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How to Convert a Shed to a Greenhouse

Converting a shed to a greenhouse involves careful demolition, planning a possible move and a few redesign considerations.

A small, unused or unneeded but sound shed can give your plants an early start, if you convert it to a greenhouse. Basically, a shed's bones or skeletal framework isn't much different -- if at all -- from that of its warm, humid, seed-starting counterpart. This is a relatively involved undertaking, but a few general guidelines can get you thinking about the transformation.

Stripping Down

Basically, you'll start your shed-to-greenhouse transformation by working backwards -- undoing the build in the opposite way the structure came together. The door and any windows likely were the last parts installed, so remove them before dismantling any siding, interior- and exterior-plywood wall panels and roofing materials -- the wall studs, headers, roof trusses and flooring make up integral parts of the greenhouse's structure. The tools and gear you'll need include:

  • Crowbar
  • Nail puller or hammer to remove nails
  • Drill or screwdriver to remove screws
  • Hardhat, work gloves and safety glasses

Warning

  • Periodically, check the shed's stability. During the dismantling process, the structure may become weak, depending on how well it was built originally. Support the building with braces, as needed.
  • Taking apart a shed involves injury risks; work with a partner, and wear safety gear, including a hardhat, dust mask and protective eye wear. 

On the Move

For seeds or seedlings to flourish, you may need to move the shed, if it wasn't constructed in a sunny or south-facing location. Although the stripped-down building is lighter than it was when fully clad, the move can be a heavy project. To move a small shed a short distance, you may only require poles or pipes as rollers, lumber as tracks and manpower to push it along. For a larger shed, you might need a skid or trailer, jacks to lift it and a winch to drag it to its new location.

Warning

Moving a shed comes with personal injury risks and can cause damage to your property and the shed. Do not attempt to move the building without help and safety gear, such as hardhats and safety glasses. Obtain any necessary permits. Hiring a professional mover is the safest option.

Wrap It Up

Contemplate your greenhouse's layout, from the plant shelving around the perimeter to a storage area for items, such as gardening hand tools, pots, fertilizers and a watering can. As for the ultraviolet-resistant plastic -- usually 6-mil polyethylene -- there's more to the wrapping process than draping and stapling; consider ventilation in the roof and lower side walls, fans, the door's design and any shade cloth for temperature and humidity control, depending on the climate.

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