Converting Unused Space Into a Practical Greenhouse

Ever since I began gardening I’ve had this nagging desire to have my own greenhouse. A place that was dedicated purely for propagating plants and storing them in some form of recognizable arrangement. Yet I’ve never had the chance, or the space, to construct one.

Even with our smallish suburban plot I found I was once again limited to making compromises. However, this time I was committed to seeing the ‘half-full glass’ rather than the ‘half-empty’ one.

And, Voila! Here is the logical outcome.

This is the side of my shed. Not any side, mind you, but a North-facing side – very important for us southern hemispherean gardeners! It’s main purpose is to keep the other 3 side walls erect (and gives somewhere for the roof to hang on to as well). Apart from that, it’s just a thoroughfare for the wood pile at the rear.

Look closer and you’ll begin to be inspired by the possibilities. Here is a wall pleading to be utilised and so I consented by erecting some framework for future shelving.

What about the cover, I hear you ask? Well, here is the genius… One of the problems with our climate is that in summer it gets far too hot for far too long. So I couldn’t just construct a standard greenhouse or all the plants would sizzle in summer and die. Therefore I needed another option and it came quite suddenly and somewhat divinely – in other words I can’t remember how I came up with it!

I plan to have two types of cover – clear plastic sheeting for the cooler months and UV-resistant shade cloth for the warmer ones. Both of them will be made as single, continuous sheets that can be taken off and put back on again.

Here’s how they will be attached;

  1. Steel REO bars – approximately 2m long – will be concreted 500mm into the ground opposite the shed wall and on the other side of the 2m wide path. They will be spaced out at 1m intervals requiring 6 for my 5m long shed.
  2. Channels will be sown into both the clear sheeting and the shade cloth at similar intervals wide enough for 20mm PVC pipe to travel through – much like a tent would work.
  3. Then brackets will be attached to the roofline at the same width intervals and will hold the PVC piping.
  4. Once these things are in place it’s simply a matter of pushing the PVC piping through the channels on the cover and placing one end through the roof brackets and the other over the vertical REO bar. This will create a half-dome effect.
  5. As the seasons switch the covers can be interchanged to turn the greenhouse into a shadehouse and vice versa.

It’s a very simple system but will provide me with the space to grow a quantity of plants both for use in the garden and also for experimentation. I’ll keep you updated with progress photos. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Additionally, we participates in various other affiliate programs, and we sometimes get a commission through purchases made through our links.