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Budget-Friendly DIY Raised Garden Greenhouses

I live in a Plant Hardiness Zone 3 which doesn't give us a long growing season. To make matters worse our yard faces north and we live in a mature neighborhood with a lot of trees which = shade. Achieving a high yielding crop of veggies has been a challenge when some years we still have snow on the ground in April and May.

Starting plants indoors is also not an option when you live in a small home so we took matters into our own hands to extend our growing season by building budget-friendly mini greenhouses for raised garden beds.

DIY Raised Garden Greenhouses


Budget-Friendly DIY Raised Garden Greenhouses 


Small Raised Garden Greenhouses
Our inspiration came from Stephanie at Swing N Cocoa who came up with a brilliant design.


Last weekend we took advantage of it being a long weekend and got to work building one for each of our three raised garden beds.  We modified ours somewhat from the original design but more on that further down in this post.

Materials List

(for each greenhouse based on 4' x 6' beds)
  • 3 each 2 x 2 x 8 lumber
  • 5 each 10' PVC pipe 
  • 8 pipe clamps
  • wire mesh
  • 2 hinges
  • 1 handle
  • 4 each 3-sided metal corner brackets
  • galvanized screws
  • light chain
  • 6 mil roll of poly

Building the greenhouse base

Cut the 2 x 2's at 45° angles the same length as your raised gardens.  Drill a pilot hole into each joint to avoid splitting when screwing them together.

Mini Greenhouses for raised garden beds 2 x 2 frame

Apply carpenters glue onto the joint and drill a screw into each pilot hole to secure the joints.

Mini greenhouses for raised beds 2 x 2 frame

Install 3-sided corner brackets for extra support (sorry we forgot to take close up pictures). This is important considering the greenhouses will frequently be lifted up an down.

Mini Greenhouses for raised beds frames

Building the PVC greenhouse frame

Secure pipe clamps along the inside of the frame on each side to support the PVC pipe. Ensure the distance between each pipe is measured equally. We purchased 1/2-inch PVC pipe in 10-foot pieces and cut them down to 8-feet.

Note: Don't throw out the 2-inch off cuts because you'll be using them later.

Mini Greenhouses for Raised Beds pipe clamps

Insert the PVC pipe into the clamps and tighten the screws to secure in place.

Mini Greenhouse for Raised Beds PVC Frane

Find the center point of the greenhouse as pictured below...

Mini greenhouses for small beds PVC supports

The salvaged 2-foot cut offs of PVC pipe you saved are used for the center supports.

Mini Greenhouses for raised beds securing frame with electrical tape

Secure the 2' pieces of PVC pipe along the center of the top using white electrical tape. This will stop the pipe from moving around and add support for the poly.  Another more costly option for joining the pipe is using PVC tee fittings and couplings.

Mini Greenhouses for raised beds top supports

In the original design, you would secure wire mesh over top the PVC which we purchased but got so frustrated, let alone sustained a few flesh wounds and decided to come up with Plan B.

IMPORTANT UPDATE:

It didn't take long for us to learn WHY the need for wire mesh. Rainwater tends to pool on the top, putting a lot of pressure on the poly and so don't do what we did and avoid this step, it's an important one. You only need to install it along the curved portion.

To add more stability to the sides we attached more strips of 2-foot PVC pipe just where the sides start to curve. Take a measurement from the base so they all line up perfectly.

Mini greenhouses for small beds side supports

Covering the greenhouse frame with poly

Cut the poly large enough that it covers the front of the greenhouses s as well. Starting on the sides attach the poly to the bottom of the 2 x 2 base with staples, starting in the center. Move to the opposite side and pull the poly tight enough that it removes any dimples in the plastic but not so tight that it distorts the shape of the PVC.

Mini greenhouses for raised beds with poly

Now you can deal with the front of the greenhouses in a couple of ways.

Option A:

Start in the center and fold the plastic to form pleats and staple in place along the bottom of the base. We tried this technique but didn't like the look.

Option B: 

Our preferred option. Pull the poly taut and starting in the center staple it onto the base. With a nurses fold - think about how Grandma taught you how to make a bed - fold the fabric taut to the sides and staple it onto the base. With a retractable knife remove the excess plastic along the bottom of the base.

