How much does a greenhouse cost?
How much does a greenhouse cost?
$5 – $30 average cost per square foot installed
$2,500 – $15,000 average total cost (500 SF)
$2 – $25 commercial cost per square foot installed
Average greenhouse costs by size
A greenhouse costs $5 to $30 per square foot or $2,500 to $15,000 on average for a 500-square-foot structure. Building a large commercial greenhouse costs $2 to $25 per square foot. The cost to build a greenhouse depends on the size, materials, and whether it's prefab or custom-built.
|Greenhouse size (square feet)||Average cost installed|
|50||$250 – $1,500|
|100||$500 – $3,000|
|250||$1,300 – $7,500|
|500||$2,500 – $15,000|
|750||$3,800 – $22,500|
|1,000||$5,000 – $30,000|
|5,000||$10,000 – $125,300|
|¼ acre (10,890 square feet)||$21,800 – $272,000|
|½ acre (21,780 square feet)||$43,600 – $545,000|
|1 acre (43,560 square feet)||$87,000 – $1,090,000|
Greenhouse prices by type
Greenhouse prices range from $5 to $30+ per square foot for labor and materials, depending on the type. The best type for you depends on your location, available space, soil conditions, aesthetic preference, and budget. Prefab kits fall at the lower end of the price range, while custom-built structures cost more.
Simple hoop greenhouses cost the least and are easy to construct, but they also damage easily.
Solar greenhouses cost the most but save money over time on operating costs.
|Greenhouse type||Cost per square foot to build||Details|
|Hoop / hoop house||$5 – $10||
|Rooftop||$10 – $25||
|Geodesic / dome||$10 –$25||
|Barn-style||$25 – $35||
|Lean-to / 3-sided||$10 – $25||
|Geothermal / pit||$20 – $25||
|Solar||$30 – $45||
|Post and Rafter||$25 – $35||
Cost breakdown to build a greenhouse
The table below shows a typical breakdown of labor and materials to build a greenhouse. These figures may change based on the site conditions, the materials you use, and the type of greenhouse you build.
|Factor||Average cost per square foot|
|Materials||$3 – $18|
|Labor||$2 – $12|
|Total cost to build||$5 – $30|
Labor cost to build a greenhouse
The labor to build a greenhouse accounts for about 40% of the total cost and may involve several professionals, depending on the greenhouse type and features and the current site conditions.
Site prep – Regrading or leveling a yard costs $500 to $5,000, depending on the size. A greenhouse requires level ground, and some require a frame base.
Installation labor – Landscaping contractors charge $50 to $100 per hour to build a greenhouse. Contractors typically include the installation cost in a custom-built greenhouse estimate.
Hiring a plumber costs $45 to $150 per hour. Decide in the planning stages how you will water the plants and if plumbing lines are needed.
Electricians charge $50 to $130 per hour to install wiring or light fixtures. A watering system that runs on a timer will also require an electrical outlet or line. The cost to run power is $10 to $25 per foot for an underground line from your home to the new greenhouse.
Trenching costs $35 to $65 per hour to dig a trench for underground lines.
Permits – Depending on the greenhouse's size and location, you may need one or more permits, and possibly an engineer's stamp. Zoning and building regulations vary by county, with rural areas typically having fewer restrictions than urban areas.
Greenhouse framing costs depend on the material you choose. PVC pipe is the most cost-effective but also the least durable. 14- to 18-gauge steel framing costs the most but is strong enough for commercial use. Some greenhouses use a combination of framing materials.
|Framing material||Cost per linear foot*||Details|
|Steel / metal framing cost||$1.50 – $6.75||
|Wood framing cost||$1.00 – $2.00||
|PVC pipe cost||$0.50 – $2.00||
|Aluminum framing cost||$1.00 – $2.00||
*Not including installation.
Covering & wall materials
Greenhouse covering or glazing materials protect the plants and help to control the interior temperature. Plastic sheets are the cheapest but also the least durable. Glass costs the most but offers better aesthetics and the most light transmission.
