For many experienced gardeners, the next evolution in their home gardening is installing a greenhouse on their property to help extend their growing season. Unfortunately, greenhouses can be incredibly expensive to build new or to purchase pre-built; this means the only option for many is to convert old structures into a greenhouse. So, can you turn a metal shed into a greenhouse?
You can turn a metal shed into a greenhouse, though it is not an easy process or practical for most people. Converting a metal shed into a greenhouse is like turning a house into a barn–it’s possible, but generally isn’t recommended for people. This project takes a massive amount of time and money.
Converting a metal shed into a greenhouse is no easy process, and for many people, it is not recommended. Read on to learn more about how you could turn a metal shed into a greenhouse, why it isn’t recommended, other things you could do with a metal shed, and tips for building a greenhouse.
Converting a Metal Shed Into a Greenhouse: Explained
Let’s say you’re incredibly ingenious and have a knack for turning old things into new, workable objects. You might see an old metal shed on your property and think to yourself: what could I turn this shed into? If you’re a gardener, one of your first thoughts might be to convert the shed into a greenhouse. This is for good reason–metal is a great insulator, and you could feasibly grow plants as long as there was plenty of sunlight.
Unfortunately, sometimes people tend to take on tasks that are sometimes more than they are able to manage. Converting a metal shed into a greenhouse is often one of these tasks. While this article will address later why this isn’t the best idea, let’s look at how one could do such a thing. The clearest answer would be to use the pre-existing structure of the shed to build a new greenhouse.
Generally speaking, metal sheds contain two major parts: a metal “skeleton” that holds the structure together, and the metal siding creating the walls and roof of the shed. Assuming your metal shed has these two parts, the easiest way to convert the shed from metal to a greenhouse would be to take the metal siding off of the skeleton and replace it with plastic sheets, fiberglass, glass, or clear plastic siding.
You might decide that you want to leave some of the metal sidings on in places where sunlight doesn’t flow through in large amounts in order to help insulate the structure better. For example, you might decide to keep the siding on in a few places below the knee in height. That way, you’ll have great insolation and need to purchase less siding.
Why You Shouldn’t Convert a Metal Shed to a Greenhouse
As someone who gardens frequently, it’s a fairly safe bet to say that you care about the environment. Assuming this is true, the idea of recycling the metal framing and sheeting of a shed in order to convert it into a greenhouse is certainly altruistic, but this goal of recycling by building a greenhouse probably isn’t too realistic for multiple reasons. In fact, there are far better uses for your scrap metal.
The first reason that converting a metal shed into a greenhouse doesn’t make the most sense is because of how labor-intensive converting the greenhouse would be. Removing the scrap metal, purchasing new siding materials, installing this within the structure of the metal shed, and populating the greenhouse with proper materials is no easy task. While there are certainly difficult DIY projects, this is one that exceeds typical levels of difficulty.
Another reason that converting a metal shed into a greenhouse isn’t the best idea is because of how easy it is to build a new greenhouse from scratch. With a few pieces of wood, nails, plastic sheeting, and a door, you can easily build a brand-new greenhouse to fit the size and shape specifications you want. While it is true that this might just be seen as replacing one DIY project with another, this project is far more manageable.
Finally, it might not make sense for you to convert a metal shed into a greenhouse because of how expensive it is. You can purchase easy-to-assemble greenhouses for relatively cheap. Though these won’t necessarily be the highest quality, a DIY greenhouse from a metal shed won’t be either. And, because you could always sell the scrap metal from your shed to a scrapyard, you might even be able to afford a new greenhouse by just recycling the aluminum.
Other Things To Do With Your Metal Shed
Assuming you decide against converting your metal shed into a greenhouse, there are plenty of other things you can do with your old metal shed. While some of these might be gardening related, you don’t need to limit yourself to just gardening. Old metal sheds can make great home offices, potting sheds, or just a new place to store materials you might not use regularly.
One of the best things you can use your old metal shed for is a place to store yard equipment. If your property has a metal shed on it, this probably means that you have some sort of yard or greenspace that you regularly maintain. If this is the case, metal sheds can be great for storing yard maintenance supplies, particularly machinery. You can easily build a small ramp into your shed and use it as a place to store lawnmowers, weed whackers, snow blowers, and more.
Another great thing you can use your old metal shed for is creating a place to store home maintenance equipment. Many properties that have a pool on the premises, for example, have a small shed that stores all of the proper filters, chemicals, and tools necessary to keep a pool functional.
Others use these sheds as a workspace for any woodworking or plastering projects. You could also turn your shed into a potting shed. The ideas are endless, and you definitely can put an old shed to good work.
Tips for Building a Greenhouse
If you’ve decided to avoid converting your metal shed into a greenhouse but are still determined to build your own greenhouse, we applaud your effort. Building a greenhouse, though manageable, can still be a difficult task. However, there are a few tips you can follow when building your greenhouse.
Build Your Greenhouse To Last
If you are deciding to build a greenhouse in the first place, you probably live in an environment that isn’t always hospitable to plant life, or you want to extend your growing season. If this is the case, you will need to build a greenhouse strong enough to survive the harshest of your climate’s elements. Be sure to use a strong, reinforced wood or other material for your structure’s skeleton, and invest in decent siding for your greenhouse.
Ensure Your Greenhouse Has Some Sort of Ventilation
Often, when people are building a greenhouse, they are most focused on figuring out how to retain heat during the cold months of the year. What people often overlook is the fact that, if greenhouses don’t have enough ventilation, your plants can die from overheating. Be sure to install some sort of ventilation to prevent this.
Insulate Your Greenhouse Well To Keep It Pest Free
The entire reason for building a greenhouse is to give your plants a warm, safe space to stay in the winter. Unfortunately for you, plants are not the only creatures looking for these kinds of spaces. Pests like mice, squirrels, and other rodents love to live inside greenhouses during the winter. Ensure you insulate your greenhouse well to prevent unwelcome creatures from getting in.
Though the potential to convert a metal shed into a greenhouse is certainly tempting, often, the work that goes into the process is not enough to warrant converting the structure. While it is possible to do so, we advise against trying to convert your metal shed into a greenhouse. Instead, you can use your shed for other purposes, or you can deconstruct it and sell the metal so that you can purchase or build your own greenhouse.