.

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Timber or metal greenhouse?

Coated aluminium greenhouse

Aluminium is cheap, low maintenance and can be powder-coated in a range of colours. Timber, usually cedar, is attractive but more expensive, and needs more upkeep. That said, it’s better at maintaining a constant temperature. Wooden models can be glazed to the ground but can also be half-walled with timber or bricks. This holds heat well but means you can’t grow plants at ground level.


Which greenhouse glazing to go for?

Cleaning greenhouse vents

Horticultural glass lets in the most light, is long lasting and is easily replaced if broken. Toughened glass is more expensive but a better option in high-traffic areas or if you have kids. It still breaks, but shatters more safely. Polycarbonate is cheaper, doesn’t break and has better insulation properties, but allows less light through and can pop out of its frame in high winds.


Greenhouse ventilation

Opening a greenhouse window

Ventilation is essential in summer. Ideally, a 6ft x 8ft greenhouse would have two hinged roof vents, as well as a side vent. It’s worth paying for an automatic vent opener, which you can fit yourself.


Greenhouse floor

A firm, level floor, such as paving slabs or gravel on top of hard core and sand, allow for easy access and drainage and can be wetted (damped down) with a hose or watering can in summer to keep the air humid. A soil border is a good way to grow greenhouse crops.


Alternatives to a greenhouse

As well as the three main types of greenhouse, there are other styles that can be just as useful.

Polytunnel

Reviews editor, Kay Maguire, growing in a polytunnel

Providing an easy way to grow summer crops such as tomatoes, and winter crops such as lettuce, polytunnels are a cheap alternative to glass greenhouses. However, they don’t hold heat well in winter, so won’t give enough protection for more tender plants.


Combi shed

Combining the light and heat of a timber-frame greenhouse with the storage of a shed, they have one greenhouse section with windows for potting and growing plants, typically with staging, and one shed section, for storing tools, compost, and equipment. Combi sheds are a great-value option that will save you paying twice for a greenhouse and a shed.


Mini greenhouse

Ideal for a small garden, they can be used to raise seedlings or grow crops such as aubergines, peppers and tomatoes. If you’re particularly tight on space, cold frames are another excellent alternative.


29 of the best greenhouses

Small traditional greenhouses

1

Outsunny 6x4Ft Walk-in Polycarbonate Greenhouse Plant Grow Galvanized Aluminium Robert Dyas

Outsunny 6x4Ft Walk-in Polycarbonate Greenhouse Plant Grow Galvanized Aluminium Robert Dyas - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Outsunny 6x4Ft Walk-in Polycarbonate Greenhouse Plant Grow Galvanized Aluminium Robert Dyas

This aluminium apex greenhouse is the archetype of a small, traditional greenhouse. It has a sliding door, a single window for ventilation, and UV-resistant, translucent polycarbonate panes.

Price: £299.99

Buy the Outsunny 6x4Ft Walk-in Polycarbonate Greenhouse Plant Grow Galvanized Aluminium from Robert Dyas


2

The Halls Popular Greenhouse 6x4

The Halls Popular Greenhouse 6x4 - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
The Halls Popular Greenhouse 6x4

The Halls Popular Greenhouse has a sliding door and a single roof vent, as well as integral gutters. You can choose between a simple, aluminium or powder-coated green frame, and pick either horticultural glass, toughened glass, or polycarbonate panes. It can also be fitted with a galvanised steel base to save you the trouble of preparing the ground.

Price: £429.99

Buy the Halls Popular Greenhouse 6x4 from Garden Street


3

Lacewing 6x6Ft Crystal Clear Polycarbonate Greenhouse in Silver with Base

Lacewing 6x6Ft Crystal Clear Polycarbonate Greenhouse - BBC Gardeners' World
Lacewing 6x6Ft Crystal Clear Polycarbonate Greenhouse

Polycarbonate panes are often translucent, but this 6x6ft greenhouse has shatterproof, transparent panes that block out 90% of UV rays while ensuring your plants have enough light to grow. You can choose which direction you want the door to slide, which suits a variety of different spaces, and it has two window vents for extra ventilation. It’s good value too, as the galvanised steel base is included as standard.

Price: £544.99

Buy the Lacewing 6x6Ft Crystal Clear Polycarbonate Greenhouse in Silver with Base from Primrose


Medium traditional greenhouses

4

Mercia 8x6ft Traditional Greenhouse

Mercia 8x6ft Traditional Greenhouse - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Mercia 8x6ft Traditional Greenhouse

If you’re after a wooden greenhouse, check out this 8x6ft model. Made of weatherproof, shiplap FSC timber, it will nurture your plants and keep them warm and dry. Its panes are UV- and shatter-resistant styrene, so both plants and users are completely safe. Installation is also included.

