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Looking to extend your gardening season and cultivate a blooming paradise right in your backyard? Building a DIY greenhouse can be the perfect solution. This insightful guide will navigate you through the exciting process of how to build a greenhouse – from understanding its basics to mastering step-by-step construction techniques.

Understanding the Basics of a Greenhouse

An off-grid couple build a greenhouse

Diving into the essentials, a greenhouse is a structure mainly designed to extend your gardening season. The goal? To create an environment where plants can thrive beyond the constraints of external weather conditions.

Greenhouses harness the power of sunlight, turning it into heat through a process called “solar radiation.” This heat is confined within the walls and roof of the space, creating a warm and humid microclimate ideal for plant growth.

However, not all greenhouses are created equal. Their construction materials – ranging from fiberglass to clear plastic sheeting, polycarbonate or glass – significantly affect their productivity.

Cedar and polycarbonate are popular choices for DIY hobbyists due to their durability and ease of use. Also critical in constructing a successful greenhouse is its design that should allow optimal sunlight diffusion across crops while maintaining stable internal temperature levels; this can be achieved using either single-pane windows or double-pane ones according to preference and budget considerations.

Remember that precise planning on graph paper before starting your build ensures accuracy in dimensions; our guideline here focuses on constructing 10-ft. W x 14-ft. D x 12-ft. H cedar-polycarbonate greenhouses but feel free to modify them based on your specific needs.

Importance of a Greenhouse

A greenhouse can revolutionize your gardening experience, providing a myriad of advantages not only for your plants but also for you as a homesteader. Enhanced control over growing conditions is one significant benefit; greenhouses allow you to manipulate factors such as temperature and humidity, enabling plant growth all year round regardless of the outdoor weather.

With this ability to garden in any season, you can continually cultivate an array of produce – from fruits and vegetables to blooming flowers.

Moreover, greenhouses offer protective environments that shield sensitive plants from harsh elements like storms or damaging pests. This protection helps increase yield quality while drastically reducing crop loss issues common on open-field farming practices.

Lastly, building a greenhouse extends the growing season significantly – a factor crucial for steady food production or commercial success if selling produce is part of your plan.

Early seed starting becomes viable with controlled temperatures inside the structure, allowing seedlings to gain maturity before being transplanted outdoors when weather permits. Similarly, late-season crops would enjoy extended life spans within these protected confines compared against normal outdoor settings.

Different Types of Greenhouses

A greenhouse full of plants inside and around the structure

There are several different types of greenhouses you can choose from, each with its own unique design and advantages. From lean-to to geodome, explore the various options, find the perfect greenhouse and build one!

Lean-To Greenhouse

Lean-To Greenhouse, as its name suggests, leans on an existing structure like your home or garage. It’s a practical choice for homesteaders with limited space but still want to enjoy the benefits of greenhouse gardening.

The design merges well with the current architecture and enhances both aesthetics and functionality. Using materials like cedar or galvanized steel for framing and polycarbonate sheets or glass for walling ensures durability while maintaining optimal sunlight diffusion essential for plant growth.

One key benefit is that it utilizes heat from the adjacent building during colder periods which can reduce heating costs saving you money in return.

Barn Style Greenhouse

A barn style greenhouse is a popular choice for homesteaders looking to add a touch of rustic charm to their backyard. This type of greenhouse is designed to resemble a traditional barn, with its sloping roof and wide open space inside.

It provides ample room for growing a variety of plants and vegetables, making it perfect for those who want to take their gardening game up a notch. With its sturdy frame and durable materials, such as cedar and polycarbonate sheets, a barn style greenhouse can withstand different weather conditions while providing optimal sunlight diffusion for your plants’ growth.

So if you’re seeking an attractive yet functional addition to your homestead, consider building your own DIY barn style greenhouse!

A-Frame Greenhouses

One popular type of greenhouse design for homesteaders is the A-Frame greenhouse. This style features a roof that mimics the shape of the letter “A”, providing ample headroom and vertical growing space.

A-Frame greenhouses are known for their simplicity in construction and versatility in size, making them ideal for small-scale gardening. The steeply sloped roof allows rainwater and snow to easily slide off, preventing any structural damage.

However, it’s important to note that while this type of greenhouse offers excellent airflow and natural light penetration, it may have slightly less overall floor area compared to other designs.