ANOTHER IMPORTANT UPDATE:

Debris accumulates in the folds so to avoid this from happening you have two options:
  1. Place the fold on the INSIDE of the greenhouse
  2. Add clear tape along the fold (not as aesthetically pleasing)

Installing the greenhouses onto the raised beds

Set the greenhouse on top of the raised bed and secure it on the back with two hinges. We placed our hinges 1-inch toward the center on each side. 

To keep the greenhouse from flying backward when you open it or from a strong wind catching it, attach some light chain on each side as pictured below. 

Mini greenhouses for raised beds with hinged top

Attach a handle to the center of the base for easy lifting.

Mini greenhouses for raised beds with handle and hinges

And there you have it, DIY raised garden greenhouses. They might not be as pretty as the mini greenhouses you see made from salvaged pane glass doors but they're a great budget-friendly option.

You can see in the photo below that I temporarily stuck some 2 x 2's into the soil and have them resting on the greenhouse bases for ventilation on hot days. I plan on coming up with a better system when time permits. I'm toying around with the idea of mounting the 2 x 2's onto the front of the raised beds with washers so they swing up when you need them or down when you don't.

Mini greenhouses with raised beds tilted tops for ventilation

You can see the nurses fold better in the photo below. 

Mini greenhouses for raised beds

The frames will not withstand the weight of snow during the winter months so the greenhouses will have to be removed and stored. It's an inconvenience we are willing to make if it means yielding a better veggie group in our cold climate.

Mini greenhouses for raised beds

The frame laying on the grass in the forefront of the photo above was removed from our deck (another project in the works) but more about that another time.


So are they working?
I planted these tomatoes the first week of June (three weeks ago) from 4-inch pots and already the plants have almost doubled in size with a lot of tomato growth and flowers - without the use of fertilizers.

If you found our budget-friendly DIY Raised Garden Greenhouses inspiring, please share them with a friend and/or save on Pinterest.
Budget-Friendly DIY Raised Garden Greenhouses
Here are some other DIY Outdoor Projects we made for our backyard that you may find inspiring.
Repurposed Louvered Bi-fold Door Privacy Screen
Plant Pot Water Fountain
DIY Outdoor Water Wall
Solar Flower Pot Water Fountain
DIY Patio Expansion


I share my projects here at these fabulous link parties.


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Mother's Day Gift {project fail}

I hope you all had a very nice Mother's day!  Mine started off with my son and daughter taking me for brunch, followed by several glorious hours relaxing in the sunshine in our back yard.

My post today was going to be about sharing my beautifully handcrafted Mother's Day gift.  For days prior to making it I had imagined that it was going to be the gift that my Mom, her nurses, and my siblings would all ooh and aah over and gush about how I'd outdone myself.  

Ahem...my post today is about my Mother's Day Gift Fail.  There's a reason I'm a DIY Blogger and not a Foodie!  What was I thinking (insert head banging against the wall).  To make matters worse I didn't start my gift until the evening before Mother's Day...after the stores closed (insert more head banging).

Mother's Day Cupcake Bouquet

Mom suffers from Alzheimer's - she may have lost a good chunk of her memory but she didn't loose her sweet tooth so thankfully all she saw was cupcakes and so it was all good in her eyes!

Knowing how lousy I am in the kitchen I took the no fail approach.

Mother's Day Cupcake Bouquet supplies

What I didn't realize is that one tube of ready made icing would barely cover two cupcakes and I was making six!  Hence the reason for skimping on the icing.

Thank you Duncan Hines - your red velvet cake mix worked perfectly.  For those of you who counted, someone had to make sure they were cooked in the middle!

Mother's Day Cupcake Bouquet

The whole idea of a cupcake bouquet stemmed (pun intended) from wanting to buy Mom a tall vase for Mother's Day.  On her birthday in March we discovered she didn't have one and borrowed took a water pitcher from the dining room at the long term care facility she lives in. Now I could have gifted her with the vase filled with flowers but that just seemed too "typical" and so this crazy idea was born.

After a failed attempt at stabbing wooden skewers into the cupcakes and sticking them into the vase, Mr. Frugalista came up with the idea of using the plastic packaging the edible flowers came in to hold up the cupcakes.   See how we wrapped the skewers with green painters tape to pretty up the stems?  Genius right!

Mother's Day Cupcake Bouquet

Worked like a charm!  In case you're thinking "whoa she has hairy arms", Mr. Frugalista volunteered to be my hand model.

