The average greenhouse will cost you around $10,000. However, this price varies significantly depending on the size and type of greenhouse you’re after. It’s possible to build a greenhouse for less than $500 or to go all out and spend well over $20,000.
In this article, we’ll look at the average cost of small and commercial greenhouses. We’ll also dive into the different types of materials available, their prices, and greenhouse building add-ons to consider.
How Much Does A Greenhouse Cost?
A small hoop-style greenhouse can easily be thrown together for less than $100. On the other hand, a large, commercial-quality greenhouse or custom-built backyard structure could easily cost upwards of $20,000. How much your new greenhouse is going to cost depends entirely on four factors:
- The size or floor area.
- Construction materials
- Whether you’ll build it yourself or hire professionals.
- Additional features/finishing like irrigation and insulation.
Small Greenhouse Cost
Average Greenhouse Cost: $50 to $500
Small greenhouses come in many different shapes and types. Hoop houses are highly affordable and easy to build yourself, while freestanding A-frame structures are more versatile but require some building expertise or the purchase of a prefabricated kit.
Luckily, small greenhouse kits are becoming more popular, which has driven down their prices and made them easy to find. You can now get a 48-square-foot freestanding polycarbonate greenhouse kit from Amazon.
To better understand how much your small greenhouse will cost, we need to look at the average per-square-foot price and the typical price of the most popular types of greenhouses in this size category.
Per Square Foot
The average price per square foot increases exponentially the larger the greenhouse gets. This is typically due to the quality of the building materials needed to ensure the greenhouse is structurally safe and sound.
The table below looks at the size of different greenhouses (left) and the associated average price per square foot (right).
|Greenhouse Size||Average Price per Square Foot|
|Up to 50 square feet||$3 to $9|
|50 to 100 square feet||$5 to $20|
|100 to 250 square feet||$8 to $30|
As you can see, there is quite a range in the average price per square foot. That is because different greenhouses styles require different materials, some of which are far more expensive than others. The differences in these expenses become more exaggerated as the size of the greenhouse increases.
A better way to estimate the cost of your new small greenhouse is to price the options out by style since it gives you a much more accurate sense of how far your money will go.
The table below outlines how much each style of greenhouse typically costs. Each price range illustrates the typical cost of the smallest models to the typical cost of the largest models available.
|Hoop||$10 to $250|
|Collapsible||$60 to $200|
|A-Frame||$300 to $5,000|
Note: Geodesic domes do not come in a large range of sizes. Most are around 12 feet wide.
Size Range: 10 to 250 sq ft
Price Range: $10 to $250
Average Price/Sq Ft: $1.50
Hoop greenhouses utilize a simple structure of bent and anchored PVC or fiberglass tubes (though larger houses may use aluminum or steel tubes). This frame is typically covered in inexpensive plastic sheeting. The length and number of tubes determine how large the greenhouse will be.
Smaller hoop houses are easy to construct using cheap materials from your local home improvement store. You can also find hoop house kits online, which are typically built directly over an existing garden.
Size Range: 3 to 200 sq ft
Price Range: $60 to $200
Average Price/Sq Ft: $3
Collapsible greenhouses have easy to assemble and disassemble plastic or metal frames, which are typically covered in pre-formed plastic sheeting. They also often feature zippered or velcro doors and vents.
These compact greenhouses are meant to be used on decks and patios rather than in the garden and are designed to be portable.
Models with small footprints typically have vertical shelves to maximize space. Most models top out around 50 square feet, with a few products as large as 200 square feet available.
Size Range: 50 to 250 square feet
Price Range: $300 to $5,000
Average Price/Sq Ft: $13
A-frame greenhouses are freestanding structures complete with roofs and walls. Some utilize the typical roofline of a house, while others take on more of a sloped roof-to-ground shape.
These greenhouses utilize aluminum, plastic, or steel frames and solid glazed panels rather than sheeting, making them more expensive than other options. These panels can be polycarbonate or glass.
Many companies make kits for easy do-it-yourself install projects. These kits tend to cost less than building a custom-glazed greenhouse.
The glazed walls and roofs of A-frame greenhouses make them more durable and stable. Most are large enough to walk in, and larger models require a foundation to be anchored into.
Size Range: usually around 12 feet across
Price Range: $500 to $1,500
Average Price/Sq Ft: $10
Geodesic greenhouses have a unique domed shape and look similar to an igloo.
Its frame is usually plastic, aluminum, or steel. As for its cover, cheaper models use clear plastic or vinyl, while more expensive options utilize glazed panels of polycarbonate.
Most models marketed for backyard use are around 12 feet wide. Their unique design makes them one of the more expensive options, especially if you opt for a model with glazing.
Average Greenhouse Cost: $30,000
Commercial greenhouses are much larger than those the average homeowner would put in their backyard—most average between 2,000 and 6,000 square feet.
