Building a greenhouse can be a great option to reduce your food costs long-term and even make money by selling things that you grow in your greenhouse, like flowers, vegetables, herbs, and anything else you want to try.
Understanding the average cost to build a greenhouse can help you determine if it’s a feasible idea with your current budget and the factors that can increase or decrease the average cost of building a greenhouse.
Average Cost To Build A Greenhouse
The average cost to build a greenhouse is $10,000, with the average range being between $5,000 to $20,000. Factors such as size, materials, and the type of greenhouse will heavily impact the actual cost to build your greenhouse.
|Average Cost||Average Size|
|Greenhouse Cost||$10,000||400 Sqft|
|Greenhouse Cost Range||$5,000 – $20,000||400 Sqft|
|Minimum Greenhouse Cost||$1,000||200 Sqft’|
|Maximum Greenhouse Cost||$35,000||2,000 Sqft|
Another big factor is whether you want a basic backyard greenhouse or if you’re looking to build a commercial greenhouse and start a business. Backyard greenhouses can cost as little as $1,000, while a larger and more automated commercial greenhouse could cost up to $35,000+.
Cost for Different Types Of Greenhouse
The average cost of your greenhouse depends on what type you’re going to build, a basic backyard hoop is the least expensive and provides good value for non-commercial purposes, you can go very small, but 200 sqft feet for around $1,000 – $2,000 is a good price.
|Type Of Greenhouse||Average Cost (Sqft)||50 Sqft||200 Sqft||400 Sqft|
|Hoop||$5 – $10||$250 – $500||$1,000 – $2,000||$2,000 – $4,000|
|Gothic Arch||$10 – $15||$500 – $750||$2,000 – $3,000||$4,000 – $6,000|
|Rooftop||$10 – $25||$500 – $1,250||$2,000 – $5,000||$4,000 – $10,000|
|Lean-To||$10 – $25||$500 – $1,250||$2,000 – $5,000||$4,000 – $10,000|
|Dome||$10 – $25||$500 – $1,250||$2,000 – $5,000||$4,000 – $10,000|
|Pit||$20 – $25||$1,000 – $1,250||$4,000 – $5,000||$8,000 – $10,000|
|A-Frame||$25 – $35||$1,250 – $1,750||$5,000 – $7,000||$10,000 – $14,000|
|Barn||$25 – $35||$1,250 – $1,750||$5,000 – $7,000||$10,000 – $14,000|
|Post and Rafter||$25 – $35||$1,250 – $1,750||$5,000 – $7,000||$10,000 – $14,000|
|Sawtooth||$25 – $35||$1,250 – $1,750||$5,000 – $7,000||$10,000 – $14,000|
|Solar||$35 – $45||$1,750 – $2,250||$7,000 – $9,000||$14,000 – $18,000|
Each type of greenhouse has typical building materials that are used, however, you can bring the price up or down if you modify the frame, glazing, and even flooring.
Benefits Of Different Types Of Greenhouse
Different types of greenhouse can have varying benefits depending on your budget, but also your environment and your goals with the greenhouse. If you live in cold or snowy environments, there are certain types that will work better for you.
|Type Of Greenhouse||Primary Benefits||Primary Downsides|
|Hoop||Low Cost, Any Size||Hard To Maintain Temperature|
|Gothic Arch||Handling Snow And Rain||Less Growing Space|
|Rooftop||Utilize Urban Roofs||Not All Materials Usable|
|Lean-To||Add-on To Other Buildings||Heat Loss|
|Dome||More Growing Room||Needs To Stay Small|
|Pit||Maintain Heat Year-Round||Specific Soil Conditions Needed|
|A-Frame||Simple To Build||Poor Airflow|
|Barn||Stay Cool in Hot Climates||More Complex To Build|
|Post and Rafter||Strong Construction||Top Heavy|
|Sawtooth||Control Temperature||Glazing More Expensive|
If you’re looking to grow year-round but live in either a very hot or cold environment you may be better suited for a different type of greenhouse, rather than the standard hoop that is generally the best for non-commercial purposes.
Some types are specific to your location, such as the pit type that needs certain soil conditions or the rooftop that is great for urban areas but not ideal if you have a backyard or a lot of space. Urban rooftop greenhouses are typically installed by building owners and shared by residents, though not all will get a space.
Cost Of Greenhouse Framing Material
Most greenhouse frames will be made of wood which costs around $1 – $2 per linear foot, or steel, which costs around $2.50 – $3 per linear foot. You can get other and cheaper materials, but they often don’t last as long, so you need to consider how long you want your greenhouse.
|Framing Material||Average Cost Of Material (Per Foot)|
|PVC||$0.50 – $2|
|Aluminum||$1 – $2|
|Wood||$1 – $2|
|Steel||$2.50 – $3|
PVC framing is a good option and typically used with hoop-style greenhouses to keep the overall cost down, especially if you want a cheaper greenhouse that you can replace easily in a few years. PVC is best suited for plastic sheeting rather than glass or other siding materials.
Aluminum is a very versatile framing material and costs similar to wood, it’s much easier to work with and build all kinds of different shapes or types of greenhouses, however, it can dent or bend easily, so it’s not ideal in busy commercial areas.
