Aluminium or timber?
Aluminium is the usual choice as it requires little upkeep, and is more economical. It is available in natural aluminium or with a powder coating in various colours. Timber is traditional, and you may feel that, aesthetically, it suits your garden better. It is, however, dearer than a standard aluminium greenhouse.
Where to site my greenhouse?
This does depend on your intended use of the greenhouse. A north-south orientation will allow the most light to both sides of the greenhouse for summer crops such as tomatoes, whilst east-west extends light levels a little in winter. In any case, the greenhouse should ideally be sited where it receives sunlight throughout the day, with the proviso that shelter from high wind is also desirable to minimise any possible damage to your building.
Glazing Horticultural glass, toughened glass, or plastic?
We recommend glass as it lets 90% of light through, whereas twin-wall polycarbonate only transmits approximately 80% and does not reflect heat radiated within the greenhouse back into the building, as glass does. Another drawback with polycarbonate glazing is its flexible nature which can cause issues in very high winds, with possible consequent damage to the greenhouse framework.
Choose toughened glass wherever people could fall against or collide with the greenhouse, or where young children might play ball games.
What base do I need for my greenhouse?
We recommend that greenhouses are installed without a complete solid floor. This gives you the choice of direct planting into the greenhouse border or the use of growbags. It also allows drainage when watering your plants. Options are a brick or concrete plinth, or manufacturer’s prefabricated metal base. It is essential to follow the greenhouse manufacturer’s recommendation as detailed on their website/brochure.
What ventilation should I have?
Greenhouses are supplied as standard with at least 1 opening roof vent. You can add further roof vents on larger buildings, and louvre vents to the side walls to increase air flow for your plants. We recommend having at least 1 automatic vent opener.
What maintenance will my greenhouse require?
Generally, aluminium greenhouses either plain or coloured require little maintenance except cleaning. In addition to cleaning, timber greenhouses require period maintenance of the framework.
How is the greenhouse delivered?
Greenhouses are delivered direct from the manufacturer on vehicles of a similar size to a furniture removal van. If you have restricted access for such a vehicle, or are in any doubt, please discuss this when ordering.
Can I erect the greenhouse myself or should it be done by a professional installer?
Swallow Greenhouses are installed by Swallow (GB) themselves and there is no additional charge for this. Aluminium greenhouses come with comprehensive instructions and can be installed by a competent ‘DIYer’. For an average size greenhouse allow a day to assemble the framework and then a second day if you are not able to complete the glazing on the first day, as it is not recommended to leave the building half glazed in case of high wind.
Alternatively, Halls Greenhouses have an installation service, or BGB Greenhouses can recommend installers local to Tonbridge.