Price: £1300

Buy the Mercia 8x6ft Traditional Greenhouse from Homebase


5

4000 Lincoln 9x6ft Wooden Clear Wall Greenhouse

4000 Lincoln 9x6ft Wooden Clear Wall Greenhouse - BBC Gardeners' World
4000 Lincoln 9x6ft Wooden Clear Wall Greenhouse

We love the ventilation on offer with this 9x6ft greenhouse. You can open up the windows all along one side of the roof to let lots of air in, and the double doors open out too. This greenhouse can be customised too - for a little extra money, you can have the wood pressure treated, buy a greenhouse base, or include shelving and guttering.

Price: £789

Buy the 4000 Lincoln 9x6ft Wooden Clear Wall Greenhouse from BillyOh


6

Forest Vale Victorian 10x8ft Wooden Greenhouse

10x8 Vale Victorian Greenhouse by Forest Garden - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
10x8 Vale Victorian Greenhouse by Forest Garden

If you’re pushed for time or have mobility problems, the cost of this 10x8ft greenhouse includes installation. With 4mm toughened glass throughout, the double doors are lockable and the pressure-treated, tongue and groove wood has a good 15-year anti-rot guarantee.

Price: £4699.99

Buy the Forest Vale Victorian 10x8ft Wooden Greenhouse from Primrose, and Buy Sheds Direct


7

Rhino Classic 6x8 Greenhouse

Rhino Classic 6x8 Greenhouse - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Rhino Classic 6x8 Greenhouse

The Rhino Classic has two louvre vents and two roof vents, which open automatically thanks to solar powered vent openers. The strong aluminium frame can hold half a tonne, and the roof is fitted with hanging basket rails for extra growing capacity. The frame also has integral gutters. A low threshold aluminium base is included, so this greenhouse is easily adapted for wheelchair users. On top of all of that, it has an excellent 25-year guarantee.

Price: £1,649

Rhino Classic 6x8 Greenhouse from Greenhouses Direct


Large traditional greenhouses

8

Elite Titan Greenhouse

Elite Titan Greenhouse - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Elite Titan Greenhouse

Available in a choice of five colours, the Elite Titan greenhouse offers a vast growing space. The smallest size is 10’5”, but if you require more space, this model comes in a range of lengths up to 20ft long. With multiple roof openings, a louvre vent, and integral gutting, this greenhouse has everything you need for growing a wide variety of plants.

Price: £3,287

Buy the Elite Titan Greenhouse from Two Wests & Elliott


9

Palram Canopia 6x14ft Hybrid Greenhouse

Greenhouse prices increase according to size but at 14ft this Palram greenhouse is a good budget option. Made of aluminium, it combines clear polycarbonate on the walls with translucent polycarbonate on the roof, for the best of both types of pane and 100% UV resistance. It also includes integral gutters and a galvanised steel base.

Price: £699.99

Buy the Palram Canopia Hybrid Greenhouse from Robert Dyas


10

Palram Canopia 10x12ft Victory Orangery Greenhouse

Palram Canopia 10x12ft Victory Orangery Greenhouse - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Palram Canopia 10x12ft Victory Orangery Greenhouse

We love the interesting multi-apex design of this greenhouse, modelled on Victorian orangeries. Made from aluminium and polycarbonate, this model’s textured doors offer a stylish design. The doors are also lockable and have handy magnets to keep them open for ventilation on hot summer days.

Price: £1299.99

Buy the Palram Canopia Victory Orangery Greenhouse 10' x 12' from Robert Dyas


Lean-to greenhouses

11

Mercia 8x4ft Lean To Greenhouse

Mercia 8x4ft Lean To Greenhouse - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Mercia 8x4ft Lean To Greenhouse

A simple lean-to that’s great for beginners, the Mercia 8x4ft Lean To is made from FSC-grade shiplap timber. Styrene glazing will keep plants warm and well-lit.

Price: £435

Buy the Mercia 8x4ft Lean To Greenhouse from Homebase


12

Vitavia Ida Silver framed Wall Garden 8x4 Garden Street

Vitavia Ida Silver framed Wall Garden 8x4 - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Vitavia Ida Silver framed Wall Garden 8x4

This anodized aluminium lean-to offers excellent ventilation thanks to its sliding double doors. Offering either horticultural or toughened glass, it provides 3.3m3 of growing space.

