DIY Greenhouse-On-Wheels for Small Spaces & Backyards


  • Discover what a greenhouse-on-wheels is and the unique advantages it offers for small-space gardening.
  • Learn about the essential materials and tools needed to construct your mobile greenhouse.
  • Get step-by-step guidance on designing and assembling the frame for your rolling garden.
  • Find out how to choose the right plants and accessories to create a functional and beautiful space.
  • Understand the benefits of greenhouse portability, including adapting to seasons and making the most of limited spaces.

What Exactly Is a Greenhouse-On-Wheels?

Imagine a mini oasis that follows the sun, a tiny haven for your plants that’s not tied down to one spot. That’s what a greenhouse-on-wheels is – a mobile sanctuary for your greenery. It’s a compact, moveable structure that protects your plants from harsh weather while letting them bask in the sun, no matter where they move across your yard.

Why Your Small Garden Needs One

For those with limited space or who love to rearrange their gardens on a whim, a greenhouse-on-wheels is a game-changer. It lets you optimize sunlight exposure, protect delicate plants during extreme weather, and even extend your growing season. Plus, it’s perfect for urban gardeners who might need to move their green spaces for various reasons – like apartment rules or just for a change of scenery.

Gearing Up for Your Greenhouse

Before we roll up our sleeves, let’s ensure we have everything we need. Building a greenhouse-on-wheels isn’t just a fun weekend project; it’s a crafty way to upgrade your gardening game. So, gather your materials, and let’s get to work.

Materials and Tools Checklist

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Frame Material:
    • Aluminum: Lightweight and rust-resistant.
    • Wood: A sustainable and aesthetically pleasing option.

Note that you can build your frame or just buy a Cabinet from Amazon or Ikea and customize it as a portable greenhouse.

  • Walls and Roof:
    • For durability and light transmission, use transparent panels, such as polycarbonate and glass sheets.
  • Mobility Components:
    • Sturdy wheels are suitable for the weight and terrain of your greenhouse.
  • Tools and Additional Materials:
    • Essential toolkit: Drill, screws, saw, measuring tape, and a level.
    • Insulation materials for temperature control.
    • Ventilation systems for air circulation.
    • Optional watering system for plant care.

Once you’ve ticked off each item, you’re ready to roll.

Choosing the Right Spot for Your Greenhouse

Location, location, location. Even though your greenhouse will have wheels, starting in the right spot makes all the difference. Look for a level area that gets plenty of sunlight throughout the day. Avoid places with too much shade or where water tends to pool. Remember, you can always move your greenhouse, but it’s best to have a great starting point.

Assembling Your Greenhouse Step-by-Step

Now that we’ve got our materials ready, it’s time to build. First, we’ll construct a sturdy frame. Use the lumber to create a rectangular base, and make sure every joint is secure. This base will support the entire structure, so double-check those measurements with your T-square and level.

Next, erect the vertical supports that will form the skeleton of your greenhouse. Attach them firmly to the base, ensuring they’re perfectly upright. Once the skeleton is in place, it’s time to add the roof supports. These should slope at an angle to allow rain and snow to slide off easily.

Customizing Your Greenhouse

With the frame ready, it’s time to cover it up. But before we do, let’s talk about customization. This is your chance to get creative. Think about the kind of doors you want. Will they swing open or slide? How many windows do you need for ventilation? And most importantly, what type of covering will you use? Clear plastic sheeting is affordable and effective, while polycarbonate panels are more durable and provide better insulation.

Selecting the Appropriate Plants

Choosing the right plants for your greenhouse-on-wheels is crucial. You want species that will thrive in a controlled environment. Leafy greens, herbs, and some vegetables like tomatoes and peppers are excellent choices. But remember, the beauty of a mobile greenhouse is that you can experiment. If a plant isn’t happy in one spot, simply wheel your greenhouse to a new location with different light conditions.

Accessorizing for Functionality and Beauty

  • Shelving units to maximize vertical space
  • Planters and pots that fit neatly inside
  • Watering systems, from simple cans to drip irrigation
  • Grow lights for cloudy days or additional light
  • Thermometers and humidity gauges to monitor the environment

Accessorizing is not just about looks; it’s about making your greenhouse work for you. Add shelves to keep plants organized, and don’t forget hooks for tools and gardening gloves. Consider installing a watering system to make maintenance easier. These little touches will turn your greenhouse into a well-oiled machine for growing.

After you’ve decked out the interior, wrap your greenhouse in the chosen cover. Secure it tightly to protect against the elements. Finally, attach the wheels. Make sure they’re sturdy and can handle the weight of your greenhouse, plus the plants and soil inside.

The Perks of Portability

The wheels are what set this greenhouse apart. They offer a flexibility that traditional greenhouses can’t match. You can chase the sun or move your plants to a sheltered spot when a storm is brewing. This portability also means you can follow the light as the seasons change, ensuring your plants always get the best of what the sun has to offer.

Easily Adapting to Seasons and Weather

One of the greatest challenges in gardening is the unpredictability of weather. But with a greenhouse-on-wheels, you can quickly adapt. In the winter, position your greenhouse to capture every bit of warmth and light. In the summer, roll it to a spot with partial shade to prevent overheating. Your plants will thank you for it.

