How to Build a Hoop Greenhouse


Greenhouses are essential to growing plants in their natural conditions during harsh winters, or for simulating a warmer climate for more tropical plants. PVC pipes and plastic sheeting are the best materials for building your own greenhouse. It should take a weekend to construct your own hoop greenhouse.

Things You'll Need

  • 213 feet of 1-inch diameter PVC pipe
  • 40 inches of 1-1/4-inch diameter PVC pipe
  • Measuring tape
  • Masking tape
  • Marker
  • PVC cutter or miter box and saw
  • Heat gun
  • Scrap wood and 3-inch wood screws
  • Funnel
  • Play sand
  • 10 End caps
  • Roll of 20-by-25-foot 4 mil plastic sheeting
  • Utility knife
  • 30 1-inch slip Ts
  • 4 1-inch 3-way connectors
  • 8 1-inch 90-degree elbows
  • PVC glue and primer
  • 130 snap clamps 1¼-inch by 4-inch
  • 130 self-tapping screws, 3/4-inch
  • 10 ground stakes, at least a foot long each

Preparing the Parts

  • Measure, mark and cut the 1-inch PVC to the following lengths: five arches at 19-feet long; a front and back piece at 11-feet-6-inches long; two side pieces at 12-feet-3/8 inches long; four spine pieces, 3 feet each; four side struts at 6-feet long; two door sides at 67 inches each; and 10 door and window strut pieces at 27 inches each. Also cut 10 pieces of the 1-1/4-inch pipe, each 4-inches long. Write the section names on masking tape and stick them on the individual pieces.

  • Bend the arch pieces so they form to 11-foot-6-inch wide arches. They should be nearly semi-circular arcs. See the video listed in Resources for more on the technique. Leave the arches to cool.

  • Slice the roll of plastic into a 20-foot-by-13-foot-4-inch roof sheet, two 12-foot-1/2-inch-by-7-foot front and back pieces, a 6-foot-6-inch-by-3-foot-4-inch door piece, and a 3-foot-4-inch square window piece. Write the names of these parts on masking tape and stick these label on the corners.

  • Align and glue two 1-1/4-inch pieces to each other to make hinges. Make eight pieces.

  • Align and glue one snap clamp to a 1-1/4-inch piece, similar to the hinges above. This is your latch. Make two pieces.

Building the Structure

  • Slip three T-connectors onto each side piece, and a 3-way connector on each end. Don't glue anything at this stage.

  • Slide two slip-Ts each onto the front and back pipes. Attach them to the side pieces using the three way connectors, with one connection point facing upward.

  • Put two slip-Ts each onto three of the arch pieces, and slot them into the slip Ts on the side bars. Space them evenly apart from each other and the front.Place three T-connectors on the remaining arches, which will become the front and rear arch. Slide them in place on the third connection of the three-way connectors. Connect the arches using the 3-foot spines. Use the middle T-connectors on the front and rear arch. Don't glue anything yet.

Building the Front and Rear

  • Build a figure-eight using the door side pieces, three of the window struts and two T-connectors and four elbow connectors. Slide two of the hinges onto one side of the door frame. Glue the door frame together, but leave the hinges loose.

  • Build a square out of four elbow pieces and four of the window struts. Slide two hinge pieces onto a strut, and glue the elbow brackets together.

  • Build an H-frame using two side struts, two T pieces and one door strut. Don't glue anything yet. Repeat and build a second one.

  • Slide the door hinges onto one H-frame, letting it push the cross bar near to the top. Attach this door assembly onto the front arch and front base T-connectors. Glue the door jamb together and the put the hinges onto the jamb. Glue the hinges at the top and bottom of the frame to hold the door in place.

  • Slide the last window strut through the window hinges, and place T connectors on the ends. Slide this onto the other H frame and push the cross piece toward the top. Position the window as low or high as you want it, then glue the frame together and the hinges onto the window frame at the edges to hold the window in place. Put the window assembly into the rear arch.

Wrapping the Greenhouse

  • Placing snap clamps about 6-inches apart, attach the front and rear plastic sheets to the front and rear arches. Clip the plastic sheet to the bottom, then wrap it around the arch and clip. Cut out the window and door, then clip those down. Trim any excess.

  • Wrap the door and window sheet pieces around the door and window, then clamp into place.

  • Clamp the roof wrap onto the roof. Clip it to one side piece, flop it over the arches, and clamp it into place, then clamp it to the frame. Trim any excess plastic from the greenhouse.

  • Attach the greenhouse to the ground with your stakes.

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