But for cost comparisons, we’ll consider anything over 250 square feet as a large, commercial-style greenhouse.
Due to their large footprint, commercial greenhouses use more cost-effective materials. Most utilize a steel or aluminum frame that is covered in thick, durable plastic sheeting. However, more advanced commercial operations may use a freestanding steel frame with glass or polycarbonate glazing.
Per Square Foot
Unlike a hobby greenhouse, which tends to get more expensive per square foot as you increase in size, a commercial greenhouse gets cheaper. This is because most of these products are made with the same materials regardless of size.
The table below shows the average cost per square foot of a commercial greenhouse (right) based on specific size ranges (left).
|Greenhouse Size||Average Cost per Square Foot|
|250 to 500 sq ft||$25 to $75|
|500 to 1,000 sq ft||$11 to $25|
|1,000 sq ft to 5,000 sq ft||$7 to $20|
|5,000 sq ft and up||$12 to $21|
A greenhouse between 250 and 500 square feet is, by far, the most expensive because this size range spans the gap between hobby and commercial. Most customers shopping in this range are looking for an oversized greenhouse for their yard.
Unlike a commercial greenhouse building that is designed for utility, these large greenhouses are made of quality materials, such as powder-coated steel and glass, to look as good as they function.
In short, this size range caters to a specific demographic of homeowners willing to pay top dollar for a large personal-use greenhouse.
Cost of Greenhouse Construction Materials
A greenhouse kit offers a low-cost option for building a hobby greenhouse in your yard. But if you want something more customized or are looking for a budget pricing, building your own greenhouse from scratch may be the best option. Not only does this lower costs overall, but it gives you more control of the final product.
The table below gives you a general idea of how much a construction project like this will cost. But you can easily save more by choosing more affordable materials, which we provide more information on in the next sections.
|Framing||$2.00 per linear foot|
|Flooring||$5.90 per square foot|
|Foundation||$3 per square foot|
|Walls||$3.5 per square foot|
|Doors (prefabricated)||$1,200 each|
Greenhouse framing materials come in a handful of different options. Plastic and aluminum framing are the most common for smaller greenhouses, whereas large commercial structures use steel.
If you are creating a DIY greenhouse, you can get creative with your framing options, even recycling materials you already have. While wood is commonly used for homemade greenhouses, we don’t recommend it, given how poorly it fares in humid conditions.
Below, we outline the most common framing materials used in greenhouse construction and their average cost.
|Framing Material||Average Cost per Linear Foot|
Most greenhouses do not include a floor as part of the structure. This gives you many options for finishing your greenhouse floor. The simplest and least expensive option for your greenhouse is to simply leave it as dirt and plant directly into the ground. If you want better weed control, you can opt for an inexpensive ground cover such as gravel or rubber mats. More expensive options include durable plastic sheeting and pavers.
Below, we outline the most common flooring options for a greenhouse and what you can expect to pay for each. These estimates do not include installation costs.
|Flooring Material||Price per Square Foot|
|Durable Plastic Sheeting||$3.50|
A larger greenhouse may require a sturdy foundation not only to ensure a level surface but to anchor the building to.
Concrete slab is the most common foundation material for a greenhouse, but it has some pitfalls. Using solid slabs of any kind means not being able to plant directly into the ground. Plus, concrete significantly reduces a greenhouse’s ability to hold heat overnight.
You can also use concrete to pour a border foundation that will still allow you to access the earth inside the greenhouse.
Similarly, you can create a border foundation using wood. This option is especially cost-effective as the materials are cheaper, and it doesn’t generally require a professional to complete.
|Greenhouse Foundation Material||Cost|
|Wood Border||$1.50 per linear foot|
|Concrete||$4.50 per square foot|
You have two main options regarding the walls of your greenhouse – flexible sheeting or solid glazing. Determining which option you should choose will depend on the greenhouse style and the frame type.
Plastic sheeting, which is generally made of polyethylene, comes in various thicknesses and opacity levels. On the other hand, solid glazes include corrugated plastic, twin-wall polycarbonate, and glass.
Below, we outline the most common greenhouse wall materials and the associated costs. Corrugated plastic and polycarbonate come in varying grades with different price points.
|Wall Material||Average Cost per Square Foot|
|Corrugated Plastic||$1.00 to $3.40|
|Twin Wall Polycarbonate||$1.5 to $6.50|
Every greenhouse needs a door. In fact, if you plan to bring big plants in and out or want to be able to get your wheelbarrow in, you’ll need double doors or a large overhead.
For a greenhouse with plastic sheeting, making a door is as simple as overlaying extra sheeting that can be rolled up. On a simple A-frame greenhouse, you can typically get away with framing out a door and adding some hinges. But on larger buildings, you’ll have to shell out a good amount of cash on a sliding door or roll-up overhead door.
