Let’s be honest here, buying a greenhouse can be a real minefield but you want to get it right first time so where do you start? Cambered door cills; auto louvres; crestings and finials; staging and rainwater kits aren’t part of most people's everyday vocabularies so you might need some guidance. Most of us are likely to buy more houses and certainly more cars than we are greenhouses in a lifetime.

A greenhouse may not be in the same price bracket as my two examples above but the outlay can still be significant and, perhaps more importantly, you may spend an awful lot of time, particularly over the spring, summer and autumn months, in your greenhouse so you don’t want to be reminded or restricted by any misjudgments made in the purchasing phase. Get it right the first time.

Get 10% off Elite package greenhouses

I would always recommend an Elite package greenhouse to a customer who's looking to buy a greenhouse with additional accessories, but even more so now. This year marks Elite's lengthy 70th year birthday, and here at GardenSite we love nothing more than supporting an independent long established family run business that consistently produces great products - and that is certainly the Elite family! So to celebrate the event and long history of the Elite greenhouse brand, we are offering our customers a 10% discount off our normal prices - reflected in our online prices ready to buy now.

When our long established local solicitors came to me this summer and asked me for a recommendation and advice, I went straight to the Elite Titan range with full confidence, and they were not disappointed.

What is an Elite package greenhouse?

But let's rewind a little... what actually is an Elite package greenhouse? The great selling point with all Elite greenhouses, along with the quality and service, is the vast range of options available to customise your greenhouse, starting with the frame colour and going right down to a simple pack of plant tying eyes and everything in between.

Several years ago the guys at Elite greenhouses decided to put together a simple package of every essential that you really need if you want to get the most out of your greenhouse and bundled those together under a discounted single price compared to adding all the options separately. So you get the right starter products at the right price.

A black-frame Elite greenhouse showing a preview of some of the package accessories included with it.
A black-frame Elite greenhouse showing a preview of some of the package accessories included with it.

Deciding which Elite package suits me?

I would start by deciding what width (where the door usually is) you either require, or can fit in. It sounds just like sales talk to say buy the greenhouse with the widest width you can accommodate but it is true if your budget allows as it pushes the eaves further out so you have more room either side of the central path to grow, organise and propagate your plants. Elite greenhouses offer package deals in 4ft; 5ft; 6ft; 7ft and 8ft wide greenhouses.

The same maxim can be applied to the length of your greenhouse. If you consider a popular 6 x 8ft long greenhouse and you can squeeze in a 6 x 10ft version you are adding 25% to your growing space but you will not be adding 25% to the cost.

All of the Elite greenhouses range are named by width so I have detailed this simple guide below:

And all of the above ranges have a package version available for the most popular sizes.

Once you have decided which size greenhouse suits you the best visit our page dedicated to Elite greenhouses packages and select your size. Depending on what colour greenhouse you choose you will quickly see what options you get with that particular package. Below is the Elite Craftsman 6 x 6 ft package greenhouse as an example:

  • One Matching Colour Roof Vent
  • One Matching Colour 5 Blade Louvre Vent
  • One Automatic Roof Vent Opener
  • One Automatic Louvre Vent Opener
  • One Set of Elite's 2-Slat Diamond Shelf in Matching Colour
  • One Set of Elite's 5-Slat Diamond Staging in Matching Colour
  • Integral Gutters with a Rainwater Collection Kit
  • A Pack of Handy Tying Eyes

With the option of choosing one of two glazing types, one of eleven frame colours, including the traditional milled silver finish, and of course, plenty of other customisation choices to make your new greenhouse your own.

Two Elite greenhouses side by side, one a freestanding version and the other a dwarf wall version.
An example of a freestanding Elite greenhouse and a dwarf wall Elite greenhouse.

Is buying a greenhouse package cost effective?

As you are buying a package or bundle, the pro-rata price is cheaper than buying all the options separately, so you make a saving as well as getting a well equipped greenhouse for most people’s needs.

