Before you can build a greenhouse, you must decide where it will be located. This looks elementary, but careful thought must be given to the location and orientation of the finished greenhouse.
First you must decide the location on your lot. If an attached greenhouse is planned, it must be on the south side of whatever building it is to be attached to. Failing that, a Southeast facing is better than a southwest one. Since the sun is shining directly into the greenhouse in the morning when the air temperature is the lowest, a tendency to overheat is reduced. If facing southwest, the greenhouse may overheat on sunny afternoons. North facing greenhouses should be avoided.
If the greenhouse is to be freestanding, think about placing it to the north of some deciduous trees, like maples and oaks. The trees drop their leaves in the autumn, allowing the full winter sun to shine in the greenhouse. Then, in the spring, the leaves grow out, providing shade to the greenhouse.
A level spot is best, as it produces the least construction problems. But a south or southeast facing slope can be advantageous. More digging of dirt is needed for a slope built greenhouse, but since the back wall will be partially or fully covered with dirt heating requirements will be reduced.
Next is the orientation of the greenhouse. Align it east / west or north south? The commercial drawer seems to prefer a north south orientation as it looks to create even more distribution of sunlight. But this sees, as indicated by some research, to depend upon latitude. Above about forty degrees north east / west orientation seems better.
And some thought should be given to electric, water and gas lines. How easy will it be to run these into the house, should they be desired. Water, especially, is nice to have right in the greenhouse. Carrying water for a lot of plants is no fun, and running a hose through the yard can be aggravating. Electricity in a greenhouse can be a disaster if not done properly. Be sure any circuit going in is equipped with GFI.
Make sure before you build the greenhouse that the site you choose is the best one. A lot of thought must be put into the location and orientation of the greenhouse.
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Source by Paul Wonning