5 Types of Greenhouses to Consider Before You Buy

If you’ve decided to invest in a greenhouse, the next step is to decide which type will best suit your needs. Greenhouse types are based mostly around the various greenhouse structures and designs. Here we explore five types of greenhouses and give advice on which might be the best choice for you personally.


If you’re wondering “what is a greenhouse?” or “what are greenhouses used for?” the answer is that these garden buildings are now so much more than a space for growing plants!

Greenhouses can be used as a place to unwind or an inspiring leafy creative studio, as well as a place in which to cultivate your own fruit and vegetables. Check out our guide, 5 ideas for ways in which to use greenhouses for more inspiration.

How you intend to use your greenhouse is one of the factors that will undoubtedly affect the type of greenhouse that you buy. 

What are the most popular types of greenhouses?

1. Lean-to greenhouse

A lean-to greenhouse is where the greenhouse leans against the side of a building – usually your house. By its nature, a lean-to greenhouse tends to be not more than 12 foot long, but it can be bigger if you’re blessed with a very large house or outbuilding.

The good things about these greenhouse designs are that they incur less cost on materials, and don’t need much space to set up. Because they are built next to a main building, a lean-to greenhouse is close to amenities like water and electricity.

The disadvantages with these types of greenhouses are that the smaller space can mean you’re limited in the amount you grow, and how you use your greenhouse. It can be hard to control the temperature of a lean-to greenhouse because the side next to the main wall will always be warmer.

2. Even span greenhouse

These traditional types of greenhouses are distinguished by their two sloping roofs. This is a flexible design that can be used in a large or small space.

The shape of the roof means that it won’t collect rainwater or snow. The even nature of these greenhouse types mean that they maintain a consistent temperature throughout.

3. Gothic arch greenhouse

With its high curved roof, there’s little need for support trusses with this type of greenhouse structure. Not only does it look beautiful and distinctive, but it can be as small or as big as you want. The curved roof makes it easy for snow or rain to drain quickly away.

The main disadvantage with a Gothic arch greenhouse is that it takes up more materials than other types of greenhouses. What’s more, the unusual shape doesn’t allow for complete circulation of airflow.

4. Metal structure greenhouse designs

A metal structure is what we often think of when we picture a traditional greenhouse. Aluminium is used to give strength and durability, and is capable of withstanding extreme temperatures. A metal frame greenhouse uses glass panels which provide good light dispersal and UV protection, and is less expensive than a polycarbonate greenhouse.

Another advantage with these types of greenhouses is that metal structures can incorporate a truly bespoke design, from classic Victorian style greenhouse to a modern greenhouse structure.

Greenhouse ideas UK

5. Wooden structure greenhouse designs

Wooden frame structures greenhouses help preserve heat, and are good way to foster seedlings which need nurturing until they can be planted outside. If you’re wondering which greenhouse to choose, then a wood frame structure may appeal because it looks so attractive.

At Surrey Hills Garden Buildings, we use western red cedar as our timber of choice thanks to its thermal properties and durability.

Wondering which types of greenhouses are right for you? Talk to the experts at Surrey Hills Garden Buildings

There are several different types of greenhouses, which can make choosing the right one slightly confusing. You need to consider the size of your outside space, how you intend to use your greenhouse, and the look that you wish to achieve.

Not sure which to choose? Come and talk to the friendly team at Surrey Hills Garden Buildings. We can make suggestions and offer a complete service from greenhouse design and installation, to ideas for accessories.

For inspiration, visit our dedicated show site or get in touch where we’ll be glad to help with any questions that you have.

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