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Alton Cheltenham Greenhouse

For any keen gardener, a greenhouse is a must; it’s great for storing plants especially through the colder months and is ideal for sowing seeds, taking cuttings and growing tender plants. When looking to purchase a greenhouse there are so many options to choose from; your choice will likely depend on how much space you have available and what kind of budget you’re working with. Along with these decisions, there are other options in terms of finish and style which will largely be dependant on personal preference. To help you make an informed decision we’ve put together a handy greenhouse buying guide which takes you through all of the important decisions you’ll be making.

Features of a Greenhouse

One of the main reasons people choose to install a greenhouse is extend growing season. Greenhouses offer a more controlled climate which means they are better for growing outside of planting season. Sometimes this allows you to plant for weeks or even months longer than you would outside. Alongside this, greenhouses are also a great form of weather protection. A greenhouse is great as it provides plants with shelter from adverse weather conditions; similarly, a greenhouse also allows you to grow produce which would otherwise not be grown in your region as they offer a warmer and more humid growing environment. In addition to helping you grow the plants you want; a greenhouse also helps to keep your crops safe from animals and insects. By preventing access to your plants, you will also reduce your need for using chemicals to ward off unwanted pests.

Robinsons Renaissance Greenhouse

Choosing your Greenhouse

When deciding on which greenhouse is best for you it can help to start by understanding your needs and priorities. What you plan to use your greenhouse will dictate a lot of the choices which you’ll make during the buying process; such as material choice, size and placement. There are different styles of greenhouses to choose from; each of them with their own benefits. We’ll take you through some of the most popular choices;

Freestanding Greenhouses

Freestanding or traditional greenhouses are the UK’s most popular style. This is largely because they are available in such a range of different sizes both in terms of length and width. Because they are available in so many different sizes it means that you will be able to find one which suits your needs no matter how little space you may have. Freestanding greenhouses are available in a variety of materials and are great for all gardening needs such as growing plants and vegetables even when the season doesn’t permit it.

Lean-to Greenhouses

As the name would suggest; lean-to greenhouses lean against an existing wall, usually of the house or garage. Lean-to greenhouses are a popular choice if your garden is an awkward shape or if you don’t have the space for a freestanding greenhouse. Lean-to greenhouses also have the added benefit of warmth from the existing wall; which radiates through the greenhouse at night making it an excellent growing environment.


Octagonal greenhouses are often chosen as they make a statement and can be a real focal point of your garden design. With octagonal greenhouses there are plenty of different options to add shelving so you can make the most of the space. At GBC we have octagonal greenhouses available in cedar wood and aluminium. Octagonal greenhouses are the most aesthetically pleasing. If garden design is a priority, this could be a great choice for you.

Peak Richmond Greenhouse

Optional Extras

When shopping for a new greenhouse you’ll find that the majority have options which include a ‘standard’ package and then tiered packages above that. Different packages will include different options such as having extra shelving or vents. To help you understand which features are worth taking advantage of we’re going to explain some of the best optional extras.


In some standard packages, shelving is included an optional extra but for the majority of greenhouses shelves are only include in premium packages. Shelving is an optional extra that you may wish to take advantage of based on how much you plan to grow in your greenhouse. Integrated shelving provides you with a lot more storage options; you can utilise wall space this way and store upwards. On the other hand, you can buy storage separately however this will likely take up more floor space.

Roof Vent

Although one of the main purposes of a greenhouse is usually to retain the heat, it is essential that you be able to let this heat out. Overheating is always a concern with greenhouses so having roof vents is a great way to ensure that your plants don’t overheat on hot or sunny days. In addition to cooling the greenhouse, vents also allow for airflow which helps your plants to grow and flourish.

Safety Glass

Toughened safety glass is something you should look out for when purchasing your greenhouse; many greenhouses come with it as standard but there are a few where you may need to consider a package upgrade to get safety glass. Safety glass is something which you should definitely consider as it adds strength and security to your greenhouse.

