In this article, we will explore not only how to build a greenhouse that can withstand wind but also how to protect a greenhouse from the wind.
If you live in a blustery place, then you’ll need to learn how to build for wind. My home was in Central Oregon which is a region that often sustains average daily winds from 7 to 25 miles per hour. Each afternoon, the winds would start to pick up and blow into the early evening. I knew I had to build a windproof greenhouse.
The wind is a powerful force of nature that can damage a structure. Many things matter when building a greenhouse that can withstand wind. You’ll need to consider the building location, shape, and more. As the wind passes over the greenhouse the windward side will create positive pressure and the leeward side experiences negative pressure. The combined pressure can easily cause the greenhouse to overturn or collapse.
Here are the best ways to build a greenhouse and make it windproof:
- Pick the perfect wind-protected site.
- Choose a wind-resistant greenhouse kit to build.
- Regularly inspect the structure to ensure the wind cannot penetrate.
- Keep the doors and windows closed during a windstorm.
- Plant an all-natural windbreak or use fencing.
- Maintain interior pressure
- Keep the surrounding area free of projectiles like tree branches.
How to Build a Wind-Resistant Greenhouse and Keep it Windproof
Let’s look at a few steps I personally followed when learning how to build a wind-resistant greenhouse. You’ll also find tips listed on how to create a windproof greenhouse.
1. Choose a Wind-Protected Site for Your Greenhouse
You’ll need to choose an area that provides some wind protection for your greenhouse. Look for a site to construct your greenhouse that has shrubs, hedges, or trees. The construction site should also be level so you can secure the greenhouse base using anchors to the ground to prevent the wind from moving the greenhouse.
2. Choose a Wind-Resistant Greenhouse
If you live in an area that is prone to heavy winds, then you’ll want to choose a sturdy greenhouse kit that isn’t overly vulnerable to wind damage. The best greenhouse for a windy area is made from a steel framework and features polycarbonate panels that will stand up to intense winds with ease.
A greenhouse kit will come with all the instructions and parts you need to build the greenhouse. The best windproof greenhouse will have rounded corners, a robust frame, and a few large flat surfaces.
When I was first learning how to build a greenhouse that can withstand wind, I went with a simple structure covered in plastic sheeting. Unfortunately, the sheeting did not stand up to the winds well. The structure made it one year before it started to tear and look bad. My second greenhouse was a sturdy greenhouse kit with acceptable wind resistance.
3. Consider a Hurricane-Proof Greenhouse Kit
If you live along the Gulf Coast of the United States or the Atlantic, then you know the dangers of a hurricane. Greenhouses cannot stand up to a category 5 hurricane. However, you can find windproof greenhouse designs that are considered hurricane-proof. A dome-shaped greenhouse stands the best chance of standing up to the pummeled force of hurricane-force winds to the structure’s geometry. A dome shape is round which means that the wind has nothing to truly push against.
The wind can also not penetrate to lift and throw the structure. The best wind-proof greenhouse is composed of strong polycarbonate that will not tear like plastic sheeting or break like glass. It cannot get the leverage needed to lift and throw the greenhouse. A dome-shaped polycarbonate greenhouse can easily stand up to non-stop 90-mile-per-hour winds. Also, the polycarbonate will not break if it is struck by a flying tree branch, or some other projectile being hurled by the wind’s velocity.
If you live in a windy area, then a dome-shaped greenhouse is an excellent option to stand up to the constant onslaught. The initial investment in the kit is a little higher than a traditional design but well worth it to protect your plant’s structure.
4. Check the Structure
When preparing the greenhouse structure for the wind, you’ll want to tighten the truss supports, foundation brackets, collar tie bolts, and purlins. Also, regularly inspect the bolts because they can quickly start to loosen in windy areas. The greenhouse structure must be tight, or it will start rocking from side to side which will wear on its joints and cause it to eventually sustain damage.
