You may plan to install the greenhouse yourself; if you are a competent “do-it-yourselfer” you should have no trouble. You will need someone to help you, since some of the parts are ungainly, or too heavy for one person to handle. Unless you are unusually skilled, you should rely on professional help for masonry, plumbing, electrical, heating and flashing. Be sure these professionals see and read the Greenhouse Assembly Instructions related to their trade.
If you are going to do any of the assembly work yourself, be sure to read the instructions furnished for your greenhouse before starting work.
A plain dirt floor is best, covered with gravel or crushed rock. It won't dehumidify the air and dry out your plants. Aisles of slate, brick or building blocks are attractive – or concrete aisles can be poured, wide enough to support the front bench legs with bricks under the rear bench legs.
A concrete slab floor isn't necessary — it won't provide the natural drainage of an earth floor, so pipe drains to outside or a catch basin must be provided. Also, a complete concrete floor makes extra watering of your plants and flowers necessary.
If your greenhouse is to be built other than “on-grade” (say on the roof of a building) a waterproof floor is necessary.
If your greenhouse is to be used as solarium or conservatory, certain precautions must be observed during installation.
Water: for plant needs; install an ample number of hose bibbs, strategically located for convenience. A tub is useful for washing pots and general clean-up use; supply it with hot water if possible, and install a mixing faucet with hose thread so you can water plants with tepid water.
Electricity: For operation of basic and optional accessory equipment, and for illumination (strip fluorescent lights at the ridge are practical). Provide an ample number of grounded outlets for operation of immediate and future accessories: cooler, humidifier, soil heating cable, etc.
Caution: The walks of the greenhouse are usually damp or wet; soil in the benches is wet, and a hose can be carelessly used. It is therefore extremely important that every piece of electrical equipment in the greenhouse be grounded in an approved manner.
Heating (gas, oil or electricity): For a free-standing greenhouse, be sure to provide for these utilities before the foundation is poured. All utility lines can usually be laid in the same trench.
Your greenhouse needs certain Basic Equipment:
Benches (or plant tables).
Automatic Ventilation. Greenhouse owners often use electric motors to raise and lower the roof vents, or a thermostatically controlled fan vent system.
Heater. You can either use a separate heater, or an extension of an existing hot water or steam system, with a separate thermostat to control the greenhouse temperature, and operated so heat is available everyday and night in winter. This is especially important for greenhouses on school installations where heat may not be available at night or during vacation periods.
Spare glass (for emergencies).
To make your greenhouse most useful and enjoyable you need: Shading for summer: either roll-up shades — or plastic shading — or shading paste (to mix with water) to roll, spray or brush on the glass. Do NOT use whitewash — it ruins aluminum.
A soil storage area, such as a bin make of lumber or metal, or plastic containers (20 gallon size is good).
Cooler — for summertime operation.