Robinsons Regent Greenhouse

Advice for First Time Buyers

When purchasing a greenhouse for the first time there are a few important considerations to make. One of the most important for purchasing a greenhouse is to think about placement; in terms of where is best for growing plants and where is best in terms of space.


Greenhouse positioning is important, and you should look to decide positioning before purchasing as it will influence the size and style you choose. When considering greenhouse placements you will often be advised to position your greenhouse according to where it will get the most sunlight using an east to west orientation however unless your greenhouse is particularly tall this won’t make too much difference; usually only the roof will get direct sunlight and that is fine.

It is important to shelter your greenhouse from harsh winds, by placing near a fence or hedge; or indeed erecting a fence nearby, will help to protect it from the elements; similar avoid placing it near trees as these could cause potential damage to your greenhouse, especially if they have hanging branches.

Another important consideration for positioning your greenhouse is accessibility. You want to ensure that you are going to have easy access to your greenhouse; this includes not placing it near to walls or fences which block access and not placing it miles away from your home as this might not be clever when you need to access it on a cold, wet night. It is also essential, if you need a water or electricity supply in your greenhouse that you consider this when choosing the positioning to ensure the supply reaches the greenhouse.

Planning Permission

As with the majority of outbuildings, planning permission is not usually required. Garden buildings are generally considered under permitted development, which means they do not require planning permission but there are some things to keep in mind in order to ensure you don’t need planning permission.

You may need planning permission if;

  • Your property is situation on designated land or is classed as a listed building
  • The building is to be placed within 5 metres of your home
  • It will cover over 50% of your homes surrounding area.
  • You want to place it in your front garden, where it will be visible to passers-by.

Planning permission is incredibly important, and you don’t want to be in breach of it. Therefore, if you think any of the above apply to you or have any concerns you should contact your local council for advice.


When you purchase a greenhouse, or any garden building, it is essential that you have a strong, secure base prepared prior to the delivery of your greenhouse. For garden buildings it is recommended that your base be constructed with concrete, slabs or heavy duty decking as these are the strongest and most stable bases. If you have any queries about how to prepare a base, GBC are available for advice.

Alton Durham Greenhouse

Product Care

In order to get the most out of your greenhouse and ensure its longevity it is important to keep up to regular cleaning and maintenance. A clean greenhouse is essential to ensure your plants can flourish.

It is important to regularly clean and maintain your greenhouse by brush away all the debris inside and outside before washing the inner and outer structure with hot soapy water. You can use small scrapers to remove dirt trapped in between panes. It is also essential to clean out the guttering. In addition to regular cleaning; every few months, usually when the seasons are changing, it is advisable to have a deep clean of the entire greenhouse to prevent infestation and mould forming.


How do I install my greenhouse?

As long as you have a base prior to delivery, installation is pretty simple. All our greenhouses arrive with the necessary fittings and full instructions which are easy to follow. Installing your greenhouse is simple; and you can always contact us if you need advice.

Do I need planning permission?

Greenhouses come under permitted development therefore don’t require planning permission. There are a few exceptions to this rule, therefore it is important that if you have any doubts about planning permission, you contact your local council for advice as they will be able to assist you correctly when it comes to planning permission.

What size greenhouse do I need?

The size greenhouse you choose will be based on your gardening needs and on the space you have available. Remember, if you optimise your storage system you will be able to fit plenty in your greenhouse, rather than getting a greenhouse which is too big for the space that you have. It is important to be practical and realistic when choosing the size of your greenhouse.

A greenhouse makes a great addition to any garden and is a must-have for any keen gardener; it allows you to keep gardening all year round and makes a great garden feature. We hope this guide has helped you to pick the perfect greenhouse for you garden; shop greenhouses with GBC today and find your perfect greenhouse.

*First published 22 January 2019, updated 9th October 2019

Posted by Matt Jordan

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