One of the first projects we undertook where that of a Greenhouse. For this area of the world, where frequent rainfall is a considerable factor, garden plants need a significant head start. There are many greenhouse options, but we wanted a solid, low maintenance aluminium structure with proper tempered glazing. Fortunately, there were a business nearby named The Glass Gardener that specialises in the British made Halls greenhouses. The model selected were the largest available in the Magnum, which measures 8’ x 14’ (4.46m x 2.57m), Model 814. The Glass Gardner offered this model with tempered glazing instead of plastic, and that made everything quite attractive.
The project began with 32 tonnes of 5/8 minus gravel delivered, sans tractor. With the soft ground of spring and constant rain, a wheelbarrow answered nicely. However, quite labourious. Once the majority of gravel were placed, a water sprinkler overnight helped to settle the gravel so the wheelbarrow could travel on top without the dreadful tyre sinking. Additionally, a laser lever were used to establish level throughout the foundation, and marking the grade with rebar stakes.
With the gravel in place for several days, and levelled with spades and rakes to the grade level, a heavy-duty porous clothe is placed on the gravel to act as the flooring. Next, the 4″ x 6″ timbers cut to length and fashioned into place on top of the clothe. Heavy duty corner brackets and custom flat brackets were incorporated to ensure that the timbers could be reasonably constrained once they began to dry and possibly twist.
The Greenhouse kit consists of labeled aluminium parts with reasonably easy to follow instructions. The instructions are the magic for the entire project, along with common sense, and quite a lot of pre-planning in regards to future bolt placements.
With the framework assembled, it all comes together happily and one begins to visualise the remaining assembly. One word of caution however, the bolts used to fasten are made of aluminium and only require a snug tightness. A firm tightness will lend itself to broken bolt replacements, of which could be rotten business depending on how far into the assembly one is.
Once the framework is in place, leveling and squaring up the greenhouse is of paramount importance at this this pointe. The glazing kit weighs over 600lbs (272kg) in total, and adjusting the foundation later will prove to be a bother.
Once the glazing is in place, the vents are assembled with weather stripping. The use of 3 – automatic lifts (Univent Standard Automatic Vent Openers) for the vents were inviting on this project as they utilise bee’s wax to adjust the pistons, they begin to lift between 13 – 24°C (55 – 75°F). This leaves the last fourth vent section to remain manual. This manual vent will help reduce the condensation that is created during the cold rainy days where the automatic vents would not normally be engaged.
Apart from the sliding doors and the odd miscellaneous bracket or fixture, the greenhouse is basically completed. The heavy-duty porous clothe flooring were left with excessing sides and ends outside of the greenhouse foundation for several months. This allowed for some random pulling and tugging of the clothe later from the outside to help smooth and perfect the flooring inside.