Different Types of Greenhouse: Advantages and Disadvantages

Types of Greenhouse

Home greenhouses are a great opportunity for gardeners to expand their cultivation period. Growing vegetables is now not limited to a particular season. Since sunlight is the main driving force of a greenhouse, when it comes to setting up a unit, one needs to choose a greenhouse structure that ensures the availability of the maximum sunlight inside of this indoor garden. In this post, I will give you a detailed overview of the greenhouse types available along with their advantages and disadvantages.

Different types of greenhouses

There are different types of greenhouses available. Below are the most common types

  • Lean-to
  • Even-span
  • Uneven-span
  • Quonset/Hoop-house
  • Gothic arch
  • Conventional/Post-and-Rafter
  • A-frame
  • Cold Frame and Hotbed


The attached greenhouse as the name implies is attached to the building. One great advantage of building such a structure is the house owner does not require so many materials as compared to building a freestanding structure. Also, no separate heating and ventilation tools are required for this type. However, one limitation of this type is controlling the temperature inside the greenhouse. Another limitation is the main house can limit the light exposure required by plants.

There are two shapes of an attached  greenhouse

  • Lean-to and
  • Even span


Lean-to attached greenhouse is set up on the south-facing side of the building which is cheap to heat and an ideal choice to set up one such structure for people living in cold climates.

Even span

On the other hand, the structure of an even-space greenhouse is more spacious allowing growers cultivating more plants.

One limitation of even span is unlike lean-to type, heating inside of this type of greenhouse is expensive. Because of the higher

cost of heating, many people prefer setting up a free-standing greenhouse instead of an even span greenhouse.

Since both lean-to and even span greenhouse structures are attached to the structure of the main house, they lack the passage of plenty of sunlight.


For this type of structure, the south-facing side of the house wall is selected as the place of the installation and the greenhouse is attached with the window frame. It is a great option for gardeners who have limited space or for someone who lives in a flat and wants to grow some herbs throughout the year. Besides, the structure is compact, easy to heat and inexpensive to maintain.

Freestanding Greenhouse

Similar to the attached type, there are two types of freestanding greenhouse -even-span and lean-to shapes


The structure features the equal-sized rafters, roof truss, and self-supporting construction.

One can easily recognize an even span freestanding greenhouse by the presence of a traditional gable. It is the most common type of greenhouse since the structure utilizes the maximum amount of sunlight.

Besides, inside of this structure, there are plenty of spaces available allowing gardeners to grow a wide range of plants. To set up an even-span freestanding greenhouse requires floor-to-ceiling glass panels and aluminum frame for extra support.


This structure of the greenhouse is a complete opposite of the even-span type since the rafters are unequal and the structure is not self-supported. This greenhouse structure is ideal to set up in a mountain area.

The advantage of this structure is it facilitates the passage of the maximum sunlight inside the greenhouse. However, the downside of it is the structure permits limited space inside the greenhouse and thus gardeners face difficulty while working inside of it.


The distinguishing feature of this structure is a curved roof and military hut-style design. This type of greenhouse is made of aluminum or PVC pipes and is reinforced with a polyethylene film or panels for better insulation.

The height of sidewalls is quite low resulting in limited storage space. This structure of the greenhouse is the cheapest and easiest type to build making it a favorite type among many gardeners.


This is the most aesthetically and pleasant looking greenhouse structure. The design of the greenhouse follows the structure of Gothic cathedrals all over the world.

The structure of gothic style greenhouses are quite wide which greatly facilitates cultivating plants in different styles -in the rows, on the shelves  and hang the pots


This structure is the simplest and easiest structure to set up and looks cute. Setting up such a structure also does not require much space as well as materials.  One can get away with a few essential tools like fiberglass, PVC fabric, and a cloning machine The ideal place to install a frame greenhouse structure in a little backyard garden.

To set up such a structure you need to combine roof and sidewalls together to form a signature triangular structure. However, one downside of this structure is poor air circulation inside the structure.


The structure of this greenhouse is quite popular among gardeners. It is because the structure is relatively simple and perhaps the strongest one out of all types.


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