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Building a new cool house

Otherwise known as my upcoming adventures with a Harbor Freight Greenhouse. I had a dream the other week about trying to squeeze in a third greenhouse, even going so far as mapping electrical and water in my dream. I woke up and instantly thought that was silly, the easiest would be to just move the empty small greenhouse to behind the garage, and put a larger greenhouse in it's place where we already have electric and water set up.

Then came the deciding on a new greenhouse. I decided since we live in a fairly mild climate I would try getting one of the cheapy HF greenhouses and making some of the upgrades people talk about online to make it more sturdy, I already have a small pile of emt in the yard, and lots of caulk. I looked on line, and low and behold the 10x12 was on sale for $679 from $899, and I had a coupon for an additional 20% off. Out of stock online, and shipping was an extra $100, so I called the Harbor Freight they just opened up the street three days ago to see if they by chance had them in stock. They had 2, and the cashier there also gave me a 25% off coupon to be nice, so the greenhouse came to $550 including tax and we were able to load it in the truck and drive it home, it's like it was a sign I was supposed to get one >.<

So now the fun part, designing it! I've already decided to make the now smaller greenhouse my warm house, which means cranking the thermostat from a max of 80 degrees to 90 degrees. It also means I won't need the giant swamp cooler on the warm one, I will be putting it on the new cool house, and installing my smaller swamp cooler on my existing greenhouse, which can keep it at a comfortable 80-85 if I wanted. There are some small differences with the swamp coolers, mainly that I will have to raise the small one up to reach the hole cut for the taller unit on the 8.5x12, but I can work that out later, a wood platform should be easy.

This will be for housing HL Nepenthes, Cephalotus, Heli's, and cooler growing orchids, along with my ever expanding epiphytic blueberry collection.

I'm still working on possible bench, shelf, and hanging pole ideas for the new one. If anyone has some ideas, or experience working with these greenhouses, please share, the fewer mistakes I make the better
I'm definitely jealous. Keep us updated with pics! Better yet, make this your pic thread!
You seem to have a lot of different houses! Of course, the residents of most of them are plants. ;)

Definitely keep us updated! I'd love to see a construction project like this.
I've been getting a lot of questions on what it costs to build something like this, so I figured I would keep a log of it here, no matter how depressing it is.

So here's my shopping list so far, obviously it is missing a lot of things like the actual EMT, lumber for the bench bases, and the stuff needed to reinforce the HFGH like caulk and even more EMT. The non orchid wax vent opener is because I already have an orchid wax (type of wax means opening temperature, a normal is 55-75 degrees, orchid is 70-85 opening temp), having one of each means my vents will open in a staggered pattern, first will open around 65, second will open around 70-75. X's are for what I've already purchased.

Greenhouse vent (non orchid wax)

x Shade cloth


x tie downs

Benches and table tops

x Emt hanging bar supplies

x Hoses and hose connections

small RO filter

mist system




shading paint for back wall

Cost of shade cloth, EMT joints, and a hose (dividing the long hose into several smaller ones, hence the extra end caps)

Here is the uncompleted shopping cart on Greenhouse Megastore, I'm debating adding a second heater just in case it drops below 35 degrees at night (I'm in zone 10a). One heater will do fine if it stays above 35, only heating it to 50, the other greenhouse has a giant heater on a 220v plug, trying to avoid having to install that here. Also need to keep everything below 14 amps so that the control I want to use will work.

No screenshot of this, but the other joints to complete my EMT hanging bars came to $65.84

The controller I'm looking at getting, it has a humidistat built in, and would save me from having a wall full of separate controllers like the other greenhouse, plus the data logger is pretty cool

Total so far including greenhouse (purchased on sale and with coupon for $550 total), shade cloth, EMT parts, and hose is $872.63

I should also add that we already ran the power and water lines to the greenhouse site so that won't be included here, but if you haven't the trencher cost about $70 to rent for a day, electric breakers, conduit, and wiring came to around $500 (the wire alone was a few hundred), and then pvc and hose parts came to maybe $40.
Latest update, we finally had time to put the finished benches inside the base and make sure everything fits, the benches have been sitting outside for about a month now >.< Base is 4x4 pressure treated wood screwed together and leveled. Benches are not yet leveled or screwed together, we were just figuring out where we want to move the electric and water to. Total cost of lumber so far is $354 for the redwood and pressure treated 4x4s.

Bob the Builder (Yes we can!!)
My best friend Robert after we finished moving the benches inside

And what happens when my shiba inu gets bored, that used to be my second plant bog there /cry. I had to take this because I swear it looks like he's smiling.

Haha, i love the picture of your pooch. Sorry he tossed your bog all up, but he really does look like he is smiling.
this will be interesting to watch,amazed bob the builder made it over the pond:-D
Great project, and your dog's a handsome guy!
Keep up the good work,
  • #10
Just a brief update since construction on my greenhouse has been stalled for quite awhile. Roof and back wall are done, still need to finish the floor since my dog keeps digging it up, and need to finish chiseling out grooves for the benches to fit around the diagonal supports, then the side walls can go up. All reinforcing is done with the structure, 5 cross beams go across the middle, two pieces of angle iron added to both the front and back wall, plus foam and 2"x6" beams added to the inside of the base to make it sturdier. The white is a shading paint I'm applying before putting the panels up. It's going on the front and back walls where there will be no shade cloth, in addition to the right side of the building to help shield from afternoon sun. The other pics are updates on my Wistuba order, still patiently waiting to move over to the other greenhouse.

And some other future occupants, my epiphytic blueberry collection, at least the non hanging ones