Find out all you need to know about choosing, sitting, and caring for a greenhouse in our essential guide

A greenhouse is a valuable addition to any garden. It’s ideal for sowing seeds, growing tender crops like tomatoes and cucumbers, and overwintering tender plants.

You can also grow conservatory or greenhouse plants that enjoy the year-round protection that a greenhouse provides.

There’s a lot to consider when sitting and choosing a greenhouse. Read on for our advice on choosing, sitting, and building a greenhouse, plus keeping it functioning well – including fitting guttering, adding an automatic vent opener, cleaning, insulating, and heating it in winter.

Choosing a greenhouse
There’s a lot to consider when choosing a greenhouse – including size and materials. Aluminium is cheaper and durable; wood is more expensive and holds heat well, but needs maintenance. Most people regret not getting a bigger greenhouse, so buy one as big as your budget and space allows. Read our advice on choosing a greenhouse.

Choosing the right spot
Finding the right spot for your greenhouse is very important. You’ll need a flat spot with maximum light and sunshine, away from frost pockets and cold winds. Ideally, it should sit on an east-west axis so that it gets the most light, especially in winter. Discover the six essentials you need to consider when siting a greenhouse.

Building a greenhouse
Building a greenhouse yourself can save hundreds of pounds – and the bigger the structure, the more you’ll save. On top of building costs, you can also save on ground levelling, building foundations and laying paths inside. If you fancy giving it a go, read our advice on building a greenhouse.

Ventilating the greenhouse
Ventilation is a must during the summer months in particular. An automatic vent opener means your greenhouse ventilation is constantly regulated, whether you’re at home or not, and if yours doesn’t already have one, they are quick and easy to install. Find out how to install an automatic vent opener.

Fitting guttering
Fitting guttering and installing a water butt to catch the rain not only saves water, it means that you can easily fill your watering can for your thirsty crops in summer. Plastic guttering kits are available from any DIY store. Read our guide to fitting guttering to a greenhouse.

Damping down
Damping down the greenhouse – pouring water onto the greenhouse floor – is an important job in summer. It creates enough moisture throughout the day to prevent your plants from suffering heat stress. Find out how to damp down the greenhouse.

Cleaning the greenhouse
Keeping your greenhouse clean means the maximum light can enter (especially important in winter) and means that there is less chance of pests and diseases lurking. Clean in spring and autumn, before and after the main growing season. Alan Titchmarsh gives advice on how to clean your greenhouse in this No Fuss guide.

Essential kit
Greenhouse staging raises plants off the ground, avoiding cooler air, and gives a convenient height for working. Slats increase air circulation, reducing fungal problems. Propagators help to ensure success with seed sowing; a heated propagator or mat will speed up germination and rooting. Read more about essential greenhouse kit and the most useful greenhouse accessories