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attaching a greenhouse/conservatory to my home

This is a discussion on attaching a greenhouse/conservatory to my home within the Semi Hydro / Lights / Greenhouses / Accessories forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I'm considering getting a greenhouse, but I'd like it attached to my home so i ...

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  1. #1
    Weetamoo is offline Junior Member
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    Default attaching a greenhouse/conservatory to my home

    I'm considering getting a greenhouse, but I'd like it attached to my home so i can sit in it in the winter. I've really gone back and forth on the idea because much as I'd love a greenhouse, my home is already way too big. Id also want it attached to my home so I could sit in it in the winter easily (I'm near Philadelphia) and it would have to look good with the house. Heavier framed than many of the ones I see on the internet.

    I have no idea where to start in the process.

    Any thoughts or ideas on it would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Mike H is online now Senior Member
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    Check out Sturdi-Built , their kits are redwood which can be stained to match your home.
    You will need to get the proper permits from your city of course so you may want to start there.
    Absolutely do not attempt this project without permits, the city could make you tear down the structure after the fact if you don't.
    Florian Greenhouses will do custom greenhouses and are located in SC.
    I built a kit from the first company attached to my home and love it.
    Plan to spend a minimum of $50,000 for what you are describing and easily much more once you get the foundation, heating, electric and water contractors.

  3. #3
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    raybark is offline Senior Member
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    Cost can be reduced considerably if the greenhouse is a "wing" extending from your home, rather than a "lean-to" type, as the former allows you to buy a less-expensive kit without an end and attach it to an exterior wall.

    The first thing to do is consider how large you'd like it to be and where it would go. Do you have the proper light exposure for a greenhouse there?

    If that's a "go", looking into zoning regulations and consider what your neighbors would think about the addition.

    If you're still in a position to proceed, then you can start looking at structures.

  4. #4
    Keysguy is offline Senior Member
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    We added a greenhouse onto our home in NH several years ago. (We sold that house 2 years ago)
    We did a 12x16 lean to design onto the gabled south end of the main house.
    Access from house was made possible by removing one window in the house and replacing it with a glass french door. 2 steps down and you were in the GH.
    It also made it super easy to access water and propane lines in the house.
    We started with a concrete slab foundation (for holding heat) and the GH was a kit purchased from a well known purveyor in the northwest. (PM me and I'll give you all the details).
    I hired a contractor (with me working as an indentured servant. ) to execute the design parameters the GH builder and I had come up with.
    It was a fun project but it was NOT trivial.

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    Weetamoo is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for your replies. I've talked to the township about permits. All good. The size will determined by the underground propane tank about 22 feet from the house on the east side. I also will need to put in a whole house generator as we lose power 3 or 4 times a year here. water, electricity....This is becoming a bigger project every step of the way!

    Keysguy, why a concrete slab?, I vaguely supposed a porous foundation, screened, and covered in pea gravel would help regulate the temp and be convenient for watering. did you have a drain?

  6. #6
    Keysguy is offline Senior Member
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    I decided to go with a the concrete slab because the ground had a deep base of clay which prevented good drainage anyway.
    We tinted the concrete a terra cotta color to help aid in heat absorbtion and retention. there was a drain in the center which tied into an existing yard drain just outside the GH.
    I had overhead misters on a timer that ran 1-2 times/day for all my mounted and hanging plants but I watered all my benches by hand. I also had hot & cold running water. In that we were on a VERY deep drilled well, it was nice to have the ability to temp mix the water so the plants didn't get shocked by the 38 degree F well water. In the spring (Memorial Day in NH)the plants were all moved to an outdoor shadehouse and the concrete floor made it super easy for me to powerwash it and if I had an insect issue that year I'd give it a good soak with mildly chloronated water (physan strength), let it sit a couple days, then power wash it again. I just think the concrete made for much better and easier sanitation.

  7. #7
    Mike H is online now Senior Member
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    In PA the gravel floor will work quite well, I'm in the process of laying down brick over the gravel now so I will still have a porous floor.
    FYI there is a gas heater that will run completely without electricity. DM me for the brand name.
    My power rarely goes out, but a power outage in the summer would be an issue if it lasted very long, I have considered buying a portable generator just in case.
    I spent a good year doing research and planning which paid off in my situation.
    If you ever are passing through Easton PA give me a heads up and I'll give you the tour.

  8. #8
    Keysguy is offline Senior Member
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    there is a gas heater that will run completely without electricity
    This is what I had as a primary as well. Only issue with power outage is the blower won't run so you'll lose the hot air disbursement but I had a whole house standby generator so was never an issue for me even though we lost power often as we were on a dead end dirt road. In dead of winter I put heavy plastic over the outside door and all intake and exhaust vents and when it was going to be sub-zero I ran a small electric aux. space heater at the end opposite the big propane heater. You shouldn't have to go to those extremes in PA though. I had to really pay attention to the weather with the plastic. When we got sunny winter days and the plastic was on, I'd have to open the door to the house for the GH heat to flow into house or I might have been cooking some plants. This was necessary even if it was -10 and windy outside if it was a cloudless day. Was kind of a PITA but I was trying as much as possible not to spend the extra $ to heat the outdoors with propane.

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