If you have a hoop house or gutter-connected greenhouse, then always tighten the diagonal bracing and cable turnbuckles tight.
Some greenhouses lack bracing, so you’ll need to install 2 x 4s, cables, or tubing from the foundation to the eve of the structure. Always secure the frame to the bracing using clamps or bolts.
5. Install and Inspect Seals
Install rubber glazing and seals around windows, doors, and greenhouse edges to keep the wind from interesting the structure. You should regularly inspect any rubber glazing to ensure that it is in undamaged shape. Look for cracks or broken areas that can easily be ripped loose by the wind if it’s not in good condition.
6. Keep the Wind Out of the Greenhouse
The wind is the enemy of your greenhouse. You might think that you need to protect the actual structure from the wind, but most greenhouses can stand up to a windy storm – a hurricane or tornado. However, if the wind on a typical windy day gets into the greenhouse, then it can easily tear through the interior, damage your plants, and even lift the structure off the ground. The pressure of the wind on the greenhouse’s interior can easily pop out a pane, tear through the plastic sheeting, and bend the framework of the structure.
Keep the wind out of your greenhouse by ensuring that the structure is square and level. You don’t want the wind to reach under the foundation and lift the frame upwards. Affix the greenhouse to the ground. You can use railway sleepers placed along the ground and affix the frame to the timber. Another option is to pour a concrete footer and affix the frame to the footer. If the wind should get into the greenhouse, it will be unable to lift the structure.
A plastic greenhouse is very vulnerable to the wind so you might want to screw it to a wooden fence to help hold down the structure when the wind is too strong. If you cannot screw the greenhouse to the fence, then use a rope to tie it to the fence or some other structure to help hold it in place. With a plastic greenhouse, you can also use slabs of slate, large rocks, blocks, sandbags, or bricks to hold the plastic in place and provide more support to the greenhouse.
During a windstorm, close all the windows, vents, louvers, and doors to keep the wind out. If the wind is allowed to enter the structure, then it can easily create pressure to lift the structure. In extreme cases, the pressure will rip off the walls and roof or flip the greenhouse.
7. Plant a Windbreak for Protection
Plant a natural windbreak to help reduce the speed of the wind and effectively deflect it so that it goes over the greenhouse instead of damaging the structure. The best tree to use for a natural windbreak is always a conifer because it will not lose its leaves during the winter months. Pick spruce, pine, or hemlock. Plant the trees in a double row. Position the rows about 50 feet upwind from the structure to effectively deflect the wind.
If you do not want to wait for your trees to grow and create a natural windbreak, then you can use plastic or wood fencing temporarily to deflect the wind just like the trees.
8. Increase the Interior Air Pressure
Some greenhouses are air inflated. If you have an air-inflated greenhouse and the wind becomes intense, then you’ll want to increase the inflation pressure in the structure. Also, Open the blower’s intake valve to significantly reduce and prevent a rippling effect which can easily tear the plastic sheeting if it becomes too intense.
If you have plastic on the greenhouse exterior, then you’ll want to pull it tight and ensure that it is secured to the frame. Also, tape any holes that might have occurred in the plastic.
You want to create a vacuum in the greenhouse by disconnecting the arm and motor on the ventilation system. Close the intake shutters and tape them. Turn the exhaust on to help suck the plastic firmly against the greenhouse structure’s frame so the wind does not penetrate by tearing its way in.
9. Clear the Area Around the Greenhouse
When learning how to protect a greenhouse from wind, you’ll want to examine the surrounding area. Even if you have constructed your greenhouse to physically withstand the wind, other things can still damage the structure. The wind can easily pick up projectiles like tree branches and send them flying through your greenhouse. You need to examine the area surrounding the greenhouse and clear it of all loose objects. Make sure they are no dead or broken tree branches close. Pick up lightweight potted plants. In extreme wind, even yard tools such as a rake or shovel can easily be blown into the greenhouse and cause damage.