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Preparing Your Greenhouse Site

All the planning has been done and you’ve finally bought exactly what you needed – now it’s time for you to start preparing your greenhouse site.

Preparing Your Greenhouse Site
Before you begin construction of your greenhouse, you need to ensure that the site that you’ve chosen for placement is properly prepared.


This preparation phase is extremely important when it comes to erecting your greenhouse. Getting this wrong or cutting corners can only lead to trouble when building the greenhouse itself. So never see it as a waste of time or something to get out of the way quickly. Take your time even if you think you’re spending more effort on this phase than what you would be in erecting the actual greenhouse!

So give yourself a few days to get this right and again, don’t try and rush what needs to be done – gather your tools and the resources that you need before getting to work on the first stage of your greenhouse adventure.

Clearing The Ground

Go back to your planning notes that you made for your greenhouse site and start to measure out the area that you chose. Don’t forget to include any paths surrounding your greenhouse or any other areas you’ve marked for future development like a potting shed. Armed with a tape-measure, begin to mark out the area with pegs and string, sand or grass marking paint – whichever you have handy. Once you’re satisfied with the layout – double check it! Also, use a builders square to make sure all the corners are right angles and make any adjustments that you deem necessary. Once you’re doubly satisfied, or triply so if you want to make absolutely certain, it’s then time to clear the site by removing the turf.

There are two ways to remove turf – by “hand” or, if you have a large area of turf to remove, by employing a turf stripping machine to ease the workload for you. Either way, once the turf is removed, store in a little used corner of your garden and let it break itself down over the next 6 months or so and then you can use it as a top soil. Any plants or vegetation will need to be dug out and either re-sited elsewhere in your garden or removed to a waste site.

Once you’re down to the soil then you will need to dig it over and remove any stones or bits of rubbish you may uncover. If there is a lot of digging needed then you may need to leave the site for a week or so to let everything settle before moving onto the next stage unless you have a roller to flatten everything out.

3 Steps To Preparing Your Greenhouse Site

Measuring Out Your Greenhouse
Use a tape measure and pegs to mark out the area of your greenhouse, plus any access paths. Hammer a nail into the top of each peg and then use string around the nails to define your boundaries. Use a set-square to ensure your corners are exact right-angles.
Strip Turf
Remove the layer of turf from the top of your site and dig the layer of soil beneath. If you plan to erect your greenhouse on a solid base, you will need to dig a little deeper and add a layer of hard-core before laying the top surface.
Flatten Soil
Use a rake to free any lumps or stones from your soil and then flatten the soil as best you can – use a roller if necessary. Keep checking with a plank of wood and a spirit level, making adjustments when and where needed.

Laying Your Greenhouse Foundations

Unless you have a small aluminium framed greenhouse (less than 2.5m long), then you’ll find a lot of benefit in laying a solid foundation for your greenhouse to stand upon. The smaller greenhouse usually has a good strength to size ratio that no real benefit it gained by laying a foundation, but the larger sized structures will gain in stability.

The larger aluminium greenhouse will gain the most in stability when erected upon a solid foundation. This stability will convert into strength ensuring that less maintenance is needed throughout the lifespan of your greenhouse. Normally, these larger aluminium greenhouses come with a fairly flimsy base that tend to flex somewhat during windy weather which could, in extreme cases, cause glass to crack and break. Wood greenhouses definitely need to stand upon a foundation to raise the wood up from the damp ground and to avoid rot.

Note: The details on laying a brick foundation is beyond the scope of this article and website. However, to learn this skill, head on over to eHow for detailed instructions.

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