what happens when an orchid hobby grows too big to keep it inside?
👩: “Honey, can you make me a green house for my orchids?”
And what do we do? Of course we build it! Because that’s what we do and that’s what we like to do.
At the time of building this green house, I didn’t have any knowledge about how to build such a thing, nor did I have any special tools. So, I just made up things on the go and actually it turned out quite sturdy. The joins are all pretty shabby, probably all of them with gaps, but this being more or less a cube, it just keeps itself upright and with enough screws to hold it together, it’s not going anywhere.
I made my wife’s green house in 2016 and I didn’t have a detailed description in mind, so what follows is just what I remember of this building process.
Since we live in the Caribbean, it’s always in the 80’s and 90’s. At midday we’re usually at 90F, and at night the temperature drops generally to about 78F. So no need for windows, but a strong need for shade.
2×4’s, 2×2’s and a few 2×3’s.
Many screws and no glue.
The netting is just regular garden netting with sun blocking properties. I think it blocks 60% of the sun light.
Many staples to hold the netting.
Some mesh wire for the table tops.
Thompson’s waterproofing stain
Some corner brackets
When I built this green house, I didn’t have many tools. So here is the short list of tools I have used:
Step by step instructions
Since I have to do this by memory, and because I made this greenhouse without a real building plan, I’ll give only a general description.
The basic structure, the ‘cube’ so to say, I made from 2×4’s, of 2 meters in length (6’6″).
The ground square
I laid out 4 2×4‘s of 2m on the ground and created what I call L-joints. The joints are as follows:
The squiggly things are where I put the screws. The biggest problem I had with this was that I only had a hand saw, and I’m by no means a hand saw artist, so sawing a 90 degree cut is next to impossible for me. However, the screws keep the thing together, although not as a perfect square but close enough that it seems square.
Then I set up the vertical 2×4‘s
the corners and door posts are 2×4‘s. The beams halfway the sides are 2×2‘s, as well as the beams opposite the door frame. I put these in later.
I made dowel connections and used corner brackets to secure the 2×4 beams in place.
For the two vertical beams that form the door, I only used dowels, because I didn’t like the look of the corner brackets.
The top square
I made this the same way as the ground square, and just put it on top of the standing beams.
I screwed the top square on the standing beams with deck screws, always pre-drilling the screw holes in order to prevent splitting of the wood.
At this point I noted that my construction wasn’t exactly square nor vertical.
So I used rope to pull the cube straight, and then put the 45 degree corners in the bottom. I noticed that this isn’t the best way to go, but I wasn’t about to take the thing down and start over, so now the green house stands more or less vertically, although it does have a deviation from the vertical axis, but this was the best I could do at this point 🙂
2×2 vertical beams
at this point I put in the 2×2 vertical beams, halfway the sides, and opposite the door frame.
I don’t remember, but I think I secured these in place with two screws both on the top and bottom.
I put the roof beams at 30 degrees so this took a little calculating, but I got it right and the beams fit remarkably well (yes there were opening in the joints, but having all this sawed by hand, I was quite content with the roof.
Removing the corner brackets
Since I don’t like the look of the corner brackets, I just rolled over the whole structure on it’s side and screwed in some deck screws to keep the vertical beams in place. Then I could take away the corner brackets.
Table tops are made with 2×3‘s for the main carrying beams. The rest are 2×2‘s just to support the mesh wire.
All of these beams are screwed into place with deck screws. And always pre-drilled with a small drill bit.
I used Thompsons stain (I’m not sure which type exactly, but I think I have some left over. If you like the color on the photo’s just leave a comment and I’ll look it up).
A 2 inch wide brush.
And put on two thin layers. You have to put this stuff on thin, otherwise you’re just wasting it.
After all, it might have been good to put it on using a piece of cloth, but I was satisfied with the result.
Table top mesh wire
I cut the table top mesh wire with a diagonal cutter and fastened it with staple nails.
The netting is done by basically just stapling the stuff on
I always doubled the netting at the edges, I think it holds better that way.
Don’t underestimate the amount of staples you’re going to use… 😉
I just purchased a ready made door. It’s cheap quality, so I think I’ll be replacing it within 5 years, but it saved me a lot of trouble.
Extra layer of netting
After about half a year, my wife noticed that too much sun was coming through the netting in the front, so I simply added another layer of netting.
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