Lean-To Greenhouse: Helpful Hints


Before we get too carried away, let’s take a step back and truly understand what a lean to greenhouse is all about. I want you to close your eyes and picture this – there’s a cozy little room right up against your house. Its large, clear windows bathe the space in brilliant sunlight. Inside, you see a riot of colors from various flowering plants, and a lush carpet of green from vegetable patches. Now, imagine being able to enjoy this tranquil space even when it’s snowing or raining heavily outside. Sounds like something out of a fairytale, doesn’t it? But this can be your reality with a lean to greenhouse.

In essence, a lean to greenhouse is a simple concept. Unlike a freestanding greenhouse that is an entirely separate structure, a lean to greenhouse shares a wall with an existing structure – this could be your house, a shed, a garage, a barn – you get the picture. This shared wall not only provides the greenhouse with structural support, but it also aids in maintaining the temperature within the greenhouse. Pretty neat, right?

Why choose a Lean to Greenhouse?

You might now be thinking, “Okay, it sounds cool, but why should I specifically opt for a lean to greenhouse?” Good question! Well, think about the convenience it offers for one. Because it’s right next to your house (or another building), you can walk into your greenhouse anytime you like, regardless of the weather outside. No need to brave the elements just to check on your beloved plants!

Another major plus point is that a lean to greenhouse helps you utilize your existing infrastructure. Instead of constructing a whole new separate structure for your plants, you can simply lean on what you already have. This approach saves you considerable money, not to mention valuable garden space.

Getting Started with Your Lean to Greenhouse

I can see that glint in your eye – you’re ready to get started on your lean to greenhouse journey, aren’t you? Brilliant! Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of setting up your own greenhouse.

Choosing the Location

The very first step in this journey is picking the right location for your greenhouse. And by right, I mean a spot that’s blessed with a good amount of sunlight, especially during the winter months. Remember, plants need sunlight for photosynthesis – no sunlight equals no growth, and we definitely don’t want that.

Usually, a south-facing wall is your best choice. The sun is in the southern part of the sky for most of the day, which means your greenhouse gets maximum exposure. However, it’s important to make sure there are no tall trees or buildings nearby that could cast a shadow over your greenhouse.

Materials and Design

Now, with the location sorted, let’s discuss what you’re going to build your greenhouse with. Two materials are generally preferred for greenhouses – glass and polycarbonate.

Glass has been a favorite for greenhouses for years. It offers excellent light transmission, which your plants will absolutely love. However, it’s also pretty fragile and could break under stress (like during a storm).

Polycarbonate, on the other hand, is the new kid on the block. It’s a type of toughened plastic that’s incredibly light and easy to handle. While it might not let in as much light as glass, it compensates with excellent insulation properties. Plus, it’s a lot more durable than glass.

Once you’ve chosen your material, it’s time to decide on the design. This choice would be influenced by your specific needs and the space you have available. Maybe a long, narrow greenhouse works best for your garden layout. Or perhaps a wider one offers you the room you need. The beauty of a lean to greenhouse is that it can be adapted to fit your circumstances.

The Advantages of Lean to Greenhouse

If you’re wondering whether setting up a lean to greenhouse is worth the effort, let me tell you, the advantages are manifold.

Extended Growing Season

Here’s a fact that will make all gardening enthusiasts sit up and take notice – with a lean to greenhouse, you can say goodbye to off-seasons! Always dreamed of plucking fresh tomatoes for your salads in the dead of winter? Or perhaps you fancy the idea of having blooming roses in your house in February, right in time for Valentine’s Day? All this is possible with a lean to greenhouse. It’s like having a slice of sunny summer, all year round!

Cost and Space Efficiency

From a practical point of view, lean to greenhouses are a fantastic option. As the greenhouse uses your existing wall, there’s no need to invest in a separate foundation. Additionally, this type of greenhouse can help you save on heating costs during winter. Your home’s wall naturally absorbs and radiates heat, which keeps your greenhouse warm even when it’s freezing outside.

Maintaining Your Lean to Greenhouse

Setting up your lean to greenhouse is only half the job. To ensure it remains a thriving space for your plants, you also need to maintain it properly.

Temperature Management

Keeping a constant, suitable temperature is vital for the health of your plants. In summer, when the temperatures soar, your greenhouse might turn into a sauna if you’re not careful. You can avoid this by using shade cloths or installing vents or fans to cool things down.

Conversely, in winter, a heater may be necessary to keep your plants from freezing. However, you might not need to install an electric heater at all if you take advantage of the residual heat from your house. After all, why spend extra when you have a natural heater right next door?

Pest and Disease Control

In the cozy, humid environment of a greenhouse, pests and diseases can thrive if you’re not cautious. But don’t worry, there are ways to stop these troublemakers from wreaking havoc in your lovely greenhouse.

For starters, make sure your greenhouse has adequate ventilation. Poor airflow can lead to excess humidity, and that’s a party invitation for pests. To prevent this, open the vents or doors on hot days to let fresh air in.

Also, always keep a close eye on your plants. Watch for any signs of disease or pest infestation – yellowing leaves, black spots, chewed foliage, etc. If you spot anything suspicious, nip the problem in the bud. This might mean removing affected plants, using organic pest control measures, or adjusting the conditions in your greenhouse.

Further Enhancing Your Lean to Greenhouse Experience

Once you have your basic greenhouse setup, there are so many ways you can enhance your greenhouse experience further.

Making It More Energy Efficient

How about saving some money on energy costs? Insulating your greenhouse, using a thermal curtain, or even using a water-filled heat sink can help conserve energy. These methods trap heat during the day and slowly release it at night, helping maintain a stable temperature.

Creating an Ideal Environment for Your Plants

You could also experiment with creating microclimates within your greenhouse. Different plants have different needs – some love the heat, some prefer cooler conditions. With careful positioning and use of shade cloths or screens, you can create different zones within your greenhouse that cater to various plant needs.


So, are you ready to elevate your gardening to a whole new level? A lean to greenhouse offers a versatile, cost-effective solution that opens up a world of possibilities for the passionate gardener. It brings the wonders of year-round gardening right to your doorstep, without consuming a lot of space or requiring a big investment. So why wait? Start planning your lean to greenhouse today and see your green dreams flourish!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I build a lean to greenhouse on any wall of my house? While it’s technically possible to build a lean to greenhouse on any wall, a south-facing wall that gets lots of sunlight is usually the best choice.

2. Is a lean to greenhouse expensive to maintain? Not necessarily. A lean to greenhouse tends to be more energy-efficient than standalone greenhouses because it benefits from the heat of your house, which can lower heating costs.

3. What plants grow best in a lean to greenhouse? You can grow a wide variety of plants in a lean to greenhouse, from vegetables to flowers to herbs. The best part is that you can grow these plants all year round, irrespective of the outside weather.

4. What’s the best material for my lean to greenhouse? If you’re looking for maximum light transmission, go for glass. If durability and insulation are more important to you, polycarbonate would be a better choice.

5. How do I keep pests out of my lean to greenhouse? Good ventilation, regular inspection of your plants, and early intervention at the first signs of pest infestation can help keep your greenhouse pest-free.

Lean-To Greenhouse
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John Shaw

In this blog, we won't just stop at the basics of greenhouse gardening. Whether you're planning to set up your first tabletop greenhouse or looking to optimize a sprawling garden, my posts will cater to a wide range of interests and skill levels. I'll share practical tips and innovative solutions to common gardening challenges. Thank you for being a part of this journey. Through our shared passion for horticulture, we can grow, not only plants, but also a vibrant community of gardeners. I'm excited to see where our greenhouse adventures take us. Happy gardening!

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