Gable Greenhouses

Gable greenhouses are a popular choice among homesteaders looking to build their own DIY greenhouse. These types of greenhouses feature a distinctive peaked roof design, which helps maximize the amount of sunlight that enters the structure.

Gable greenhouses can be built in various sizes and are known for their durability and strength. They offer ample headroom, allowing plants to grow tall and flourish. With proper ventilation and insulation, gable greenhouses can create an ideal environment for growing a variety of crops throughout the year.

Whether you’re an experienced gardener or just starting out, when you build the greenhouse, it will be a rewarding project that will provide you with year-round fresh produce.

Quonset Greenhouses

Quonset greenhouses are a popular choice for homesteaders looking to construct a larger greenhouse. These unique structures offer strength and simplicity in their design, making them easier to build and less expensive than traditional trusses.

With step-by-step instructions and illustrations, Quonset greenhouses provide all the necessary information to make construction a breeze. The curved shape of these greenhouses offers ample air space while maintaining durability.

Whether you’re an experienced builder or just starting out, Quonset greenhouses are a fantastic option for extending your growing season and creating a protected environment for your plants.

Gothic Arch Greenhouses

Gothic arch greenhouses are a popular choice among homesteaders looking to construct their own DIY greenhouse. These unique structures have bent walls that form a pointed roof, offering more air space compared to traditional truss-style designs.

Not only do Gothic arch greenhouses provide ample room for your plants, but they are also easier and less expensive to build. With free plans and instructions available online, you can customize the design according to your budget and specific gardening needs.

Another benefit of the Gothic arch design is its ability to withstand high winds and heavy snowfall, thanks to its sturdy structure. Plus, the roof shape allows for easy drainage of rainwater and snow, preventing any potential damage.

Geodome Greenhouses

Geodome greenhouses are a popular choice for DIY enthusiasts looking to construct their own greenhouse. These unique structures feature curved panels that form a dome shape, creating an eye-catching design that stands out in any garden.

But it’s not just about looks – geodome greenhouses offer practical benefits too. They provide ample space for plants to thrive, with the curved panels maximizing the growing area on the ground.

Additionally, geodome greenhouses are known for their sturdy construction and ability to withstand extreme weather conditions like heavy winds and snowfall. The curved panels also provide excellent insulation, keeping the greenhouse warm during winter months and cool in the summer heat.

Pre-Construction Considerations

An off-grid greenhouse with fresh produce and lots of sunshine

Before embarking on your greenhouse construction project, there are several important factors to consider.


The location of your greenhouse is a crucial factor that will determine the success of your gardening endeavors. Choosing the right spot ensures that your plants receive optimal sunlight and creates a favorable environment for growth.

For homesteaders in North America, it is advisable to place the greenhouse on the south or southeast side of your house to maximize sunlight during winter months. This allows for longer growing seasons and helps extend harvest time.

Remember, different plants have different light requirements, so consider this when selecting a location for your DIY greenhouse project.

Size and Proportions

The size and proportions of your greenhouse are important considerations when planning your DIY project. A 10-ft. W x 14-ft. D x 12-ft. H greenhouse, like the one we will be discussing, provides ample space for growing a variety of plants and vegetables. Be sure to check out other dimensions if building a mini greenhouse. 

This size allows for good air circulation while ensuring enough room for shelving and maneuvering inside the structure. Keep in mind that larger greenhouses may require additional support structures to handle snow loads and strong winds.

By carefully considering the size and proportions of your greenhouse, you can create an optimal environment for your plants to thrive throughout the gardening season.”.

Material Selection

Choosing the right materials for your greenhouse is crucial for its durability and functionality. Cedar and polycarbonate are popular choices due to their resistance to rot and ability to withstand harsh weather conditions such as hail etc. 

Cedar is a durable wood that provides natural insulation, while polycarbonate sheets offer excellent sunlight diffusion. These materials not only ensure a sturdy structure but also promote optimal growing conditions for your plants.

Additionally, aluminum and galvanized steel are recommended for greenhouse frames, as they are rust-resistant and provide strength. When selecting materials, keep in mind the cost, longevity, and specific needs of your DIY project.

Weather Conditions

The weather conditions in your area play a crucial role in greenhouse construction. It’s important to consider factors such as temperature fluctuationswind speedprecipitation levels, and sunlight exposure when building your DIY greenhouse.