The table below looks at different door options and outlines how much, on average, you can expect to pay for each.
|Aluminum Hinges||$7 each|
|Prefabricated Sliding Door||$900 to $1500|
|Roll-up Overhead Door||$850|
Additional Greenhouse Costs to Consider
Aside from the structure, you can also expect to spend some money on add-ons to make the greenhouse more useful. This includes everything from heating appliances to ventilation options and irrigation systems. Of course, the overall cost of these items depends on the size of your greenhouse and whether they need to be automated.
There are many ways to heat a greenhouse. Some options, like passive solar capture, cost almost nothing after a low initial investment. Other options cost a lot upfront and continue to require money input each month that you use them.
Some of the most common ways to heat a greenhouse include:
- Passive Solar – Water, rock, and soil absorb heat and hold it very well. Using these high thermal mass materials in your greenhouse will help distribute heat naturally overnight. You’ll have to pay anywhere from $1.50 to $18 per cubic yard upfront.
- Heat Sinks – Heat sinks are pits with high thermal mass material that is covered and vented using a wide, hollow tube. Depending on the material, these heating options can be incredibly cost-effective for a greenhouse. Moreover, they deliver consistent heating at no additional cost.
- Electric Heaters – Electric heaters are a good option for heating a small greenhouse overnight. They range in price from $50 to $300 upfront and average about $1.60 to heat a 250-square-foot greenhouse each night.
- Natural Gas & Propane Heaters – They cost more upfront but are more efficient to run in large-scale environments. Your typical gas heater costs between $600 and $3,400 upfront and averages about $4.50 to heat a 1,000-square-foot greenhouse each night.
- Hot Water Heating – Hot water heating involves running tubes filled with circulating hot water through your greenhouse beds or flooring. Solar water heating panels cost as little as $35 per panel but require a pump to circulate the heated water through the system.
- Solar Energy – Solar panels are a great way to power electric heaters and hot water pumps. Solar panel systems cost between $3,500 and $35,000 depending on the type but are a worthy investment due to their positive environmental impact.
During sunny days, your greenhouse needs adequate ventilation to avoid dangerously high temperatures inside. For collapsible greenhouses and hoop houses, you can just roll up the walls. But for greenhouses with solid walls, you will need to install ventilation options upfront.
Some of the most common greenhouse ventilation options include:
- Auto Vent Openers – These spring arms automatically open and close vent panels as the temperature increases and decreases. Each opener averages about $30.
- Fans – Fans help circulate air and move cooler air inside. They range in price from $50 for a small solar-powered fan to $300 plus dollars for a large electric greenhouse fan.
- Sidewall Crank – Large greenhouses with plastic sheeting walls will need a manual winch or automatic crank system to roll the sheeting up and down. These systems start at around $25 for the crank itself.
Insulation options for a greenhouse help retain heat while still allowing light in. Some of the most common options include:
- Bubble Wrap – You can pick up packing bubble wrap for as little as $0.13 per square foot.
- Bubble Insulation – This is similar to bubble wrap but are made specifically for lining greenhouses. Most products run around $0.70 per square foot.
Depending on what you want to grow in your greenhouse, you may need extra lighting. This is generally the case if you want to grow vegetables in your greenhouse during the fall or winter.
Many vegetables require a certain amount of light each day to produce well. Using grow lights lets you trick the plants into thinking the sun is still up. Greenhouse grow lights can cost anywhere from $50 to $1,200 each, depending on the size. A 400-watt grow light will cost you around $0.10 per hour to power.
Irrigation systems that allow for automatic watering are convenient in hobby greenhouses but are necessary for commercial operations.
For the hobbyist, you can pick up a drip system for around $0.25 per foot. You can easily add a hose timer to the system to make it automatic for around $30.
For larger commercial buildings, you may opt for a simple drip system or an overhead watering system. The cost range for this starts at a few cents per foot, while installation can cost upward of $3,000.
Before you can irrigate your greenhouse, you will need to run water into the area first. If your greenhouse is far from your hose spigot, you’ll have to budget some money to have a landscaper run irrigation.
Budgeting Your Greenhouse Building Project Costs
The average hobby greenhouses cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to upwards of $5,000, depending on size. A small hoop greenhouse is the cheapest option, while a quality A-frame greenhouse project requires a sizable investment.
For a commercial greenhouse building, you can expect to pay thousands of dollars, but the price per foot is significantly less. You’ll also need to factor in construction and installation costs with these structures.
On top of the costs of the building itself, you should also factor in the price of accessories and utilities that will make your greenhouse usable for plant cultivation. What kind of plants you plan to work with, whether it’s flowers, vegetables, or even lawn, will determine the best setup for your needs.