How to Build a Better, Stronger $150 Hoop House Greenhouse

Last Updated: August 8, 2022

With a myriad of greenhouse options available online, a prepared shopper evaluates the strength and durability of a purchased, prefabricated greenhouse. Of most under $200 options available, the key advantages of building your own hoop house greenhouse are in size and how long your greenhouse will function.

When considering your first greenhouse for your homestead, a prepared survivalist understands growing food is critical to any long-term preparedness plan.

The ability to grow food throughout four seasons creates a sustainable system within your long-term food storage. In addition to more protection from the weather, you’ll also be able to moderate the temperature and watering of your plants.

In this article, we’ll be covering the basic structural design and components of a hoop house greenhouse for under $200 and a $50 DIY Hoop House Greenhouse project by David LaFerney.

How Big Should My Greenhouse Be?

Prefabricated Steel Hoop House Frame

Most prefabricated hoop house greenhouse frames are built for plants at less than 6 feet in height. For a good-sized greenhouse you can comfortably walk into, you’ll want to plan for at least 7 feet as the highest point of your greenhouse.

The greenhouse pictured below is 11 feet wide, 15 feet long, and about seven and a half feet tall. You can lengthen or shorten your greenhouse, but with this design, the width will need to be between 10-12 feet.

The Hoop House Greenhouse in 4 Sections

The essential working parts of a hoop house greenhouse are four.

First, you have a front and a back frame. With frames to support the front and back hoops, your structure is reinforced.

David LaFerney

Second, several arches create the ribbed structure of your hoop house greenhouse.

David LaFerney

Third, with four long beams of wood (or steel), each arch of your hoop house is reinforced.

David LaFerney

Lastly, greenhouse plastic.

Parts List and Estimated Costs

20′ x 3/4″ PVC Schedule 40 Plumbing Pipe6$4.23$25.38
1 x 6 x 8′ Pressure Treated Board — cut into 1 x 3s6$6.70$40.20
8′ Steel “T” Fence Post4$4.99$19.96
2 × 4 Stud — cut into 1 x 2s3$2.18$6.54
1 x 4 x 12′ Pressure Treated Board2$3.97$7.94
 2 x 4 x 16′ cut into 2 x 2s1$5.73$5.73
20′ x 1/2″ Rebar — cut into 18′ lengths1$7.91$7.91
8″ Nylon Wire Ties — 100 count0.75$4.88$3.66
1 1/4″ x 1 lb Drywall Screws0.5$5.47$2.74
16-Gauge Galvanized Utility Wire — 200 feet — for X braces0.3$6.97$2.09
3/8″ T-50 Staples — 1000 count0.25$2.97$0.74
20′ x 100′ x 6 mm Clear Plastic0.22$79.00$17.38
Estimated Total$140.27

You may have some of these materials in your storage already, or a neighbor’s got a yard sale next Tuesday. Either way, each item you repurpose and salvage is a way to save costs on growing food all year round. Every connector, every piece of wood, and each cinder block you have laying around is a way to build (and upgrade) your greenhouse. Remember, once you’re done, then you’re improving your DIY greenhouse for the next four seasons.

This hoop house greenhouse project by David LaFerney is an efficient combination of PVC and wood. For those with a construction background, the list creates a mental image of a blueprint. Materials come together in a simple building if you have that kind of builder’s experience. Nonetheless, since it’s such a simple design, anyone can start building one.

Why Not Go Glass?

Plastic (polyethylene) is cheaper and easier. Hoop house greenhouses are great for extending the growing season in cold climates and are much cheaper and easier to build than glass greenhouses.

Plants mature better with opaque plastic. When germinating seeds or growing young plants, clear glass is perfect. But if you want to grow mature plants in your greenhouse, an opaque tint is better for diffused sunlight.

David LaFerney’s $50 DIY Greenhouse Project

David LaFerney built two plant beds along each side of his greenhouse, growing spinach, lettuce, and other plants year-round.

David LaFerney

In the beginning and after cleverly scrounging for materials, David LaFerney began by building the two end pieces of the greenhouse frame with wood. To create his arches, he used 20-foot PVC pipes to give the greenhouse its hoop shape.

David LaFerney

“At this width, there is not a very steep sloping edge on the interior sides of the greenhouse, like many hoop greenhouses have. This gentle slope leaves much more usable space along the edges for planting.” on David Laferney’s Custom Design

Due to David LaFerney’s taller, slightly narrower design, snow and rainwater were more likely to flow down the sides rather than pool at the top of a conventionally flatter, wider greenhouse. If you’re not in danger of much wind, you can customize your greenhouse to be better for rainfall.

David LaFerney

After David LaFerney finished the front and back end frames and the arches, he placed the end frames on a level location. Connecting the 20-foot PVC pipes to middle pipe pieces, David LaFerney completed the frame of the greenhouse.

Having secured all connection points with wire, zip ties, and screws, the final step was to cover the greenhouse in plastic. Note there are many options for plastic to use for covering any greenhouse. In this LaFerney’s project, he used a non-UV stabilized 6mm clear plastic sheeting from a local lumberyard.

Always be on the lookout for really great recyclable, reusable materials.

“Always Be Ready” Max

David LeFerney’s Step-by-Step Under $200-Hoop House Greenhouse Original The Door Garden Article in PDF Form

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