For example, if you live in an area with harsh winters and heavy snowfall, you’ll need to ensure that your greenhouse can withstand the weight of snow on the roof and maintain proper insulation to keep your plants protected.

On the other hand, if you reside in a hot climate with intense sunlight, opting for materials that provide shade or diffused light can prevent overheating and scorching of delicate seedlings.

Permit Requirements

Before you start constructing your greenhouse, it’s crucial to check if you need any building permits. Permit requirements may vary depending on your location and local regulations, so it’s always a good idea to do some research or consult with the appropriate authorities.

Certain factors like the size of your greenhouse and its intended use can affect whether a permit is necessary. By ensuring you have the proper permits in place, you can avoid potential headaches down the line and ensure that your DIY project meets all legal requirements.

Tools and Materials Required for Greenhouse Construction

Two men build a greenhouse off-grid in the rainforest

To successfully build your own greenhouse, you will need a variety of tools and materials. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

Step-by-Step Guide to Build a Greenhouse

Learn how to build your own greenhouse with our detailed step-by-step guide, complete with illustrations and helpful tips. From laying the foundation to installing the roof, we’ll walk you through each stage of construction.

Discover everything you need to know to create a thriving environment for your plants and extend your gardening season.

Foundation Building

The foundation of your greenhouse is the key to its stability and durability. Begin by choosing the right location for your greenhouse, ensuring it gets ample sunlight throughout the day.

Clear the area of any debris or vegetation and level the ground using a shovel, measuring tape, and level. For a solid foundation, consider using concrete blocks or poured concrete mixed with rebar for added strength.

Place J-hooks in strategic locations to hold down your frame securely. Another option is a wood foundation made from pressure-treated lumber that provides good drainage.

Ensure proper ventilation by incorporating vents into your foundation design. Frame out space where you plan to add windows or screens for airflow control during warmer months. Now you have a stable base on which you can construct the walls, roof, and other components of your greenhouse! So grab those tools and get ready to build a fantastic structure that will protect your plants year-round while maximizing their growth potential.

Want more information about how to build an amazing DIY backyard greenhouse? Click here [insert link] for detailed step-by-step instructions and tips!

Constructing Side and Back Walls

To begin constructing the side and back walls of your greenhouse, you’ll need to follow these steps. First, build the wall frames using pressure-treated lumber for durability. Install wall studs at regular intervals for added stability.

Next, add sill blocking between each stud to strengthen the structure.

Once the frames are in place, it’s time to install sheathing on both sides of the walls. Use weather barrier sheathing for optimal protection against moisture and harsh weather conditions.

Secure the sheathing with construction screws and apply butyl sealant tape along all seams to ensure a watertight seal.

After completing the sheathing, it’s time to add finishing touches. Install corner trim on all exposed corners of your greenhouse using cedar lap siding for an attractive look that also provides added protection against wear and tear.

Finish off by adding cedar fascia boards beneath the roof edge and fastening them securely.

Framing the Front Wall

A man installing glass panels on his greenhouse

To ensure the stability and structural integrity of your greenhouse, framing the front wall is a critical step in the construction process. Using butyl sealant tape for added weatherproofing, you’ll attach cedar boards to create a sturdy frame.

This front wall will serve as the backbone of your greenhouse, supporting the weight of the trusses and roofing materials. With precision cuts and careful assembly, you’ll secure each piece into place using screws designed to withstand outdoor conditions.

The result will be a durable and reliable structure that can thrive in any climate, providing an ideal environment for your beloved plants.

Anchoring the Walls

To ensure stability and durability, proper anchoring of the greenhouse walls is essential. Start by digging holes at each corner of the greenhouse where the walls will be anchored.

These holes should be deep enough to accommodate concrete footers or sonotubes. Insert J-bolts into the wet concrete, making sure they are positioned correctly for attaching wall plates later on.

Allow the concrete to cure according to manufacturer instructions.

Once the footers are set, position treated 2×8 lumber vertically against each corner post of the greenhouse walls and secure them using lag screws or bolts. The bottom of these treated boards should sit flush with the ground level for additional support against shifting or settling.