Price: £458

Buy the Vitavia Ida Silver framed Wall Garden 8x4 from Garden Street


13

Eden Broadway Lean-To Greenhouse

Eden Broadway Lean-To Greenhouse - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Eden Broadway Lean-To Greenhouse

Price: £2,049

This stylish lean-to comes with several premium features, such as an integral base and gutters. There’s no threshold, so it’s ideal if you use a wheelchair or a walker. It comes in three colours, and the choice of either toughened glass or polycarbonate for the frames.

Buy the Eden Broadway Lean-To Greenhouse at Garden Street


14

Elite Kensington Wide Lean To

Elite Kensington Wide Lean To - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Elite Kensington Wide Lean To

Price: £1,499

For bigger spaces, check out the Elite Kensington 6'5" Wide Lean To. This greenhouse has a roof vent and a 5-blade louvre for ventilation, and we love the addition of an integral gutter and shelving. It’s available in five different colours to suit a variety of garden styles.

Buy the Elite Kensington Wide Lean-To from Two Wests and Elliott


Round greenhouses

15

12ft x 10ft Palram Canopia Oasis Hexagonal Greenhouse

12ft x 10ft Palram Canopia Oasis Hexagonal Greenhouse - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
12ft x 10ft Palram Canopia Oasis Hexagonal Greenhouse

A sturdy round greenhouse, the Palram Canopia Oasis is snow-tested to 75kg/m2 and can withstand winds of up to 90mph. It has double, lockable doors to protect plants and tools, and it comes with two side louvre windows and an integrated guttering system.

Price: £2,049

Buy the 12' x 10' Palram Canopia Oasis Hexagonal Greenhouse from Buy Sheds Direct


16

Tommen 8ft x 7ft Greenhouse

Tommen 8 Ft x 7 Ft Greenhouse - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Tommen 8 Ft x 7 Ft Greenhouse

For a round greenhouse on a budget, take a look at this model from Wayfair. Because it uses polycarbonate panes throughout, it’s less expensive than other versions on the market.

Price: £939.99

Buy the Tommen 8 Ft W x 7 Ft D Greenhouse from Wayfair


17

Halls Atrium Greenhouse

Halls Atrium Greenhouse - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Halls Atrium Greenhouse

This 10x12ft round greenhouse offers a large area for growing a wide variety of plants. It has clear glass walls and a translucent polycarbonate ceiling, so plants get lots of light when the sun is low in the sky and are protected when it’s directly overhead.

Price: £2,259

Buy the Halls Atrium Greenhouse from Garden Street


Polytunnels

18

Premium Poly Tunnel

Premium Poly Tunnel - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Premium Poly Tunnel

This premium polytunnel has an easy-fit frame, to save you installation time. It sits on the grass so works for both an allotment or a back garden, and the windows roll up for ventilation on hot days.

Price: £179.99

Buy the Premium Poly Tunnel from Crocus


19

Garden Grow Premium Portable 12 Shelf Greenhouse & Cover

Garden Grow Premium Portable 12 Shelf Greenhouse & Cover - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Garden Grow Premium Portable 12 Shelf Greenhouse & Cover

This apex polytunnel comes with 12 shelves, so you can easily house all your plants. It has roll-up windows for ventilation, and mesh to stop pests.

Price: £79.99

Buy the Garden Grow Premium Portable 12 Shelf Greenhouse & Cover from Dobies


20

Outsunny Tunnel Greenhouse

Outsunny teardrop Polytunnel - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Outsunny Teardrop Polytunnel

This teardrop polytunnel has an extra-wide door. Constructed from a galvanised metal frame, the PE cover is UV-resistant and waterproof. It comes with ground stakes and tethers to keep it secure, and the windows roll up too.

Price: £124.80

Buy the Outsunny Teardrop Polytunnel from Viking


21

Premium Polytunnel Galvanised Frame by New Leaf

Premium Polytunnel Galvanised Frame by New Leaf - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Premium Polytunnel Galvanised Frame by New Leaf

If you have a lot to grow, check out this 6m x 3m premium polytunnel. It offers a large growing area that won’t break the bank. The polythene sheeting is reinforced, so it’s tough and strong, and the galvanised steel frame offers a lightweight but sturdy frame. It also has mesh covered vents, so you can keep your plants well-aired while keeping hungry insects at bay. If you don’t need quite as much space, but still like these features, this polytunnel is also available as 8ft 2in x 6ft 7in and 13ft 1in x 6ft 7in.

