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The Green Life: Easy DIY Greenhouse

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October 01, 2013

Easy DIY Greenhouse

An industry size hoop houseWith winter just around the corner, now is the perfect time to build a greenhouse to extend your growing season. While most greenhouses are expensive, this 4-foot-by-9-foot do-it-yourself version can be made relatively cheaply in just a few hours. It's called a hoop house, and it will change the way you garden.

The concept for this simple hoop house comes from Luke Richman-Zonka, a student at Fairhaven College in Bellingham, Washington, who is studying human ecosystem stewardship. This is his beginner hoop house, and he encourages users to get creative and build frames, doors, vents, and larger versions after they've learned the basics.

The Simple and Sweet Hoop House

Richman-Zonka recommends placing the hoop house on a plot with good drainage and suggests having it face south to maximize the heat it can get from the sun.


  • 9 stakes (these can be anything from short pieces of rebar to bamboo)
  • 5 pieces of 10-foot-long, 1-inch thick PVC pipe (use thicker pipe if you're building a larger hoop house)
  • Roll of bailing twine
  • Large roll of greenhouse plastic (measuring at least 16 feet wide and 30 feet long)
  • Bag clamps or wire


1) Drive 8 of the stakes into the ground: Use 4 for each side of the hoop house, spacing them 3 feet apart, with each row about 4 feet apart.

2) Bend 4 of the PVC pipes and fit each end onto a stake across the row. Each should form a nice hoop shape.

3) Securely tie the bailing twine to the end hoop. Then loop the twine around the apex of the other hoops to form a spine. Make this as tight and secure as possible — as if you were setting up the frame for a tent.

4) To provide support for the frame, draw out some extra twine and, using the remaining stake, drive it into the ground from the last loop. The hoops should now stand on their own very securely.

5) Drape the plastic over the frame and cut the plastic to length so that it touches the ground with about 4 extra feet on each side. Then secure the plastic to the hoops with the clamps or wire. Again, try to make it taut like a tent, but be careful not to rip the plastic. 

6) If the hoop house is facing south, then make the entrance on the eastern or western side by rolling the final piece of PVC pipe around the extra plastic. This can then be rolled up the side of the hoop house to form an opening to access the inside.

7) Secure the other sides with clamps or wires—or for a less permanent and more flexible solution, simply weigh the plastic down on the ends to keep the plastic in place.

With proper care, hearty vegetables like kale can be grown all through the winter. So get building and get growing!

For Reference:

Here is a similar construction made by "The Yard Farmer" from http://www.ecoyardfarming.com.


--Image by iStockphoto/Sage78

James Rogers is an editorial intern at Sierra. He graduated from Western Washington University's Huxley College of the Environment, where he studied a combination of environmental studies and journalism. While at Western, he was the editor in chief of The Planet magazine, and he has written for Conservation Northwest QuarterlyPublic Eye Northwestand The Western Front.


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