Now that your corner posts are securely attached to the footers, attach a plate made from pressure-treated lumber horizontally along both sides of each wall section, ensuring it aligns with the top edge of each vertical post while overlapping onto adjacent sections by a few inches.

Assembling Gable Walls

The construction of a greenhouse at a homestead

Assembling the gable walls is a crucial step in building your own greenhouse. These walls form the peak of the structure and provide stability and support for the roof. To assemble the gable walls, you will need to carefully follow the measurements and instructions provided in your greenhouse plans.

Use sturdy framing lumber to create the wall frame, ensuring it is strong enough to withstand wind and other weather conditions. Once the frame is built, attach sheathing material such as polycarbonate or glass to enclose the walls securely.

This will protect your plants from outdoor elements while still allowing sunlight to filter through. By taking your time during this step and following proper construction techniques, you can ensure that your gable walls are solidly built and ready for further progress in constructing your DIY greenhouse.

Building the Trusses

To construct the trusses for your greenhouse, you’ll need to gather the necessary materials such as rafters and collar ties. These components form the structural framework of your greenhouse’s roof.

Using a circular saw, cut the rafters and collar ties to size according to your specific dimensions provided in our outlines. Once cut, position them accurately on a sturdy work surface and secure them together using construction screws or framing nails.

Remember that trusses are essential for providing stability and support to your greenhouse structure, so make sure they are built with precision and accuracy. With the trusses complete, you’re one step closer to having a fully functional DIY greenhouse that will help extend your gardening season and protect your plants from adverse weather conditions.”.

Positioning the Trusses

To ensure a sturdy and well-supported greenhouse, the positioning of the trusses is crucial. Trusses are the structural framework that supports the roof, so their proper placement is essential for stability.

Using a template to cut identical rafters and assemble the trusses will help maintain consistency throughout your construction process. Once assembled, position them in place according to your greenhouse design plan.

The trusses should be evenly spaced and aligned with precision to ensure they provide adequate support for the roof structure. By focusing on accurate positioning of the trusses, you’ll create a secure foundation for your greenhouse project.that can withstand various weather conditions and stand strong year-round.

Cutting out the Door Opening

To create the door opening for your greenhouse, you’ll need to carefully measure and mark the dimensions before cutting. This step is crucial in ensuring easy access to your greenhouse and efficient movement of plants and equipment.

Use a circular saw or jigsaw to make precise cuts along the marked lines. Remember to wear safety goggles and gloves when handling power tools. By creating a well-placed door opening, you’ll be able to easily enter and exit your greenhouse, making plant care and maintenance a breeze.

Framing the Door

To complete the construction of your DIY greenhouse, the next step is framing the door. This important part of the process involves creating a sturdy and secure entrance to your greenhouse.

Using the provided greenhouse plans, measure and cut the necessary lumber for the door frame, including a header, trimmer stud, and king stud. Secure them together using construction screws or nails for added stability.

Once assembled, position the door frame in place within the front wall structure according to your measurements. Make sure it is level before fastening it securely with screws or nails.

Framing the door will give you easy access to your greenhouse while keeping it well-insulated for optimal plant growth.

Sheathing the Bottom

Now that the walls of your greenhouse are in place, it’s time to move on to sheathing the bottom. This step is essential for sealing off your greenhouse and protecting it from moisture and pests.

Using weather barrier sheathing, carefully cut and install the panels along the bottom perimeter of your greenhouse walls. Make sure to use butyl sealant tape between each panel for added protection against leaks.

By properly sheathing the bottom of your greenhouse, you’ll ensure a sturdy and secure foundation for all your gardening needs.

Installing Siding

a man preparing the siding that will be installed on the outside wall of his greenhouse

One crucial step in constructing a greenhouse is installing siding. Siding helps protect the structure from the elements and gives it a finished look. Cedar lap siding and corner trim are commonly used for this purpose.

The bottom half of the greenhouse is typically covered with siding to create a sturdy and attractive base. Stainless steel ring-shank nails are ideal for attaching the siding securely.

Additionally, polycarbonate sheets can be used to sheath the walls of the greenhouse above the siding, providing excellent insulation and allowing sunlight diffusion for optimal plant growth.

Finishing Sheathing the Walls

To complete the construction of your DIY greenhouse, you’ll need to finish sheathing the walls with polycarbonate sheets and cedar boards. The use of polycarbonate sheets allows for optimal sunlight diffusion while maintaining durability.