Price: £119.99

Buy the Premium Polytunnel Galvanised Frame by New Leaf from Primrose


Combi sheds

22

Waltons 8 x 8 Shiplap Combi Greenhouse and Wooden Shed

Waltons 8 x 8 Shiplap Combi Greenhouse and Wooden Shed - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Waltons 8 x 8 Shiplap Combi Greenhouse and Wooden Shed

This hybrid design combines the growing power of a greenhouse with the convenience of a storage shed. The windows are made from shatterproof styrene and there is a galvanised steel pad bolt supplied with a lock and key for extra security. There’s also a 10-year guarantee included.

Price: £1099.99

Buy Waltons Shiplap Combi Greenhouse at Waltons


23

Mercia Wooden 10 x 6ft Greenhouse Combi Shed

Mercia Wooden 10 x 6ft Greenhouse Combi Shed - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Mercia Wooden 10 x 6ft Greenhouse Combi Shed

This combi shed puts the greenhouse growing area in front of the storage, which sits behind. The greenhouse features 14 styrene windows and offers an area of 3m2. The shed is roofed with felt, and the whole structure is made of FSC-certified shiplap timber.

Price: £1,230

Buy the Mercia Wooden 10 x 6ft Greenhouse Combi Shed from Argos


24

Adley 8' x 8' Shiplap Premium Combi Greenhouse

Adley 8' x 8' Shiplap Premium Combi Greenhouse - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Adley 8' x 8' Shiplap Premium Combi Greenhouse

Both the shed and greenhouse on this combi greenhouse have lockable doors, so this is a good choice for securing plants and tools. The long profile of this building makes it a good choice for narrower gardens. Made from tongue-and-groove timber, this combi shed is guaranteed against rot for 10 years.

Price: £1,099

Buy the Adley 8' x 8' Shiplap Premium Combi Greenhouse from Shed.co.uk


25

BillyOh Expert Pent Growhouse

BillyOh Expert Pent Growhouse - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
BillyOh Expert Pent Growhouse

If you’re really pushed for space, check out this pent combi shed. It’s not big enough to stand up in, but if you only have a few hand tools to store and just want to grow a few tomato or chilli plants it’s all you need. For a little extra, it can be painted, pressure treated, or come with a base.

Price: £395

Buy the BillyOh Expert Pent Growhouse from BillyOh and Garden Buildings Direct


Mini greenhouses

26

Forest Garden 5×2 Styrene Pent Greenhouse

Forest Garden 5x2 Styrene Pent Greenhouse - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Forest Garden 5x2 Styrene Pent Greenhouse

This natural wood, pent roof greenhouse is designed to fit snugly alongside a wall in your garden. Double doors at the front open to allow easy access to a wall of adjustable shelving which can house a range of plants of various sizes, depending on the configuration. The timber has been pressure treated for added strength and there is a 15-year guarantee against rot included. There are also two vents for use in warmer weather.

Price: £739.99

Buy Forest Garden Styrene Pent Greenhouse at Buy Sheds Direct


27

Natural Wooden Mini Greenhouse

Natural Wooden Mini Greenhouse - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Natural Wooden Mini Greenhouse

This low-cost, FSC-fir frame greenhouse has three shelves for your plants. The translucent panes will keep your plants warm and bright while protecting them from strong sunlight, and the height-adjustable top lids make it easy to ventilate and tend to your plants.

Price: £69.99

Buy the Natural Wooden Mini Greenhouse from Aldi and Dunelm


28

Juliana Balcony Greenhouse

Juliana Balcony Greenhouse - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Juliana Balcony Greenhouse

If you have a balcony, check out this mini greenhouse. It’s transparent all the way round, so your plants can get sunlight throughout the day, letting you grow chillies and other sun-loving plants.

Price: £457.50

Buy the Juliana Balcony Greenhouse from Garden Street


29

Two Wests & Elliott Pop Up Mini Greenhouse

Two Wests & Elliott Pop Up Mini Greenhouse - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Two Wests & Elliott Pop Up Mini Greenhouse

For instant warmth and protection from the elements, this pop-up mini greenhouse is a great investment, allowing you to instantly protect flower beds and veg patches from pests as well as the elements. You can roll up the sides too, to make sure your plants are well-ventilated.

Price: £44.65

Buy the Two Wests Pop Up Mini Greenhouse from Two Wests & Elliott


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This product guide was last updated in June 2022. We apologise if anything has changed in price or availability.

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