A greenhouse is a must for any keen gardener. It’s the ideal place for sowing seeds, taking cuttings and protecting your plants from the elements, but it can also have other uses and benefits – not least that it can be used as a year-round retreat where you can enjoy some ‘me time’ and admire the fruits of your labour.
Read on to discover how you can get the best out of your greenhouse.
Design your layout
Layout and organisation are key in any greenhouse, but especially small ones. Don’t overcrowd it, instead, be ruthless and try to get rid of as much clutter as possible and consider how you can makes zones in the space to use it as efficiently as possible. You may want a storage area, or separate areas for edible and non-edible plants, and don’t forget to leave enough room for a workstation where you can do all your potting. It’s also best to make the most of your vertical space by adding shelves, hooks and hanging pots.
Add a seating area
Setting up a little nook with a chair or bench where you can put up your feet and relax will help make your greenhouse feel cosy and more like an extension of your home. Add a cushion for comfort and a blanket for when there’s a chill in the air – textiles will soften the space and if you go for bright colours, they’ll distract from any clutter!
Give it a good clean
If you enjoy spending time in your greenhouse, it’s worth keeping it as clean as possible so it feels like a welcoming retreat. At the very least, give it a scrub to get rid of any moss, dirt, mould and any bugs that might be lurking in there every autumn, before it’s filled with tender plants for the winter. Starting with the outside, spray the greenhouse with a lifting agent, then gently agitate it with a soft brush before using a hot jet wash, set at 60°C, to blast off the soap and get into the tiny places that algae and dirt collects.
Use it for entertaining
Want to eat al-fresco but without the threat of wasps, sudden downpours or gusts of wind? If it’s big enough to hold a table and chairs, a greenhouse is the perfect space for relaxed soirées and will allow you to extend your time spent outside. Opt for furniture in natural materials such as rattan and wood and add lanterns to create a warm ambience. Discover more garden entertaining ideas here.
Invest in the best
When it comes to choosing a greenhouse, you want one that’s built to last, but enhances your garden and is somewhere you’ll look forward to spending time. You also want to find a reputable greenhouse company that cares about the whole process, from finding what’s right for you to making sure setting up goes smoothly. Alitex’s beautiful Victorian aluminium greenhouses have the stamp of approval from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, so not only do they look good, but you can also be assured of their quality. Request a brochure and explore the full range here.
Create some shade
Too much direct sunlight in the summer can scorch plant leaves, encourage pests and make your greenhouse unbearably hot, so cool things down by allowing air to circulate and adding some shade. Invest in some external shades or throw a large piece of hessian netting over the roof (the edges should reach the floor so you can weigh it down with bricks or large stones), apply greenhouse shade paint to the outside (just remember to wash it off again come autumn), or clip internal shade netting to the frame of the roof.
Keep the heat in
When you buy a greenhouse that is fitted to a dwarf wall, you’ll effectively be adding insulation from the get-go, but if yours isn’t, to encourage it to hold in warmth over the winter, try insulating it with bubble wrap. Unfortunately, bubble wrap is one thing the garden world hasn’t found an alternative to when it comes to insulating greenhouses, but during the year, if you set aside any that comes with your post, come winter, you should have plenty. If your only option is to buy it, you’ll find large rolls at your local garden centre. Start with the sides, fixing the bubble wrap to the frames with all-weather tape, then do the roof. Ensure all the panels are covered and any draughts are sealed. This effectively acts as double glazing for your greenhouse, just make sure you take it down carefully, so you can re-use it year after year.