If you are thinking of investing in a greenhouse, it is essential that it has a sturdy, level and square base. Nathan James Dodd answers some frequently asked questions.
Assembling and erecting a freestanding greenhouse is one of those tasks that might sound daunting but with adequate preparation, I found it a surprisingly uncomplicated and satisfying project.
A friend was on hand to help me, and his assistance was invaluable, but I thought the work involved was well within the capabilities of even an adequate DIYer and I'm certainly no better than average.
The effort also saved me from paying someone else to erect it, so I had spare money to purchase some extra staging.
I chose the greenhouse's location before purchasing it, a sunny position sheltered from the wind. To begin with I checked that all the necessary parts were present and correct, and then placed them out neatly so they were readily at hand. Then I took a minute to read the instructions carefully and visualised how all the parts fitted together.
I had levelled the site the previous day to save time and bought a greenhouse with a separate base. Some greenhouses have an integral base or you could place the frame directly onto slabs or concrete.
As for tools, we only needed a good screwdriver, adjustable spanner and spirit level.
I lay all the side parts out and connected them together. Only loosely at that stage. Then I moved onto the ends, again putting the elements together without tightening too much. Next I fixed the ends and sides in place to form a frame, fastening the roof section and any strengthening braces.
I decided to do all of this work away from the base and carried the frame (with my willing helper) to the base after completion.
When the frame was in place, we tightening everything slowly, including the frame to the base, constantly checking all the angles were correct and everything was level. Unless everything is aligned, fitting the glazing correctly and without breakage would have been problematic.
The door was fitted after the frame was finished and I had to adjust the runners until it opened and closed smoothly. I then positioned and fitted the roof vents.
Installing the glazing was the next job, following the manufacturer's instructions I began with the roof and then continued with the side windows. The glazing material is chosen when you purchase the greenhouse, either horticultural or toughened glass or polycarbonate.
I then sealed the edges with silicon before starting to put in place my staging and internal accessories.
Finally, we sat down with a cup of tea and admired our handiwork.
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