What Is An Urban Greenhouse And How To Design It

What Is An Urban Greenhouse And How To Design It

Imagine having a lovely outdoor area where you can cultivate plants inside. Building your urban greenhouse can make a big difference in the aesthetic appeal of your living area. Plants and flowers profoundly impact the human spirit and offer numerous advantages to life.

Urban and industrial greenhouses may differ, but their main purpose and job are the same. Urban greenhouses can be used by people who want to cultivate and grow various flowers and plants at home.

Previously we reviewed the benefits of greenhouses in another article. In this post, we will go through various factors that you should think about before designing and constructing your own urban greenhouse.

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents
    Scroll to Top

    family greenhouse

    What is an urban greenhouse? 

    Small greenhouses located in urban areas for growing plants are known as urban greenhouses. These greenhouses give people living in crowded cities or towns the freedom to grow their own food and become more self-sufficient. It also gives them the chance to grow beautiful plants to enhance the aesthetics of their living environment.


    Parameters affecting urban greenhouse location


    The urban greenhouse’s location should be selected in a way that it receives light from the southeast or south. In this case, the plants receive more light in the morning. As a result, they are quickly activated and engage in photosynthesis. This will make plants healthier and let them grow faster.


    The position of the greenhouse is influenced by the amount of heat and sunlight received during various seasons. As a result, the local weather should be considered when designing an urban greenhouse.

    a woman and urban greenhouse


    The presence of trees on the land where the greenhouse is being built might have both positive and negative effects. If your urban greenhouse is located in a city with a hot climate and receives the southern light throughout the summer at noon, the plants will perish from the intense heat and light.

    In such conditions, the urban greenhouse should be shaded by trees. However, it should not be a strict shade. You need at least 3000 lux of light for growing plants. It is preferable to surround your greenhouse with deciduous trees so that they lose their leaves in the fall so that greenhouse gets lighter during that season.


    The issue of wind becomes crucial if you build a greenhouse on the roof. In this situation, the greenhouse needs to be secured and attached to a part of the roof, such as the walls, in order to prevent wind damage.

    Urban greenhouse construction equipment

    greenhouse with plastic cover


    Polycarbonate, UV plastic, and glass are the most common materials used to cover greenhouses. An urban greenhouse can utilize any of these three coverings. The type of covering should be chosen based on the structure type and other environmental factors.

    For instance, the glass cover is inappropriate in a location where the heat is high, and there is a lot of light since it transmits the most heat into the greenhouse, which could result in the plants dying in the summer.

    greenhouse frame 

    Now it is time to discuss five different structures that each person can choose for building an urban greenhouse according to his/her budget and interests.


    wood is a beautiful and traditional building material for greenhouses. Although wood is not the most feasible material for a greenhouse structure in an industrial setting, it might work in an urban setting. Wood is quite simple to build and put together into a frame and has good insulating value. However, given the persistent moisture present in a greenhouse, most wood will eventually warp and rot. Additionally, pests may enter the wood and stay there for a long period.

    If you want to use wood for your urban greenhouse, choose a species like cedar or redwood known for its resilience to rot and moisture. Alternately, you can also use outdoor-grade wood that has been chemically treated. Using the wood of any kind will have a longer lifespan if a sealant is applied periodically. For a wooden greenhouse, it is better to use glass or polycarbonate as the cover. 

    wooden urban greenhouse

    Wooden frame greenhouse – source: greenhousemegastore


    Aluminum requires extremely little upkeep because it does not corrode or degrade when exposed to the weather. However, because of low strength, support members for a greenhouse structure must either be built of thick gauge material or doubled up for strength. Aluminum structures offer a good rigid form for glass or polycarbonate panels. You can choose any color to be painted or anodized on aluminum.

    aluminum urban greenhouse

    Aluminum frame greenhouse – source: greenhousestores

    Galvanized Steel

    Galvanized steel offers affordability and durability. Due to the strength of steel, your greenhouse will need fewer frame members, reducing the amount of shadow cast inside the greenhouse.

