What are the benefits of a lean to greenhouse?
A greenhouse makes so much more of the gardening year. You can start growing early in spring, you can finish late in autumn and you can keep things looking great over winter. But a greenhouse can take up a lot of space. You do after all need a few feet all around a traditional greenhouse for maintenance and to allow light into the structure. So, if you want a greenhouse but are limited on space, look no further than a lean to greenhouse. They are fantastic.
A lean to does what it says in the name – they lean against a wall. I’ve seen them leaning against sturdy fencing to great effect. The pent shape roof then slopes downwards and, voila, you have a superb growing area.
Three benefits of a lean to greenhouse
- Size: Lean-tos can be small – capable of growing a growbag of tomatoes or a few tender plants – or as big as you want. Or, to be accurate, as big as the wall.
- Structure: The wall acts as a superb backdrop to the greenhouse and shelving can easily be fixed to sound brick structures.
- Heat: It’s also wonderful for keeping things warm. The sun will warm the wall which, in turn, radiates the heat back into the structure at night keeping things cosy.
Planning for a lean to greenhouse
There are a couple of points worth thinking about when planning your lean to. Whatever wall or fence you are leaning it against has to be absolutely sound, straight and not liable to crumble or rot. It is, after all, providing essential support. Check that nothing overhangs the planned position of the lean-to and do ensure you can get to the roof and sides for regular maintenance and cleaning.
Then you have the nice points to remember! Make your lean to as big as your budget or space allows. Every greenhouse owner says that, after a year, they are running out of space. And the same thing goes for lean-tos. Always ensure you create easy access to and into the lean to. Shelves – should be easy to remove so that your space is adaptable. Little seedlings do tend to grow into big plants especially after all your care and attention. Shelves that are easily removed will allow better usage.
To really get the best from your lean to, investigate heating and insulation. A cold lean-to, ie unheated, will keep a degree or two of cold off your plants but a hard frost may still kill off tender seedlings and plants. Heaters are as cheap or as expensive as you want (running electricity to your lean-to is the ultimate – heating, lighting and propagators – nice!) and insulation is simple to install. In the heat of summer, you may well want to consider putting shading up as any extreme temperature will put plants under stress.