The importance of greenhouse design

the modern gardener is becoming much more discriminating over the choice of a greenhouse, and quite rightly so. Commercial growers have come through a period of intense sophistication in greenhouse design, and will now only accept a structure which reaches a very high standard on many counts. The main features of a modern greenhouse can be summarised under the following headings.

QUICK EASY BUILD

Greenhouses are now invariably prefabricated in the factory. Ease of erection varies according to the type of house, and one should always take care to find out precisely at what stage of prefabrication the house is delivered and that erection plans from the manufacturer are completely detailed and accurate.

COMPLETELY MAINTENANCE-FREE AFTER CONSTRUCTION

By virtue of the structural components being either pressure treated soft woods, aluminium alloy, galvanised or enamelled steel, maintenance is virtually nil after erection. Glazing methods should avoid entirely the use of putty, which tends to harden and flake in a few years. This involves either dry glazing (the glass sliding into grooves), clip glazing on a seal of plastic beading, non-hardening bitumen, or other patent method. Putty glazed houses are becoming less popu-lar annually, and rightly so. Freedom from maintenance varies enormously according to house type and design, and the following will give guidance on the main range of materials:

MAIN STRUCTURAL MATERIALS USED IN GREENHOUSES

Material

Strength/ Bulk

Cost

Durability

   

Redwood

Medium

Low

Good if painted or treated

Red Cedar

Low

Medium

Good

Imported hardwood

Medium

High

Good

Burma teak

High

High

Very good

Oak

High

High

Good

Steel

Very high

Low

Rusts unless galvanised or painted regularly

Cast iron

Medium/high

Medium

Less liable to rust

Reinforced concrete

Low

Medium

Good

Aluminium alloy

High

Medium

Good

Pressure-treated

Variable

Low

Good

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