    However, rather than using solid glass or polycarbonate panels, the majority of steel frames are made to be used with polyethylene film. Commercial growers prefer greenhouses with galvanized steel frames and polyethylene film covering, although they are not especially beautiful in a home environment. The fact that the galvanizing will ultimately wear off and the steel will rust is another significant drawback of galvanized steel.

    galvanized steel greenhouse

    Galvanized steel frame greenhouse – source: agro

    PVC Plastic Pipe

    PVC plastic pipes are economical, portable, and incredibly simple to put together. Plastic pipe frames are not as sturdy as metal or wood, but the industry is addressing this issue by developing designs that include metal supports in addition to the PVC framework.

    In comparison to the metal frame, PVC also has the benefit of allowing less heat to escape. Polyethylene film is nearly always used for the walls of greenhouses with PVC frames. Plastic tubing does not work well for a huge urban greenhouse; these are typically appropriate for tiny, hobby-style backyard greenhouses. PVC frames are now standard on most hobby greenhouses purchased as urban greenhouse kits.

    The major drawback of PVC is that it might eventually become damaged by sunshine. However, a PVC greenhouse with UV-protected pipes should last at least 20 years; make sure to check this before buying PVC pipes or a PVC kit greenhouse.

    pvc  pipe frame green house

    PVC frame green house – source: youtube

    used doors and windows

    These doors are frequently found in scrap yards or scrap stores. These materials are reasonably priced and have considerable strength. The cover should be made of glass.

    recycled green house

    source: pinterest

    Urban greenhouse construction site

    The location of the greenhouse is one of the key criteria. It should be noted that not all parts of the roof or yard are suitable for constructing an urban greenhouse. In some circumstances, a home greenhouse can also be built on a terrace if it has direct sunshine.

    Building a greenhouse in the yard

    In such a case, the greenhouse’s main support structure and columns must be anchored in the ground and concreted. The yard’s greenhouse location depending on the local climate. Consider using one of the greenhouse’s sides as a wall if you live in a tropical climate to prevent light from entering the structure from all sides.

    Constructing the greenhouse away from tree shade in cold climates is preferable. As previously indicated, you can construct the greenhouse close to the trees in tropical climates. Naturally, you should consider the type of plants that will grow within the greenhouse when designing one. Vegetables, for instance, require six hours of direct sunlight, whereas many houseplants need bright and shady light.

    urban greenhouse in yard

    Greenhouse on the roof

    This greenhouse must be strong because it is heavily exposed to the wind. It is better to use racks in these greenhouses since they do not have much space for growing plants. Anchoring one side of the greenhouse to the wall is preferable to make the greenhouse resistant to wind. Another option is to build a small foundation and weld the greenhouse frame to the bars to prevent wind damage.

    rooftop greenhouse

    Turning the terrace into a greenhouse

     in this case, glass is used. Use the glass as a sliding window. But if you want to use nylon for this type of urban greenhouse, you must use special frames. In this case, you should use the spring wire and lock channel. A window or vent must also be installed on the terrace for proper ventilation of the greenhouse.

    sash window for terrace greenhouses

    Plant types

    An urban greenhouse can be used to cultivate a wide variety of plants. Your aim for creating the greenhouse will determine the most crucial factor in selecting the plants. Some people build an urban greenhouse only to make their home environment serene and comfortable, while others build these greenhouses to grow various agricultural products for their own use or sale.

    a woman gardening in urban greenhouse


    This article introduced us to the idea of an urban greenhouse. Additionally, we learned about the several factors influencing the designing and construction of urban greenhouses. Now that you are aware of these elements, it is time to construct or purchase an urban greenhouse based on your needs, your residence’s location, the weather, and the plants you wish to cultivate.

    If you have any experience regarding this topic or would like to try it out, please share your experiences and views in the comments section below.

    And if you like this article, feel free to share it on social media.

    share it with your friends

    Leave a Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *