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Greenhouse positioning quandary

(25 Posts)
Rhubarbgarden Sat 16-Mar-13 14:29:45

Moved to new house which although it has an existing greenhouse, it's small, not safety glass and located far from the house right down at the bottom of the garden by the compost heap.

I considered re-glazing it, but I'm coming round to thinking I'd like to start again with a new greenhouse located in the walled garden/orchard. This is on the south facing side of the house, so it gets more sun than the main garden (west facing) and the land is flat here rather than sloping.

I have two possible locations within the walled garden: a lean-to against the east facing wall, or a lean-to against the house (south facing). The east facing wall position would be a good use of space and I could buy a standard off the peg greenhouse. But, it wouldn't get as much sun.

The south facing option would obviously get all day sun, and I would be able to access it directly from the house through existing french doors which would be nice. However, as it would be attached to the house, we'd have to deal with listed building consents and it would no doubt have to be bespoke and architecturally in keeping etc etc. ie a lot more faff and expense.

My greenhouse in the last house was against a west facing wall and it used to get so hot in there that if I wasn't completely on the ball with watering/shading I lost plants to scorching. So in some ways, an east facing greenhouse appeals. Direct access from the house is very tempting though...

Any thoughts? I'm going round in circles. Or recommendations of greenhouse companies?


ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 16-Mar-13 15:10:17

On balance, I think the east-facing greenhouse is the better option. You could always add an orangery to the house at a later date.

Have you checked the ads at the back of The Garden? Some of the greenhouses on offer there are sumptuous.

Rhubarbgarden Sat 16-Mar-13 17:19:53

Ooh. Good idea. I was looking at some greenhouse porn on the Gabriel Ash website and a company called Woodpecker Joinery (or something) and getting all sweaty this morning. I need more!

MoreBeta Sat 16-Mar-13 17:27:03

East facing. The South facing option would get far too hot in summer. My mother had a green house facing south and she used to have to whitewash the roof panes in summer to provide some shade. It was like an oven otherwise and damaged her tomato plants

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 16-Mar-13 17:29:00

It was Gabriel Ash and his ilk I was thinking of.

Rhubarbgarden Sat 16-Mar-13 17:35:42

This has always been my thinking about south facing greenhouses to be honest, MoreBeta, but everything you read says south facing is best. confused

purplewithred Sat 16-Mar-13 19:02:58

Ooh walled garden! Gabrial Ash! GET YOU! (ugly case of downright jealousy going on here)

It depends a bit on how high the wall is so how much light the greenhouse will get. A greenhouse without enough light is a complete pain - your plants will be leggy and the tomatoes won't ripen. I know, I have one.

bumperella Sat 16-Mar-13 20:16:41

East facing is quite a good option, assuming you don't intend to use it much in winter etc?

Attached to the house would be lovely as you could justify really going to town on a half-conservatory-half-greenhouse option, with heating linked into the house central heating system, and internal automatic blinds for the summer...? BUT it depends on budget and what you want to grow in it - could be some blessed expensive tomatoes!

bumperella Sat 16-Mar-13 20:18:31

PS - Alitex greenhouses are amazing, if the budget would extend to that!

funnyperson Sat 16-Mar-13 20:54:50

Geodesic domes come in small sizes (though not lean-to)

Regarding attached to house options: I was looking at some Town and Country conservatories the other day.

If you have the greenhouse against the wall then will you grow tropical stuff up the wall?

I think East facing for a green house: South facing might be very hot. Its also nice to have flowers in a South facing border. Or one of those magnolia grandiflora trees.

Rhubarbgarden Sun 17-Mar-13 11:52:27

Sorry, PurplewithRed.blush Good point about height of wall. It's about eight feet so I think I'd probably have to do a three quarter span thingy greenhouse, as it's not high enough for just a mono-pitch, now I've thought about it. So that would actually let in a bit more light. But would it be enough? Hmm.

Thanks for the links Bumperella and Funnyperson. I don't want a conservatory or an orangerie - it has to be a functioning growing space. We don't need any more living place. And I'm keen to not take up too much of the walled garden for the structure as I want plenty of space for fruit and veg out there. Loving the Alitex greenhouses. Some of the photos of walled garden greenhouses that they've done are fabulous; very inspiring! Way over budget I'm sure BUT I'd be prepared to wait a year or three to save up and do it properly.

Magnolia grandifloras - love them, but I want to keep the walled garden to fruit and veg so if I don't end up with a greenhouse on the house wall I'll probably do wall-trained peaches or a pear.

Rhubarbgarden Sun 17-Mar-13 11:53:35

Living space not living place!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 17-Mar-13 12:27:27

Please tell us more about your garden(s), Rhubarbgarden, as they sound so enviable luscious.