Polycarbonate and fiberglass panels offer strength and flexibility at a mid-range price point. These lightweight panels are not as attractive as glass, but their high impact resistance makes them an ideal option for areas susceptible to storm damage.
|Covering material||Price per square foot*||Details|
|Glass panels||$2.50 – $3.50||
|Polycarbonate panels||$1.50 – $3.00||
|Plastic / polyethylene / vinyl sheets||$0.10 – $0.70||
|Fiberglass panels||$0.70 – $2.00||
*Not including installation.
Greenhouse flooring material prices range from $0.20 to $30.00 per square foot, depending on the flooring type. A greenhouse attached to the home typically requires a foundation and footings. A small, freestanding, hobby greenhouse may not need more than a level dirt or grass floor.
|Flooring material||Price per square foot*||Details|
|Landscaping fabric cost||$0.20 – $0.80||
|Rolled rubber cost||$2.00 – $3.00||
|Concrete slab cost||$2.80 – $3.60||
|Stone / gravel cost||$1.00 – $3.00||
|Bricks cost||$2.00 – $6.00||
|Pavers cost||$8.00 – $30.00||
|Mulch cost||$0.40 – $1.20||
*Not including installation
Heating, insulation, and climate control
The heating, cooling, and insulation you need depends on your local climate and the greenhouse size and structure. Insulation reduces light transmission but may be needed to keep plants alive during extremely cold winters. Ventilation and shading are essential to prevent plants from overheating in the summer months.
Temperature management costs may include:
Insulation materials – You may wish to use one or a combination of insulation materials for best results, depending on your location, climate, and what you want to grow.
Base cladding costs $1.50 to $3.00 per square foot.
Bubble wrap insulation costs $0.50 to $3.00 per square foot and provides a cost-effective way to insulate the interior walls during the colder months.
Double-pane glass costs $2.50 to $3.50 per square foot. Use a low-e coating to reflect heat and provide the best energy efficiency.
Radiant barrier insulation costs $0.10 to $0.60 per square foot. Consider using this heat-reflective material on the side that does not get direct sunlight.
Thermal screens cost $2 to $4 per square foot and diffuse the light to prevent plant damage from overheating.
Fan – Circulation fans cost $20 to $500+ each, depending on the size and features.
Heater – Greenhouse space heaters cost $40 to $300+ each.
HVAC system – HVAC technicians charge $75 to $150+ per hour. Large structures may need automatic climate control systems professionally installed. Smaller greenhouses can often function with more budget-friendly manual solutions.
For smaller greenhouses, watering manually with a watering can or garden hose may be sufficient. Consider the following options and pricing for larger greenhouses:
New water line installation costs $500 to $900 per piping run.
A misting system costs $200 to $2,000+ before installation, depending on the type and coverage area.
A drip irrigation system costs $1.50 to $4.50 per square foot installed or $300 to $1,200 per zone for labor and materials.
The average cost to drill a new water well is $3,750 to $15,300.
Additional costs and customizations
Additional costs and customizations may include:
Doors – Custom door installation costs $1,500 to $5,000+. A greenhouse door may be sliding, roll up, or hinged, depending on the greenhouse frame and design.
Outdoor lighting costs $100 to $650 per fixture installed.
Installing a new outdoor electrical outlet costs $180 to $350.
Shelving – Greenhouse shelves cost $25 to $50+ each and may be freestanding or secured to the greenhouse walls.
Flower bed installation costs $20 to $65 per square foot installed, or $1,200 to $4,000 for a custom-built 5' x 12' raised garden bed.
DIY raised garden bed kits costs $100 to $400+, depending on the size and material.
Soil – Topsoil costs $35 to $120 per cubic yard for small jobs or $10 to $50 per cubic yard for large greenhouse projects.
Plants – Hiring a professional to plant flowers costs $10 to $30 per pot.
Additional landscaping – Landscapers charge $50 to $100 per hour or $4 to $12 per square foot for large installation jobs.
