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Building A Hobby Greenhouse by Dorian Winslow

Category: Presenting "The Curious Gardener"

Delivering cement blocks for greenhouse foundation

What’s that noise?” my husband Tom asked.  “Oh that?  It’s just the cement truck backing up in the yard,” I answered.  Last week it was the jack hammer digging the hole in our yard.

When I said I wanted to build a greenhouse I did not mean the kind you pick out of a greenhouse catalog and construct in a weekend if you are a “handy do it yourselfer.” I meant the kind that is attached to your house, and you can walk into on a cold snowy day in winter to pick lemons from your lemon tree.

Planning A Greenhouse Can be Blissfully Complicated

Call it part of my charm, but my idea of a greenhouse is extremely involved. First, we enlisted a talented architect friend up the road, Eduardo Faxas, to help design the greenhouse so it will look like it belongs to the house, since it will be visible from the front.  Then we made the decision to bring in the local building inspector and build a cement foundation ‘to code’ just in case we ever want to dismantle the greenhouse and create a real room with insulation and flooring, etc. (With a lesser foundation we would not have that option down the road). It is also better for resale value because a greenhouse could be seen as undesirable by prospective buyers.

Last spring we did some interior renovations in my Womanswork home office and while the office was torn apart for that, we had the doorway to the future greenhouse installed.  We call it the ‘door to nowhere.’  For now.

We are trying to get the greenhouse foundation wall completed and the cement slab poured before winter sets in.  My stepdaughter Eve and I have been donning our work gloves and shoveling in top soil around the wall to make it easier for our mason to continue his work.  The actual construction of the greenhouse will take place next spring when temperatures permit outdoor work again. Where we live (Dutchess County, NY), it is cold by mid-November. It won’t warm up until April or May.

Door Leading to Future Greenhouse
Door Leading to Future Greenhouse
Dorian and Eve doing some digging
Dorian and Eve doing some digging

2 thoughts on “Building A Hobby Greenhouse by Dorian Winslow

  1. Having witnessed Dorian’s numerous building projects over the years, I am sure that the door will not lead to nowhere for long! Dorian has an amazing talent for envisioning additions and remodeling projects and bringing them to completion!

  2. Dorian, this greenhouse project of yours is something I’ve been thinking of doing also, except I want it for growing orchids during the cold months. One added issue I have is that I live in an historic neighborhood with lots of building/addition rules and regulations (meaning just about every new proposed project in the neighborhood is rejected). But I can be tenatious and I’m going to carefully watch how your project goes. I just might get inspired to start mine!

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