Rhubarbgarden Sun 17-Mar-13 21:15:25

Ooh well, I'm just getting to know the garden really at this stage. We only moved in six months ago so I'm trying to do the 'wait twelve months before doing anything' thing. We did get a 'hedge' of 30 foot high Leylandii cut down though as a priority, which improved light levels dramatically.

The garden is half an acre, divided into the walled garden off the south facing elevation and the main garden facing west. The walled garden is currently a rather spartan orchard with only 10 apple, pear and cherry trees. There are the remains of vines on one wall, but the walls are very overgrown with ivy and brambles and there are horrid snowberry shrubs all along the north facing wall, which have to go. I'm working my way through pruning the fruit trees, but they've been sorely neglected so it's a case of renovation pruning which isn't a quick job. One apple tree had been completely engulfed by a rampaging laurel monster that was making a bid for world domination from its corner stronghold. I'm half way through hacking that back.

The main garden is divided into three 'garden rooms' by Leylandii hedges. I'm tempted to replace them with yew, but it would be a big job. Each 'room' is a couple of feet lower than the last as the land slopes away to the west. The steps and retaining walls are all crumbling ancient concrete and need to be replaced with reclaimed bricks to match the house. The flower borders are mostly filled with overgrown shrubs, although we'll see over the next few months if any perennials appear. It's all a bit conifer-tastic too, with some ridiculous eccentric positioning. The middle 'room' has no flower borders at all, just lawn and a large hole where the pond used to be (previous owners took it with them, plastic liner and all). The bottom 'room' is the functional bit with compost bays, existing greenhouse and what was once a chicken run now filled up with a vast log pile from the Leylandii hedge Armageddon. Oh and a load of raspberry canes, bizarrely planted underneath a huge and beautiful copper beach, so they get no light whatsoever.

There are also two fairly narrow (approx 2m wide) lawned terraces between the patio and the main lawn. I'm debating whether to do some kind of pergola type affair along one of these. Or Laburnum tunnel. Or something.

Then there's a little lawn between the drive and the patio, which I'm considering having a stab at a chamomile lawn on.

All of this is going to take a lot of time and money, both of which are in short supply as the moneypit house needs renovating first and I have two dcs under three! But it's a long game... smile

Rhubarbgarden Sun 17-Mar-13 21:19:32

Copper beech not copper beach! blush

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 17-Mar-13 21:30:12

That does sound delightful. And how exciting to be waiting to see what floral delights emerge in the spring!

What age is the house? Will you be aiming for a traditional look or something more contemporary?

Rhubarbgarden Mon 18-Mar-13 07:28:50

It's Georgian. I'll be going for a historical look close to the house but may have a play with a jungly look in the middle 'room'. If Christopher Lloyd could get away with it at Great Dixter...

echt Mon 18-Mar-13 09:46:53

I have to say the OP's username sounds like a racehorse from "On the Hour".

This is not helpful, I know.

Rhubarbgarden Mon 18-Mar-13 09:54:25


I've no idea what 'On the Hour' is but I'm quite happy to be likened to a racehorse <vertically challenged>.

bumperella Mon 18-Mar-13 20:30:43

I am v jealous. Gardens are about progress, not historical accuracy, so long as the bits you can see framing the hosue are in keeping/don't jar (which they will be given that you like the style of the house!) then IMO let rip! (in a garden-y imagination way, not in a farty way).

biodomes Wed 30-Nov-16 17:42:30

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Trethew Wed 30-Nov-16 19:43:16

I waited 17 years for a new greenhouse then bought a Rhino Premium. Paid extra to have it in a soft sage green. We made a concrete pad then erected it ourselves and it's FABULOUS. I absolutely love it. It's sturdy, no draughts, large panes of safety glass, no nasty clips or overlapping panes that collect algae, four automatic roof vents, four sets of louvre vents, big wide double doors. Highly recommended. Not often these days that you buy something which far exceeds expectations.

The long side faces south east and with the automatic vents and the doors left wide open on sunny days it did not overheat to cause damage to the plants inside

shovetheholly Thu 01-Dec-16 13:31:13

Oooh, we attracted the attentions of a spammer!

But <highfives> to Trethew - I have a Rhino Premium as well and I love it!

bookbook Thu 01-Dec-16 15:11:21

I was just going to add my tuppence worth, when I realised this is a very old thread... I suspect the OP has it sorted now! smile May have to look at the Rhino Premium - I'm hoping for a new , bigger one next year, fingers crossed !

shovetheholly Thu 01-Dec-16 16:06:59

Book I could rave about it for hours ! Trethew nails the best thing about it which is this huge thick panes of glass that sit very sturdily inside the frame. It's hard to explain, but they have come up with a system that means the glass is held in place very firmly indeed by the surround - this sounds impossible, I know, but it does work! Once built, the whole thing sits much more squarely and solidly as a result.

Another great thing is that they supply full-scale instructions with a DVD. You still have to puzzle through it a bit, but it's not for lack of clear explanation!

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