Every small or large greenhouse should be secured to the ground. For a big structure is makes sense to build a sturdy concrete base foundation to make sure that it will be secure. There are 5 options of cheap and sturdy foundations suitable for a hobby greenhouse structure.
You would need to consider if you need a foundation at all and what are the pros and cons of each foundation option. If you are going to pour a concrete slab for greenhouse foundation, then you have a floor already. However, if you put a greenhouse on the ground or perimeter base, you need to have a flooring.
You have a choice of concrete slab, pebbles, gravel bricks and commercial plastic ground cover. When choosing the best floor for a greenhouse you need to consider these factors:
- Can it provide good drainage?
- Does it have insulation properties?
- Can it keep out weeds and pests?
- What can you grow and how you can grow it?
- Is it durable, easy to clean and maintain?
So, based on all of the above, what is the best floor for a greenhouse?
The best floor for a greenhouse is using a polypropylene ground cover to keep out weeds and pests and covering it with pea gravel. Pea gravel is cheap and easy to install. It provides good drainage and porous ground cover will allow water to drain through the fabric .
This simple greenhouse flooring is easy to assemble in a new location, so you don’t need to worry about moving your greenhouse if you have to. Polypropylene ground cover is porous, so it lets water soak through the fabric. Make sure to cover the fabric with 3 to 4 inches of gravel completely.
That way you can eliminate the problem with standing water in a greenhouse. Moreover, in the summer gravel helps to retain moisture to up the humidity and in the winter it insulates the floor. By laying gravel floor you can also damp down in the summer without worrying about condensation.
Factors that make the best greenhouse flooring for you:
The type of flooring you choose has an impact on the decision to change or erect you first greenhouse. For example, if you want to expand your existing greenhouse or buy a new one, a permanent concrete slab can be a problem.
However, if you decided to lay concrete because you want to store pots and equipment in a greenhouse, build the greenhouse first. Then you can lay the concrete slab to the size of the greenhouse. That way it fill fit the foundation and you can also expand it in the future.
With a simple flooring solution like ground cover and gravel you can easily move it to the new location. It is very easy to set up, so you are saving on time, money and labor. Moreover, you can also adjust the gravel and ground cover floor to the size of the greenhouse.
All you need to do is to buy more gravel which is easy to store in a garage. Make sure that gravel is completely dry before storing, so mold won’t develop. Also, you can buy a 12′ x 14′ polypropylene ground cover and either fold or cut it to size of your foundation.
2. Growing needs and preferences
What you want to grow in a greenhouse determines what type of foundation you need. If you are a beginner, start with the easy plants to grow. You can find a list of plants to grow in a greenhouse for a beginner here. Most of these plants benefit from growing directly in the soil.
Think what are you going to use a greenhouse for. If it is mainly for propagation, then it makes sense to have a solid flooring like concrete or paving slabs. That way you can install propagation stations and store the necessary equipment.
However, if you want to have a productive greenhouse where you need areas of bare soil to grow plants, then foundation or flooring are not necessary. In this case I always recommend building a raised garden bed to avoid build up of soil borne diseases.
If you want to sow seeds directly in the soil, you can lay the pathway in the center for you to walk on. You can either cover it with gravel and lay concrete slabs. It will help to keep the structure clean and tidy. Let’s not forget that these two options will help to drain excess water away.
3. Insulation properties
Apart from providing good drainage, the best greenhouse floor should insulate the structure when it is cold outside. That is why pea gravel is a good option. It absorbs heat from the sun and releases it into the surrounding environment during the day and night.
Moreover, pea gravel can actually increase the temperature inside the greenhouse and it adds glare from reflected light. Although laying plastic ground cover on the cold ground won’t keep the cold out as it is porous, it serves as a weed barrier.
With proper care and maintenance, a gravel greenhouse flooring can last for many years. Pea gravel doesn’t decompose, however, it can sink into the soil. Polypropylene ground cover is 6mm to 8mm thick, so it is a heavy plastic.
Moreover, the ground cover is UV blocking and will withstand foot traffic inside the greenhouse. However, it can deteriorate in intensive sun over several years. So, you would need to replenish pea gravel and lay a new ground cover every four years or so.
5. Easy Maintenance
It is very easy to keep pea gravel flooring looking good. Tidy the surface every now and then with a rake. It will move the stones into place. Gravel is easy to clean. Just shovel the gravel into the wheelbarrow and rinse with water. Then spread the gravel on the fabric and dry for an hour in the sun.
Give it a clean annually as a part of the greenhouse deep clean. Once you moved gravel into the wheelbarrow, take care of the ground cover. Sweep the debris with a broom and then wipe it with a cloth soaked in a solution of warm water and mild detergent. Let it dry out completely.
To sum up, laying ground cover with pea gravel is a cost-effective way to install a durable greenhouse flooring. It will drain well, block weeds and rodents and is easy to look after. However, you might consider other flooring options like bricks or landscape rocks.
They will certainly make a greenhouse more attractive which doesn’t compromise on functionality. Let me know if you want to know more about building a greenhouse foundation and flooring construction. You can also ask me question by using a contact form.
Are you using gravel for greenhouse floor? Share your experience with gravel or ground cover in the comments section!
Happy Greenhousing 🙂