This means that if you're looking to buy a greenhouse with optional accessories such as staging and shelving, then by choosing a package that already included these items, then you'll normally be able to save yourself a bit of money on the order total.

Are Elite greenhouses actually any good?

You'd sure hope so from their brand name! GardenSite has been selling Elite greenhouses for well over 20 years so we have grown up with the range and fully understand any compatibility and logistic issues as well as the benefits of both the bespoke and package options and we are well placed to advise you if you can’t see, or don’t fully understand, the options you want on page.

Phil Hannant (Director at Elite greenhouses) has been my main source of contact over all those years and listened patiently and always explained how and why anything works. The company was originally founded by his grandfather Joseph Simpson back in 1953. I never met Joseph but had the pleasure of meeting his son Richard who designed the Diamond range of staging and shelving which has always impressed me.

Joseph Simpson, who founded the Elite greenhouse brand back in 1953.
Joseph Simpson, who founded the Elite greenhouse brand back in 1953.

What is diamond staging and shelving on an Elite greenhouse?

Most greenhouse companies offer to supply a 2ft or 4ft staging (bench) option that basically has the 4 supporting legs in each corner. Very practicable and very stable but Richard Hannant could see that this did not offer any flexibility in different available widths and lengths and also had two legs at the front that would potentially hinder access, particularly for wheelchair users and simply for additional storage. Richard’s new design Diamond staging uses the strength of the greenhouse uprights in the frame to support the back of the staging whilst a cantilever support at the front of the staging runs back at 45 degrees to a point lower down on the same greenhouse uprights to support the front. Like most ideas it is simple, but it works beautifully.

This system also allowed Richard to construct the staging into 4ins slats so you could build out in sections depending on the width of the staging required. The same principle is used in the Diamond shelving. These slats can also be cut to different lengths accommodating any length of greenhouse staging or shelving.

Available in natural aluminium finish as standard but they can also be colour coded to match the colour of your greenhouse. As well as eminently practicable they also look super smart and come as part of your package deal too.

A close up view of a set of Elite greenhouse diamond staging, and a diamond shelf.
A close up view of a set of Elite greenhouse diamond staging, and a diamond shelf.

What does dropped door and cambered door sill mean on an Elite greenhouse?

For decades most greenhouses had a 5" base, or upstand, that allowed the greenhouse frame to sit over it and the door runners at the base of the door to run under the cill. This has worked very well for many years but it has also meant a 5ins plinth has to be stepped over every time you enter or exit the greenhouse. This isn’t possible though if you have a full wheelbarrow or a wheelchair that you want to get in or out with so Elite Greenhouses dropped the door down and added a cambered cill that got around this issue once and for all. The soft ground support is only used when the greenhouse is installed onto soft ground and is normally a chargeable optional extra but GardenSite always supplies the soft ground support and the cambered cill as a free upgrade as standard. This low threshold innovation is now standard on all Elite greenhouses packages.

As Richard Hannant explained to me.

“There are a few standout moments in our history, but I think the biggest one in recent times was the introduction of the drop door. It was 2009 when we started to tinker with the idea of dropping the doors to ground level and we showcased it at the GLEE Trade Fair in 2009. We had done a number of drop doors as ‘specials’ for customers so it was a natural progression. I believe we were the first manufacturer to offer this as a standard feature on the majority of our domestic freestanding greenhouses and it was no surprise that others followed.”
Father and Son Phil and Richard Hannant of Elite greenhouses.
Father and Son Phil and Richard Hannant of Elite greenhouses.

What is the best value quality greenhouse?

If I were buying my first aluminium greenhouse I would definitely start with the right sized Elite package greenhouse as my template and then look at the non-package versions within the Elite greenhouse range and that would be my starting template to compare any other greenhouse against.

As well as the greenhouse you are buying you also may want to consider that you may need more items or spares in the future and you want that manufacturer to be around for another 70 years…at least.