Balcony greenhouse

GambolMay 23, 2004

I just build a mini greenhouse for the balcony. I used a salvaged frame (aquarium stand?) from someone's garbage and bought transparent vinyl and tape. Total cost of the project : less than 10$!

Here are some pics from today (no sun):

I plan on making a greenhouse of my whole balcony this fall. Anyone has experience to share on that?

Here is a link that might be useful:

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Dawny(5 MI)

I would like to do this. Can I leave them out in winter. Email me at

    Bookmark   May 23, 2004 at 6:21PM
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BrooklynPhill(z6 NY)

That is terrific! I may just take my old fishtank, turn it upside down, and make a mini-greenhouse. I still have a tank heater - maybe put in a container of water inside the greenhouse to keep it moist and warm during the Winter? I'm gonna try it!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2004 at 10:02PM
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henryr10(z6 OH)

We built a PVC and plastic sheeting Hoophouse late last Winter (early March).
It's 9' x 12' and 7' in the middle.
The inside temps ranged from 80-40 D/N w/ no heat source.
The outside temps ranged from 60-28 D/N.
This was w/ 6 hours morning thru early afternoon sun.

As this style of greenhouse is basically portable it perfect for a balconery or deck.

I have a few shots in an album labeled HoopHouse.


Here is a link that might be useful: HoopHouse

    Bookmark   June 21, 2004 at 10:58AM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

Nice idea, Gambol!

Ric, I don't see that album in the link you gave.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2004 at 8:25AM
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henryr10(z6 OH)

Sorry for the confusion.
I deleted that album late Saturday.
The pics are in the House & Garden Construction Album.


    Bookmark   June 28, 2004 at 12:07PM
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xeppi(Zone 7 VA)

Gambol, that is a neat mini-greenhouse! Have you thought about how you would make your whole balcony a greenhouse? I've also considered this but am unsure how to go about it. I have a screened in porch (two sides screened, one side terra cotta block with wooden door and last side, brick, kitchen door and window) so if I taped vinyl from floor to ceiling on the two exposed sides do you think that would work?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2004 at 9:50AM
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Thank you all for your comments.

henryr10, right on! I like that Hoophouse! I definitely want a greenhouse attached to my house. But I need a house first... As for now, I'm still trying to figure out how I will make a greenhouse out of my balcony. I am having trouble with the rough brick side walls of the balcony. Right now, I think my best option would be to build a wooden frame on the inside of the side walls and front railing. I still have the summer to think it through...

xeppi, I think it would work if the surface is tape friendly (unlike my rough brick) and if you consider wind. I heard wind is the main ennemy of greenhoused balconies and porches :) It appears the wind always wants to enter the greenhouse... So we need to consider wind pressure on the vinyl.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2004 at 2:41AM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

I think you could still use the PVC idea that Ric suggested (as opposed to wood). And mainly due to the "flexibility" of the PVC in strong winds and other situations where wood, if not thick enough, might start to split or crack.

In the past, I have cobbled together a windscreen out of PVC and 4 mil (couldn't find 6mil at the time) plastic. I basically put together 2 "panels" at a 90° angle, to enclose a section of the balcony up against the wall/windows, with the 3rd side being a concrete column that partially separates the 2 halves of my balcony. In this case, I left the top open.

And with respect to the wind, you have to know the general patterns throughout the year to adjust for it accordingly. I know in my case, the winter winds from Nor'easters slam against my balcony head-on since I face NE. During the rest of the time, most of the winds are going from west to east, so I can usually block any cold NW winds by placing things on the eastern side of that separater column.

If you can find a way to secure at least the front or back part, I think you're most of the way there. I know on windy days, my panels wanted to take flight, but I had them secured to screws on the windows and to a nail that had been previously put in the concrete wall by the previous apartment dweller.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2004 at 8:23AM
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henryr10(z6 OH)

Within 30 minutes of finishing up the Hoophouse we were hit by a tremendous thunderstorm.
We had 30 mph S/W winds gusting to 55.
This went on for almost an hour.
The winds then shifted 90 degrees and we got hit again from the N/E.
Thru all this we were having torrential rains.

The Hoop rode it out perfectly. (W/ me in it! AWESOME!)
The tension on the PVC and the curved design allowed the structure to flex when and where it was needed.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2004 at 8:54PM
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PVC... I will look into that... It it pretty windy here since my building is on a small hill and my balcony is on 3rd (last) floor. So wind can blow pretty hard sometimes.

I don't know much about PVC.
How do you attach plastic to PVC tubing? I think Jenny used some clips?? Would tape do it?
Is PVC expensive?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2004 at 1:57PM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

I bought my PVC at Home Depot (I think you have those up there too plus equivalent types of warehouse style hardware stores). They sell the stuff in the plumbing section. It was like US$1.99 per 10ft pole (for the 1/2" size). They will actually saw it into sections for you if you give them the measurements. Then you can buy the different types of connectors (eg., the "T" or the "+", etc., to connect the pieces). Believe it or not, a connector can cost more than the whole tube! LOL

Still, this stuff makes a pretty decent panel. And for me, I'm up on the 18th floor and when the wind does decide to blow up here, it shakes the whole building!

Yes - I was el-cheapo using those old-fashioned paper clamps, the largest ones I could find... But they did hold. I was trying to figure out a better way because I did also use duct tape but that eventually dried out and came lose every once in awhile and there's nothing worse than the thing flapping open in the middle of a January blizzard. LOL

I wouldn't mind hearing of some alternative plastic attaching method myself.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2004 at 9:53PM
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Very cool gargoyles and creatures Henry! Love the Flamingos too. And, oh, yea, your garden too!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2004 at 4:25PM
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henryr10(z6 OH)


We just built the frame, hoop by hoop, mounted to a wood frame.
We then just threw the plastic over the whole deal,
folded it over the ends and taped it closed.
We then rolled up the excess, on the sides, and screwed thru the roll into the wood base frame.
Sretch this tight as you go.
The only place it's actually 'attached' is at the end where we had to do a cut-out.
We used zip-ties for this.
Just drive a pencil thru the plastic on both sides of the PVC slip a zip-tie thru, tape from the top, and viola!

The tape though is special.
It's NASCAR 200MPH duct tape.
You've seen it used in races after wrecks to hold the car pieces together.
It's sooooo sticky if you lay the roll down on it's side it sticks to the surface.

After 5 months, countless thunderstorms, 90 degree heat (120 inside the hoop) and hail, it still is holding on like new.


    Bookmark   July 29, 2004 at 8:53PM
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Cheysilo(z8 NC)

Wonderful idea about the balcony greenhouse!! Would it be a good idea to put 'all' my hibiscus in there through the winter: hardy and tropical ones. Thanks again for the greenhouse idea!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2004 at 11:28AM
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