Commercial greenhouse costs
A commercial greenhouse costs $2 to $25+ per square foot for labor and materials, depending on the size, type, and features. The larger the greenhouse, the less you'll pay per square foot in most cases. Large commercial greenhouses that are 1+ acres typically cost $2 to $4 per square foot to build.
Most commercial greenhouses are at least 20' wide. These structures may have some or all of the following features, depending on the size, climate, and the crops' growing requirements:
Commercial grade thermostat
Automated temperature and ventilation systems
Greenhouse installation FAQs
Is it cheaper to build or buy a greenhouse?
Buying a greenhouse kit is typically cheaper than a custom-built greenhouse that involves purchasing all the materials individually, building a foundation, and installing the framing, covering, windows, doors, ventilation, and any extra features.
Depending on the materials and features you choose, building a simple greenhouse yourself may be cheaper than buying an all-in-one greenhouse kit. However, building from scratch is typically more challenging and time consuming.
How long does it take to build a greenhouse?
Building a greenhouse takes 1 to 3 days up to several weeks, depending on the size and type. The crew size and experience also affect the building time. Simple or ready-to-assemble greenhouses take less time to build than custom-built greenhouses with complex structural designs.
How long does a greenhouse last?
A greenhouse lasts 3 to 60 years depending on the materials and climate. Some parts of the greenhouse may need replacing before others. Keep the greenhouse clean, ventilate properly, and regularly check for cracks, leaks, and mold to extend its lifespan.
PVC and plastic sheeting last 3 to 5+ years.
Polycarbonate panels last 10 to 15 years.
Glass greenhouses last 30 to 40 years.
Steel- and wood-framed greenhouses last 30 to 60+ years.
How much does a greenhouse cost to maintain?
The cost to maintain a greenhouse depends greatly on its size, features, and climate. Maintaining a small, simple, hobby greenhouse in a mild climate may cost $10 to $40 per month or less, while a large, fully climate-controlled greenhouse in a northern state with extreme winters can cost $3,000+ per month.
Greenhouse maintenance costs may include:
Water – Municipal water rates vary by location. The amount of water you need will depend on your climate and the types of plants you're growing.
Electricity – Electrical costs may come from lighting, running fans and heaters, automatic HVAC systems, and automated irrigation systems.
Sealing – A wood greenhouse may need periodic resealing to prevent rotting and moisture damage.
Pest control – Professional pest control costs $80 to $120 per visit.
Repairs – Common problems include plastic sheeting tears or damage to glass, polycarbonate, or fiberglass panels.
Do you need a permit for a greenhouse?
You may need one or more permits for a greenhouse, depending on its size and location. Check with your city or country government about the current zoning and building regulations before starting the project.
Do greenhouses stay warm, or do they need to be heated?
Greenhouses trap the sun's warm air inside, like the inside of a car after it's been sitting in the sun. Depending on your climate zone and what plants you want to grow, your greenhouse may need heating in winter, especially in snowy regions. All greenhouses need ventilation to prevent overheating during warmer months.
Getting estimates from greenhouse builders
Follow these guidelines when getting estimates from greenhouse builders near you:
Look for licensed, insured, and bonded builders with experience installing greenhouses.
Get at least three detailed estimates to compare.
Check out greenhouse builder reviews on HomeGuide and Google.
Hire a greenhouse installer that can work within your budget and timeline.
Get a written contract including the timeline, payment plan, and warranty details.
Avoid making a large deposit up front and never pay in full before the work is complete.
Questions to ask
Consider asking these important questions when hiring a greenhouse builder or installer:
Are you licensed, insured, and bonded?
What experience do you have building greenhouses like this one?
Do you have a showroom or local examples of similar projects that I could check out?
What ventilation and heating methods do you recommend for this type of greenhouse?
How long will it take to build?
Do I need a permit, and do you handle the permitting process?
How much deposit do you require?
Does the estimate include all materials, labor, cleanup, and permit fees?
Do you offer financing?
Who is my main point of contact during the installation?