Planning for a Greenhouse

If you are new to greenhouses or our company, this is a great place to begin your gardening adventure. These are just some of the things to consider before purchasing a quality greenhouse.

Style

BC Greenhouse Builders manufactures 6 DIY product lines within the Cross Country brand: Pacific, Traditional, Cottage, Cape Cod, and our standard 8×8 models the Sungarden and Legacy. Each line can be modified and sized to suit your needs excluding the standard models. The kits are intuitively designed with an easy to follow DVD and written instructions. On average, a typical 8×12 model will take a weekend to build.
The first decision is to select a freestanding or home attached model. Freestanding allows you to select the appropriate site to maximize sunlight exposure and aesthetic appeal. Home attached models offer convenient access to services, good use of yard space and added insulation.

Glass vs. Polycarbonate

To simplify, the difference really comes down to “form over function”. Glass is a traditional glazing used to beautify your yard that gives you the ability to control light transmission with external shading options. Polycarbonate offers built in shading, is maintenance free and virtually unbreakable. With BCG, you have the option of choosing a combination of glazing for your structure which includes single tempered glass, double glass, twinwall and fivewall polycarbonate.

Foundation

Wood frame or concrete is most common. Wood frames are simple, less expensive and can be moved if necessary. Concrete gives the greenhouse a more permanent look, allows for less movement and is easy to clean and will last for generations. For greenhouses over 16×20 a concrete foundation is recommended. All foundations must be level and square for easy installation.

Heating

Heating depends on the type of plants you are growing, the size of your greenhouse, the glazing and your climate.

Our helpful staff has formulas to determine the best heating system for your needs and then we’ll even factory modify the cuts and drill points for the heater and/or fan and include those in the installation instructions too!

Size

Our designs are modular and built in two foot increments. We can customize any size and fit any greenhouse to an existing foundation. We also offer a series of feature sizes such as 8×12 and 12×16 which are popular sizes with customers and offer extra savings. View our feature greenhouse models here.

Climate

If you live in an area prone to high winds, heavy snow or the occasional hurricane, some consideration should be given to the weather tightness of the greenhouse with respect to drafts, water penetration and strength. We can engineer greenhouses according to your regional specifications regarding wind and snow loads in all states and provinces. Whether you live in a hot and dry climate or cold and wet region, one of our 4 unique glazing systems will work for you.

Location

Locate the greenhouse so that 6 hours of sunlight per day is available during winter months. Anything less and you may have to supplement with grow lights. If possible, align the longest side of your greenhouse to face south. This permits the roof to attract the most amount of sunlight during the day.

Some growing examples

A Cool House

Our customer Jennifer lives in mild climate and wants to winter over. Jen chose a greenhouse with single glass sidewalls and a twinwall polycarbonate roof. She maintains a night temperature of 40 – 45 Fahrenheit (5 – 7 Celsius) to protect her fuchsias, begonias and the polycarbonate roof adds extra protection for her tomatoes and peppers in the summer. The best of both worlds!

A Warm House

Tom lives in a colder climate that sees a significant amount of snow but he wanted to grow citrus trees, orchids and fox- gloves. A Cape Cod fivewall polycarbonate was the perfect fit and with very little additional heat, Tom could maintain the night temperature of 55 Fahrenheit (13 Celsius). The fivewall polycarbonate glazing allowed for the best combination of light transmission and heat retention. The steep pitch of the roof causes the snow to simply slide off!

A Hot House

Nicholas wanted to create more living and growing space. He liked the idea of the home attached Pacific double glass and then was sold on its energy efficiency and was amazed at how easy is was to maintain a night temperature of 65 Fahrenheit (18 Celsius). He upgraded to the low E glass with the beauty capping and now has a three season sitting and growing room for his tropical and rare houseplants.