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Where to position your greenhouse?

Unless you have a portable plastic greenhouse which can easily be moved, selecting the perfect place for your greenhouse is important as it's a permanent structure. Here are a number of factors to consider and some tips to ensure your greenhouse is located in the best possible position.

North, South, East or West?

If you want to grow plants in the greenhouse all year round, including during the winter, it is advised that the ridge of the roof runs east-west to maximise light during the darkest months. However, if you are just going to use your greenhouse in spring and summer, then it is advised the ridge runs north-south so both sides of the greenhouse get an equal amount of light. For lean-to greenhouses the best location is south facing, with the wall on the north side of the greenhouse. They are more expensive than seeds, but cheaper than buying full size .

Away from trees

It is not a good idea to place a greenhouse underneath any tall trees. Firstly, this will reduce sunlight due to shade, secondly the glass will soon get dirty from bird droppings and sticky pollen and thirdly, if there is a storm and a branch breaks off this could land on the greenhouse, smashing the glass panes.

However, it can be useful to use high walls, tall hedges and trees as a windbreak, if the greenhouse is given enough space to ensure it does not get affected by shade, bird droppings etc. This will keep the greenhouse warmer, as a cold wind hitting the glass panes will reduce the temperature of the inside of the greenhouse and it can prevent wind damage during storms.

Garden Conditions

Each garden has its own micro climate and conditions based on various factors. One factor to consider is that hot air rises and cold air sinks, so the bottom of slopes can remain frosty longer than higher ground. Some gardens have areas that are damp and can be prone to surface water, due to poor drainage and lack of sunlight. Avoid locating your greenhouse in such positions. The greenhouse should be built on level ground and with good soil, if you are planning on planting in the ground inside the greenhouse. However, this is less important if you intend to use growbags, pots or raised beds containing compost.

Child Safety

If you have young children or visiting grandchildren it is best to place the greenhouse away from the main area, where they play, if possible. Balls and greenhouse panes don't mix very well! Also, if they are running and chasing about there is a risk they could trip and fall into a lower pane of glass. However, some greenhouses have toughened glass toughened glass.


Although you might have a perfect spot for the greenhouse at the bottom of a large garden, one thing that might make this less practical, is if you want it to be close to a water tap and access to mains electricity to run a greenhouse heater. However, rainwater can be collected in water butts water buttsfrom the greenhouse gutters, and paraffin heaters could be used as an alternative to electric heaters. A position closer to the house will also make it more convenient to nip out and select some fruit and vegetables whilst you are cooking in the kitchen.

Warm, dry and pleasant

Walking into a greenhouse on a mild, but breezy day is a lovely experience. Totally still and considerably warmer, the air full of aromas from the growing plants. A greenhouse, as well as being a place to grow things, also makes a very pleasant place to spend some time. Even in the middle of a British summer there can sometimes be a stiff breeze, or a heavy shower. The greenhouse is a great place to re-pot plants and other gardening tasks. It's also a nice setting for a drink or some lunch, and even smaller greenhouses have room for a bistro set.

1 Metre Space

When you choose the location for your greenhouse ensure there is a 1 metre wide space around the perimeter. This means you will have access to all sides in case a panel needs replacing, or even just to be able to clean the glass. If you place the greenhouse just inches from a wall on one side, months later you will regret the decision when the glass starts getting dirty and green from algae on the outside and you can't clean it.