The Greenhouse Fiasco: How Not to Purchase a Greenhouse

I’ve wanted a greenhouse of my own for a very long time, so when we finally bought our first house it was at the tops of my list of things that I wanted to buy (though maybe not top of Carl’s list!). I had a look around on the internet and visited a few places, and eventually decided that my best option would be to buy an ex-display greenhouse from The Greenhouse People based in Stoke-on-Trent. 

 This is my greenhouse on the internet. At the time of writing it’s for sale for £1999 and I paid £888 so I met my first objective of getting good value for money.

BUT! The deal meant that I had to go to Stoke, disassemble the greenhouse myself, transport it home, get it out of the van and reassemble it. This includes 32 individual panes of glass. My mum kindly offered to help me, but she’s 5ft 2 so it was a scary prospect!

We booked a day off, hired a van and drove to Stoke. It was not a fun day. The greenhouse wasn’t difficult to take down but it took a lot of time. Then a piece of glass exploded on us and we lost all our confidence. (I should add here that The Greenhouse People did replace this without me even asking. Despite my terrible experience I would definitely recommend them as none of it was their fault!) Thankfully a kind man who put greenhouses up all the time came to help us, or we would never have got the van back in time otherwise. 

Once we got home we had an hour to unload the van of all of the glass. It was so stressful and we were terrified of breaking another piece of glass. We managed it in the nick of time, and got the van back as the lady was putting her coat  on ready to go home. 

Fortunately we’d already prepared the base for the greenhouse. I wasn’t keen on having concrete in the garden, and paving is very expensive. I did some research and found a solution called Pro Base which is a plastic interlocking grid system. The good news with this is you can re-use it, it’s much kinder to the environment than concrete and much cheaper, working out at about £100 for the greenhouse. 

We used the weed membrane provided with the base and topped it with Cotswold Buff gravel. It was really difficult to get it level but we got there in the end. You’ve got to be so precise with a greenhouse because even if you’re a couple of millimetres out, the glass won’t fit in the greenhouse and you’ll have to start again with the build.

With our base in place we built the greenhouse. This was also really difficult. Because we’re locating the greenhouse in a corner it meant there was very little room to manoeuvre. With the exploding pane of glass fresh on our minds, we were quite scared at times and so wore safety goggles and gloves. This was the amount of space that we had to deal with:

The other problem was our base which turned out to be ever so slightly out in places, and so we had to keep readjusting in order to make the glass fit. We had already got the glass into the above tiny space before we realised the base was not level so it just added to the stress! 

We managed to get the greenhouse built doing a bit at a time over a weekend or two, and this is what we now have:

I can’t face putting the door on or the staging up just yet! 

So in conclusion I saved a lot of money getting the greenhouse this way, and got a much better greenhouse than I otherwise would have. BUT it was very stressful and took a lot of time, so I don’t think I would recommend buying a greenhouse in this way to other people!



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