Start by measuring and cutting the sheets to fit each wall panel, ensuring a snug fit. Then attach them securely using construction screws and butyl sealant tape for added weather protection.

Once the polycarbonate sheets are in place, it’s time to install cedar boards as trim for a polished look. Use stainless steel siding nails to affix the cedar boards, making sure they are properly aligned and spaced evenly.

Fastening the Fascia

Fastening the fascia is an important step in constructing your greenhouse as it adds a finished look while also protecting the edges of the roof. To do this, you will need nails and butyl tape.

First, position the fascia beneath the edge of the roof and secure it using construction screws. Make sure to leave some overhang for a clean finish. Next, apply butyl sealant tape along the top edge of the fascia to create a watertight seal.

This will help prevent any moisture from seeping into your greenhouse. Finally, fasten the fascia in place by nailing it down using stainless steel ring-shank siding nails for added durability.

By properly fastening the fascia, you’ll ensure that your greenhouse not only looks great but also remains protected against any potential water damage.

Trimming the Roof

After constructing the walls and framing the roof for your DIY greenhouse, it’s time to tackle an important step: trimming the roof. This involves adding finishing touches that not only enhance the aesthetics but also ensure proper insulation and protection against weather elements.

Using cedar boards, you’ll install fasciafrieze boardscorner trim, and gable batten to complete the look of your greenhouse. Additionally, these trimmings provide added durability by strengthening the structure against wind and water damage.

Remember to use stainless steel nails or screws specifically designed for outdoor use to prevent rusting over time. Once you’re done with this step, your greenhouse will truly stand out while providing a reliable shelter for your plants throughout the gardening season.

Installing the Screen Door

Proper ventilation is essential for a functional greenhouse, and installing a screen door can provide just that. Not only does it allow fresh air to circulate inside the greenhouse, but it also allows you easy access in and out of the space.

With a screen door, you can keep pests out while ensuring your plants get enough airflow to thrive. Remember to choose a sturdy door that fits well within your greenhouse design, and make sure it’s properly installed so that it opens smoothly without obstructing any other structures or pathways within the greenhouse.

Post-Construction Considerations

A greenhouse lit up at night with internal lighting

After completing the construction of your greenhouse, it’s important to consider various aspects for optimal functionality, including electricity and lighting, heating system installation, water supply and irrigation setup, air circulation and ventilation solutions, as well as selecting the appropriate flooring materials.

Electricity and Lighting

Electricity is an essential component of a successful greenhouse, providing power for temperature control and equipment. It allows you to regulate the heat and light needed for optimal plant growth.

One important aspect of greenhouse lighting is ensuring that your plants receive enough light to thrive. Proper lighting is crucial for photosynthesis, which helps plants convert sunlight into energy.

Depending on the type of plants you are growing, supplemental lighting may be necessary during the darker winter months or in areas with limited natural sunlight. A combination of natural and artificial lighting can help create an ideal environment for your plants to flourish.

In terms of electricity, it’s important to consider safety precautions when setting up electrical systems in your greenhouse. Ensure that all electrical components are properly grounded and protected from moisture to prevent any potential hazards or damage caused by water exposure.

Installing GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets can also provide additional protection against electrical shocks.

Heating System

One crucial aspect of building a greenhouse is implementing a reliable heating system. This will ensure that your plants are protected from cold temperatures and can thrive all year round.

A variety of options are available, including electrical heaterspropane heaters, or even wood-burning stoves. It’s important to consider the size of your greenhouse and the specific heating needs of your plants when selecting a system.

Additionally, don’t forget about insulation to prevent heat loss and reduce energy costs. By providing a suitable heating system for your greenhouse, you’ll create an ideal environment for plant growth and extend your gardening season effortlessly.

Water Supply and Irrigation

A greenhouse showing off its irrigation system and fresh produce

Proper water supply and irrigation are vital elements to consider when constructing a greenhouse. A sufficient water source is necessary to ensure optimal plant growth and health within the greenhouse environment.

Depending on the size and scale of your project, you may choose between hand watering or automatic watering devices to deliver water to your plants. It’s important to note that proper drainage is crucial in preventing water accumulation, which could potentially damage the greenhouse structure.