Mother's Day Cupcake Bouquet

With only six cupcakes there were a lot of voids in the bouquet and I had no more icing to add a few more into the mix.  So we pulled a McIver and made paper roses with some cupcake liners and taped them onto wooden skewers.  Ooops, that one got squished.


And there you have it, the Mother's Day Cupcake Bouquet that looks like something a child made but thankfully tasted good so Mom didn't notice.

Mother's Day Cupcake Bouquet
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A Quick And Inexpensive Kitchen Update

I was recently hired to help a client update her kitchen for resale. The goals were to a) do it quickly and b) on a tight budget. Any of you who follow my blog know that those words are music to my ears. My credo is working on a budget forces you to turn lemons into lemonade with the sweet elixir of creativity. So my response to the challenge was, "bring it"!

In comes the knight in shining armor...Chalk Paint!  Why?  Because you don't have to remove the cabinet doors, no priming, fast drying time between coats, the paint goes a long way, you can finish an entire kitchen in a few days, and the best part...it'll cost you less than $500.00.  In fact this one was done for less than $300.00.  How's that for a quick and inexpensive kitchen update!

Inexpensive kitchen update before and after

Take a look at the Before pictures (sorry the photos are a bit blurry they were given to me by my client).

Inexpensive kitchen update Before

Her kitchen has so much light thanks to the beautiful bay window and French door leading onto the deck. When you walked into the room instead of being drawn to the sun filled warmth of this space and the pretty green paint on the walls, your eyes were immediately drawn to those dark, dated, mahogany relics from the past.

Inexpensive kitchen update Before

Normally with chalk paint all I recommend for prep is filling in the nicks and gouges with my favorite filler, Dynamic Dyna Patch Pro (I'm not affiliated in any way with the product - just sharing the love) and sanding it when it's dry.  But in this case being that we were dealing with mahogany which has a tendency for bleed through, I recommended applying a coat of Zinsser Bulls Eye 1.2.3 Primer (my favorite primer - just shar'n the love again). Once primed you can see any imperfections you may have missed and can fix them before going ahead with the paint.

We used Country Chic Chalk Paint in Vanilla Frosting.  It's a beautiful warm antique white color.  Pssssst, would you believe only two quarts were used to paint this entire kitchen!

Inexpensive kitchen update with chalkpaint

By the time the first coat was applied the cabinets were dry enough to give them a light sanding with 400 grit fine sandpaper, wipe the dust and start the second coat.  A quick third coat was applied to cover a few spots that we weren't happy with.

Inexpensive Kitchen Update with chalkpaint

All the cabinets received three coats of Country Chic Paint's Tough Coat protective finish.  Normally I use soft clear wax on my chalk painted projects but for kitchen cabinets, they get a lot of beating use and so it's a good idea to protect them with a satin poly finish.  With the Tough Coat product (which I prefer over poly) you can get away with only two coats but after my client applied them there was a lot of streaking.  After some head scratching I determined that the streaking was caused from the product not being stirred well enough beforehand.  Note: It's a good idea to stir it again every so often while applying it.  Once I gave it a real thorough stir and reapplied another coat it looked MUCH better.

Inexpensive kitchen update with chalk paint

Inexpensive kitchen update with chalk paint

Normally I recommend replacing old hardware to give the cabinets a fresh updated look but in this case I thought the original solid copper hardware would add unique charm and character to the cabinets.  So I suggested cleaning them well and re-installing them.

Here is what they looked like on the cabinets before the makeover.

Inexpensive kitchen update before with hardware

But when I held one up to the freshly painted cabinets I wasn't liking the contrast at all.  So I took them home with me and gave them some chalk painted goodness!

Inexpensive kitchen update hardware painted with chalk paint

Here's a close up...

Inexpensive kitchen update hardware before and after chalk painted

After they were dry I distressed them a little with sandpaper to reveal some of the copper underneath.  Then I gave them a couple coats of soft clear wax and buffed them until they had a gorgeous satin patina.

Inexpensive kitchen update hardware after chalk painted and distressed

I should step back a little here and tell you that the insides of the cabinets received a fresh coat of white Behr Premium Plus Ultra Satin Enamel Paint and Primer in One before the makeover.

Here comes the best part...drum roll please...the chalk paint and tough coat came to a grand total of under $200.00.  After factoring in the primer, interior cabinet paint, brushes, and supplies this kitchen update came to under $300.00!  Doing the office chair jig as I type this.

Inexpensive kitchen update before and after
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