I’m in the earliest planning stages for my summer/fall goal of building a greenhouse before next winter, and I’ve been mightily struggling with deciding which of three possible locations I should choose. So, I’m crowdsourcing an answer…
First off, it’s not going to be too large, my goal is to have it be just large enough for one or two avocado “frankentrees,” grafted with all the cold-hardiest varieties I can get my hands on, as well as ~15-20 small seedlings in 5-gal pots (I’ll give each seedling 1 winter in the greenhouse before putting it in the ground). I’m thinking minimum size is ~150 sq ft, but maybe slightly larger depending on site that’s chosen.
I’ll start with a photo of my back yard (this is an old photo from before I bought the house, I’ve already replaced the rotting deck with a stone patio):
Option A: North-side porch replacement
Our porch is pretty poorly constructed, with moldy/rotting framing, plywood floors beginning to rot (mushrooms growing on it), and plastic panel roof that flaps in the wind and leaks badly. But, it has a nice cinder block foundation wall, so we’re planning at some point in the near future to remove everything down to that wall, and build a new porch or similar space.
The main downside for converting this to a greenhouse space is that it’s on the wrong side of the house (north), though the western end does get good afternoon sun (during sunny seasons at least). Supplemental lighting would be an absolute necessity. It also replaces a space that’s useful as a porch.
Size: 8’ x 22’
Option B: Terraced garden bed away from house
This is the smallest of the three spaces (6’ x 22’), but also the sunniest, and would interfere the least with current yard usage, other than losing one of our few vegetable garden beds. Other cons include not being sure about the structural integrity of the drystone walls above and below the terrace, so might need to improve/replace those walls before digging the foundation. Here’s another view of the garden bed:
Option C: Lawn against SW corner of house
The final choice is a level area adjacent to the SW corner of the house. The total area available here is 18’ x 20’, but I’d likely use less than that.
Major pros include relatively good sun (might need to trim down those cedars), though the neighbor’s house does shade it a bit when the sun angle is lower in winter. It’s also very level, adjacent to an outdoor power outlet, and I might be able to use the dryer vent as a source of waste heat? Major con is it would block the main path around that side of the house, and take up the only bit of sunny lawn on the same level as the patio. This is also one of the best areas for planting out the seedlings from the greenhouse, and I could probably squeeze quite a few into this space if the greenhouse is located elsewhere.
So what’s the verdict?