Lean-to Greenhouse:

Having a lean-to greenhouse on the side of the house, fence, shed or garage, will take up less space than a free-standing greenhouse, this is an advantage.

However, lean greenhouse models are frequently less desirable because there are limitations to where they can be located. They must go against an existing wall and there is usually more space in a yard, or open area.

Sometimes they are shadowed by their supporting building so they are best on a south facing wall. A greenhouse on a south-facing wall will cost far less to heat acting better as a Solar Greenhouse in cold months than any free-standing greenhouse, because the greatest amount of sunlight is collected from the south facing wall of the greenhouse.

There are however many benefits.

Lean-to Plans and Project Pics:

Aluminum Lean Greenhouse Project - Pictures of a self made lean-to greenhouse project.

Aluminum Lean to Greenhouse Project -Aluminum Greenhouse construction, of a lean to greenhouse. Also shows shade cloth in use, over a pre-fab aluminum lean-to kit. The flooring makes for great heat sinking and solar energy heating.

Strawbale and Salvaged Material Project - A Straw Bale greenhouse. This is a very resourceful build and they did it for under $200, made with salvaged materials.

Visit our Greenhouse Plans page for Free DIY Greenhouse plans.

Lean-to Video:

This video shows the set up overall – its up against a wall and it’s a lean to – but that’s about it. There is a really good video example on the Solar Greenhouse page.

This video is more of a raised bed cold frame style. If Raised bed greenhouses interest you there is another interesting video on the Greenhouse Videos Index page, showing how to make a raised bedhoop house. Great if you have some extra space in your yard.

Greenhouse Gardening Video Index

Makes for Easy Access:

The lean-to greenhouse allows you direct access from the attached building or your home.

If the plan is to have it attached to your house, another benefit is that much of the solar heat that is trapped in the greenhouse can even be used to partially heat a home.

Or even use the heat in your home to heat the greenhouse through an window or vent.


There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a location for a lean greenhouse. Whatever building it is attached to may shadow the greenhouse in some parts of the day, limiting the sun exposure.

This is definitely something to consider when choosing the supporting wall where the greenhouse will be built. If the lean greenhouse doesn’t get enough sun exposure, artificial sunlight provided by grow lights may be necessary.

If artificial lighting is needed it is somewhat of an advantage to be attached to a wall, because electrical hookup for the lights may be more readily available, as well as water and any other utility hook-ups that may be needed.

Solar Greenhouse:

The lean-to greenhouse is also a good choice for the hobbyist that is relying on Solar Greenhouse gardening to keep the plants and vegetables heated and healthy. The Solar Greenhouse page also has a great video.

The wall, that the lean greenhouse is attached to, acts as Thermal Mass for the solar heat – basically acting like a sponge for the heat – when the temperature cools in the evening, the warmth from the days sun then radiates back into the greenhouse keeping it fairly warm.

Greenhouse Ventilation:

Being attached to a permanent structure, air circulation may be limited – limiting the amount of natural ventilation and air circulation.

Restricted Space:

The lean-to greenhouse is perfect for the enthusiast that is restricted in space.

Having a greenhouse on the side of the house or fence will take less space than a free-standing greenhouse, although the greenhouse is essentially cut in half, there will also be less space to work in.

Lean-to Greenhouse Pros and Cons:

  • Easy access to Utilities (e.g.Water and Electrical hook up)
  • Greater insulation and solar heating. (Wall insulates and acts as a Thermal mass).

  • Limited Space
  • Limited Light
  • Limited Ventilation and Temperature Control

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