Here are some seasonal adjustments you can make for your greenhouse:

  • Spring: Prepare to plant new seedlings and gradually increase ventilation.
  • Summer: Monitor for overheating and provide adequate shading and water.
  • Autumn: Begin to reduce watering and prepare plants for cooler temperatures.
  • Winter: Ensure adequate insulation and heating, if necessary, to protect plants from cold.

Making the Most of Limited Space

Small space doesn’t mean limited potential. A mobile greenhouse allows you to utilize every inch of your backyard or balcony. It’s all about strategic placement. Use the mobility to rotate crops, experiment with different plants, and even wheel them out of the way when you need extra space for entertaining.

  • Rotate your greenhouse to give all sides equal sunlight exposure.
  • Use mobility to create microclimates for different plants.
  • Wheel it out of sight when you need more room for other activities.

This versatility is particularly useful for urban gardeners who often have to make the most of small balconies or shared spaces.

Green Thumbs on the Move

Even the best gardens need a little TLC, and your greenhouse-on-wheels is no exception. Regular maintenance ensures your plants stay healthy and your greenhouse remains a focal point in your garden.

Keep an eye on the structure, checking for any loose parts or damage to the covering. Clean the plastic or glass regularly to allow maximum light penetration. Always monitor the soil moisture; too much water can lead to mold and mildew, especially in a humid greenhouse environment.

Maintenance Tips for Your Mobile Oasis

Here are some tips to keep your rolling garden in top shape:

  • Inspect the wheels regularly to ensure they’re turning smoothly.
  • Keep the tracks clear of debris to avoid derailing your greenhouse.
  • Prune your plants to prevent overcrowding and ensure good air circulation.
  • Wipe down surfaces to discourage pests and diseases.

With these tips, your greenhouse-on-wheels will be a lush, productive space for future seasons.

Transporting Your Greenhouse Without Hassle

When it comes time to move your greenhouse, there’s a right way to do it. First, ensure all doors and windows are securely closed to prevent them from swinging open. Next, check that the path is clear of obstacles that could snag or topple your greenhouse. Then, gently push or pull it to its new location. If the ground is uneven, go slow to avoid jostling the plants too much. With a bit of care, your greenhouse will glide to its new spot with ease.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Can the greenhouse-on-wheels be used year-round?

Absolutely! A well-constructed greenhouse-on-wheels can provide a cozy home for your plants all year. In colder months, you may need to add insulation or a heat source to keep your green friends warm. But remember, the beauty of the greenhouse-on-wheels is its mobility, so take advantage of the sunniest spots during winter to give your plants that extra warmth.

Q2: What is the ideal size for a portable greenhouse in a small backyard?

The perfect size depends on your space and needs. A good rule of thumb is to go as large as your area allows without it becoming an obstruction. For tiny backyards or balconies, a greenhouse around 6 feet long by 3 feet wide can offer ample growing space without overwhelming the area.

Consider how you’ll use the space inside. Will you need room for shelves? Are you planning on growing tall plants? Answering these questions will help you determine the ideal size for your rolling greenhouse.

Q3: How do you secure your greenhouse in windy conditions?

Wind can be a challenge, but there are ways to keep your greenhouse grounded:

  • Use heavy-duty wheels with locks to keep the greenhouse in place.
  • Anchor the greenhouse with stakes or weights when it’s in its desired location.
  • Ensure the cover is tightly secured to the frame to prevent it from catching the wind.

These precautions will help your greenhouse stand strong, even when the weather gets blustery.

Q4: Are there any plants that thrive particularly well in a greenhouse-on-wheels?

Yes, indeed. Plants that love a stable and warm environment, like herbs, leafy greens, and certain flowers, will flourish in your mobile greenhouse. These include basil, spinach, lettuce, and marigolds. The controlled environment also allows for year-round gardening, so you can enjoy fresh produce even when it’s snowing outside.

Q5: What is the best way to maximize sun exposure for a portable greenhouse?

To get the most sun, position your greenhouse so that the longest side faces south (in the Northern Hemisphere) or north (in the Southern Hemisphere). This orientation ensures that your plants get consistent sunlight throughout the day. Also, take advantage of the wheels! Move your greenhouse as the sun’s position changes with the seasons to always catch those rays.

In conclusion, building a DIY greenhouse-on-wheels is a rewarding project that brings flexibility and joy to gardening in small spaces. With the right tools, materials, and a bit of creativity, you can create a thriving garden that moves with you. Remember to keep it well-maintained, adapt to the seasons, and most importantly, enjoy the process of growing your plants in a space that’s uniquely yours.

grant yost greenhouse innovator

Grant Yost

Grant Yost is co-owner of Beulah Land Farms, a small business that is part of and trying to push forward the local food movement. Although I grew up on a farm in the middle of Kansas, we took the wheat and other grain to the elevator, and then went to the grocery store to buy all our food. Maybe it's a generational thing, but we should be growing our own food as much as possible! My wife was diagnosed with Graves disease, which is an auto-immune disease affecting the thyroid, and while it wasn't debilitating (we are grateful for that) we have to wonder if it had to do with processed food and our mass-produced food supply. Auto-immune epidemic anyone? Also, maybe a generational thing... we live in the city in Kansas City, but our kids want to move to the farm!

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