The design of your roof can also play a role in managing rainwater and snow drainage, for example, Gothic arch designs allow for easy drainage. Additionally, the location of your greenhouse will impact access to water sources and potential needs for irrigation systems.

Air Circulation and Ventilation

Proper air circulation and ventilation are essential factors to consider when constructing a DIY greenhouse. Adequate airflow helps prevent the buildup of pests and diseases that thrive in stagnant air, ensuring a healthy environment for your plants.

Components such as fans and vents are necessary to maintain optimal air circulation within the greenhouse. Additionally, placing the greenhouse on the south or southeast side of your property maximizes sunlight exposure and natural airflow.

This contributes to efficient ventilation while protecting your plants from temperature swings and storms. So, remember to prioritize proper air circulation during both the construction and post-construction phases of your project for a thriving plant environment in your homestead greenhouse.


Choosing the right flooring for your greenhouse is crucial to ensure a healthy and productive growing environment. One popular option is landscape fabric, which allows water drainage while preventing weeds from infiltrating your greenhouse.

Another option is using limestone as a base for your greenhouse floor, providing good drainage and stability. If you prefer a more polished look, consider composite decking or even boardwalk-style flooring to give your greenhouse a professional finish.

Whatever flooring material you choose, make sure it can withstand moisture and regular foot traffic associated with gardening activities in order to create a functional space that will last for years to come.

When to Call a Professional

If you’re a homesteader eager to tackle your own greenhouse construction project, it’s important to know when it might be time to call in the professionals. While building a greenhouse can be a rewarding DIY endeavor, there are instances where their expertise and experience can make all the difference.

If you’re uncertain about electrical wiring or dealing with complex heating systems, it’s best to leave those tasks to an expert who can ensure safety and efficiency. Additionally, if you live in an area with strict permit requirements or have specific structural considerations due to challenging weather conditions, consulting with a professional builder can help navigate these complexities.

Remember that investing in professional assistance for certain aspects of your greenhouse project is not only wise but also ensures the long-term success of your gardening venture.


In conclusion, building your own greenhouse is a rewarding DIY project that can extend your gardening season and protect your plants from the elements. With the right materials and tools, you can create a thriving environment for your seedlings or potted plants.

Whether you choose to construct a cold or cool greenhouse, there are plenty of options and designs available to suit your needs. So roll up your sleeves, grab those hand tools, and get ready to enjoy the benefits of having a greenhouse in your backyard!


Find additional information on ‘Build a Greenhouse‘ below or click the following link to read more on ‘DIY PROJECTS‘.

What materials do I need to build a DIY greenhouse?

To build a DIY greenhouse, you will need materials such as PVC pipes, greenhouse plastic, greenhouse kit (optional), glass or polycarbonate panels, and DIY greenhouse plans.

Can I build a small DIY greenhouse?

Yes, building a small DIY greenhouse is a popular option for those with limited space. You can customize the size and design to fit your needs.

What is a PVC greenhouse?

A PVC greenhouse is a greenhouse structure made using PVC pipes as the frame. PVC is a lightweight and affordable material, which makes it a popular choice for DIY greenhouse projects.

Can I use recycled windows to build a greenhouse?

Yes, you can use recycled windows to build a greenhouse. Many people repurpose old windows and use them to create the walls and roof of their greenhouse. It’s a cost-effective and eco-friendly option.

What is the best greenhouse design?

The best greenhouse design depends on various factors, such as the available space, budget, and intended use. Some popular designs include glass greenhouses, A-frame greenhouses, and framed greenhouses.

What is a 10-foot greenhouse?

A 10-foot greenhouse refers to a greenhouse that measures 10 feet in length or width. It’s a compact greenhouse size that is suitable for small gardens or limited spaces.

What is a hobby greenhouse?

A hobby greenhouse is a small and usually inexpensive greenhouse that is perfect for gardening enthusiasts to pursue their hobby. It provides a controlled environment for growing plants, even in limited spaces.

Can I build a greenhouse with a screen door?

Yes, you can build a greenhouse with a screen door. A screen door allows for ventilation while keeping insects and pests out of the greenhouse.

Can I build a greenhouse using plastic panels?

Yes, you can build a greenhouse using plastic panels. Plastic panels, such as plastic film, are a common and affordable option for greenhouse coverings. They allow light to pass through while providing insulation for plants.