If you’re certain denting or bending won’t be an issue, aluminum is often the best material at a very reasonable price.
Wood framing isn’t as versatile as other materials, but it’s strong and can be put together into standard shapes without much skill, so it can be a good option for building many greenhouses or even DIY greenhouses.
You need to be wary of getting the cheapest wood as that may not be treated as well and would absorb moisture and rot. Wood prices are also higher in the past few years and may not be the cheapest option compared to steel or aluminum at all times.
Steel framing is the most expensive option, has some versability in the shapes made, is extremely durable, and won’t have issues with rot or damage, so it’s the best option for commercial greenhouses or a non-commercial that you want to last a long time.
Cost Of Greenhouse Glazing Material
Your glazing or siding is the clear material added to the frame to allow light into the greenhouse while helping to control the temperature and humidity. Prices range from $0.10 to $3.50 for a square foot of material.
|Glazing Material||Average Cost Of Material (Sqft)|
|Polyethylene||$0.10 – $0.50|
|Corrugated Fiberglass||$1 – $2|
|Polycarbonate||$1.50 – $3|
|Glass||$2.50 – $3.50|
Polyethylene Glasshouse Glazing
Polyethylene is the cheapest option at $0.10 – $0.50 per square foot and is essentially tough plastic that simply covers your greenhouse with minimal insulation for temperature control, and humidity isn’t controlled effectively with it. It’s typical in hoop style or non-commercial greenhouses.
Corrugated Fiberglass Greenhouse Glazing
Corrugated fiberglass glazing is $1 – $2 per square foot and is a good step up for non-commercial larger greenhouses. It provides extra insulation and control of your temperature and humidity much better than polyethylene.
Polycarbonate Greenhouse Glazing
Polycarbonate greenhouse glazing is around $1.50 – $3 and is the overall best glazing you can pick for your greenhouse. It’s durable and has excellent temperature and humidity control without being too expensive. Most new commercial greenhouses use polycarbonate glazing.
Glass Greenhouse Glazing
Glass greenhouse glazing is $2.50 to $3.50 per square foot, it’s the most expensive glazing option, but just like your windows, it has a high potential for breaking or needing to be replaced sooner than other options.
The primary benefit of glass is that it’s much more beautiful, so using glass even for non-commercial purposes can benefit the appearance of your home, this is a good option if you’re looking to sell in the near future and will be performing other cleanup tasks like reroofing your house or repaving your driveway.
Average Cost Of Greenhouse Flooring
Non-commercial greenhouses may not require any specific flooring as long as you’ve got a flat surface, but a good flooring can provide insulation from heat loss and give you a very stable and cleaner floor.
|Flooring Material||Average Cost Of Material (Sqft)|
|Interlocking TIles||$2 – $10|
|Concrete||$2 – $6|
|Stone||$2 – $6|
|Brick||$3 – $5|
|Mulch||$0.10 – $0.50|
Your most expensive option is going to be a concrete slab that will also require drainage, but you will have a perfectly stable surface and better control of heat loss through the floor.
Gravel would be a good alternative choice to just dirt, it’s cheap but provides protection from heat loss and natural drainage. It will take a little effort, but you can create a stable and flat surface.
Cost Of Greenhouse Kits
Greenhouse kits cost on average $500 – $3,000 depending on your specific needs, you can go as low as $300 or up to $20,000+ for a more complex DIY-built greenhouse. You’ll still need some skill to put the kit together, and there may be additional costs for flooring prep.
|Average Kit Price||$500 – $3,000|
|Low Kit Price||$300|
|High Kit Price||$20,000+|
Greenhouse Setup Costs
Outside of your cost to build a greenhouse, you still have other setup costs that you may or may not need, these can range from $150 up to $15,000+ depending on your requirements and how complex your greenhouse build is going to be.
|Grade Ground||$1,000 – $3,000|
|Irrigation System||$1,800 – $2,500|
|Lights||$150 – $900|
|Plumbing||$350 – $2,000|
|Heating||$170 – $10,000|
|Benchs||$100 – $1,000|
Just remember that building a greenhouse has prep work before such as grading the ground, the actual cost of building, tables or benches, soil, plants, seeds, and even tools required once you’ve got your greenhouse up and running.
You also need to look at additional yearly costs, most standard greenhouses can cost as little as $12 per year. However, if you’re heating or need to replace anything, the yearly prices start to go up
Alternative To A Greenhouse
For people living in apartments, it’s not always possible to build a greenhouse, but you can consider living tower gardens that take up minimal space but can provide a large chunk of your vegetable and fruit requirements for the month, the average cost is $700.
Related: Best Fruits to Grow in a Greenhouse
If you want to grow your own food but don’t have the space for a greenhouse or any type of real garden, alternatives like living tower gardens are an excellent alternative that can save you a lot of money long-term by reducing your grocery bill.
Just like a full greenhouse, you can look to sell or trade what you grow. Herbs can make a lot of money if you can grow enough, and many people are looking to trade items or services for good quality greens.
Benjamin is a certified financial advisor, with over 10 years of experience in the industry. He is knowledgeable about various business and financial topics, such as retirement planning and investment management. Ben has been recognized for his work in the financial planning industry. He has also been featured in various publications.