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Advice & Blog

Which Greenhouse?

Which greenhouse to choose, especially if it's your first greenhouse can be daunting it's true. Let's have a look at some basic considerations and some different models of glass greenhouses for sale here at Greenhouse Stores to help you make a choice.

Which Glazing is best, Glass or Polycarbonate?

This one of the most often asked questions our customers ask when buying a greenhouse. Given a choice we would always go for toughened safety glass because it is far stronger than standard greenhouse glass (horticultural glass) meaning less breakages.

Horticultural Glass

Standard greenhouse glass or 3mm horticultural glass as it’s known is the cheapest greenhouse glazing and is in 2 pieces per panel. The individual panes measure 2ft x 2ft, overlap mid way on each section of the greenhouse and are then held together with "S" clips. The disadvantages of Horticultural or Standard greenhouse glass are that when it breaks it does so into large dangerous shards and it is also rather difficult to clean as algae and dirt can gather in the joins where 2 panes meet.

Toughened Safety Glass

Toughened safety glass in 3mm and 4mm thickness, if impacted hard will only shatter into hundreds of tiny pieces like a car windscreen that are relatively harmless, whereas standard greenhouse glass will break into long shards. Toughened glass is also supplied in long panes which run from floor to eaves giving a smooth easily cleaned surface.

Toughened glass is also heavier than standard horticultural glass and polycarbonate which gives excellent wind resistance, the wind won’t be shifting it, that’s for sure!

Toughened glass is made by passing normal cut glass through a high temperature furnace that heats up the outside of the glass very quickly, creating tension on it’s surface that hardens the glass. This glass will take an impact from the kid’s football without a problem, but not a golf or cricket ball.

Polycarbonate Glazing

Polycarbonate greenhouse glazing comes in 2 different varieties. First we have the most widely used type which is 4mm Twin Wall Polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is used in bulletproof applications, airplane cockpits and luggage where impact resistance is paramount.

4mm Twin Wall Polycarbonate is basically double glazed polycarbonate sheet of the kind you’ll find on the roofs of conservatories.

The advantages of this polycarbonate are that it tends to retain heat within the greenhouse better than glass due to the double glazed nature of the panels. The biggest advantage of polycarbonate though is that it is very safe, especially important in a family garden where there are kids and pets racing around and balls being booted around. Polycarbonate will not shatter like glass and therefore will not injure children or pets if impacted. Twin wall polycarbonate has a slightly opaque or frosty appearance meaning you can’t see completely through it and this means that your plants inside are safe from sun scorching in hot weather.

The next kind of polycarbonate is the crystal clear variety found only on Palram Greenhouses. This clear as glass polycarbonate benefits from better light transmission like a glass greenhouse but offers all of the safety advantages of polycarbonate, it’s virtually unbreakable. Many gardeners prefer the look of clear polycarbonate as you can see all of your lovely plants inside clearly.

The only downside to some polycarbonate greenhouses is that because polycarbonate is so light it can be blown out by high winds. This is especially the case with cheap polycarbonate greenhouses that use glazing clips to hold the polycarbonate in place.

Our Grow King and Palram greenhouses use a better glazing system where the glazing sits sandwiched within the aluminium frame holding them nice and firm in windy conditions.

Choosing a Greenhouse

Small Greenhouses for smaller gardens

Most of us gardeners have limited space and with gardens seemingly getting smaller and smaller, small greenhouses are very popular. The most popular size for greenhouses is 6ft wide. We have a great range of 6ft wide greenhouses to choose from in aluminium and wood with different glazing types and colours.

Our Vitavia Venus and Orion greenhouses are 6ft wide with the smallest sizes being 6x4 which are ideal for fitting into a small space in your garden or on the allotment. Venus greenhouses are available with horticultural glass, toughened glass or polycarbonate glazing.

If you’re in the market for a polycarbonate greenhouse and want to save a few quid have a look at our Grow King 8x6 greenhouse. This is a superb greenhouse that’s built to last. The Grow King has an anodized aluminium from to keep it looking shiny and new throughout it’s life, a galvanized steel base, 4mm Twin Wall Polycarbonate Glazing and best of all a unique glazing system. The polycarbonate panels slide into the frame and are held in place by the actual aluminium frame itself giving great wind resistance and no panels popping out in the wind. There is also extra bracing in the roof and corners for strength, a feature only generally found in greenhouses twice the price. Lastly the Grow King greenhouse has a 10 Year Warranty!

Still on the subject of 6ft wide polycarbonate greenhouses we also have Palram Greenhouses. These have the unique Crystal Clear Polycarbonate which is clear like glass yet virtually indestructible and shatter-proof, perfect for the family garden or allotment where safety and vandal proofing are important!

The Palram Harmony greenhouses are available in silver or green, with sizing starting at 6x4 then 6x6, 6x8 and the largest model the 6x10. The Harmony has an outward opening door with a locking door handle, a galvanized steel base and one roof vent. The glazing on the Harmony slides into the greenhouse frame without the need for clips giving this greenhouse a sturdy construction and great resistance to wind and flying footballs etc!

If you have considered a wooden greenhouse or even like the thought of owning one then have a look at our Swallow wooden greenhouses. These really are beautiful works of craftsmanship and made right here in the UK, in sunny Rotherham to be precise! These greenhouses are hand made from tantalised Redwood Pine with a 10 Year Guarantee. Standard features include an inward opening door with mortise lock, toughened full length toughened glass, automatic opening roof vents, slatted staging and best of all FREE GREENHOUSE INSTALLATION.

Swallow will deliver and erect your beautiful new 6ft Wide Kingfisher greenhouse at no extra cost as it’s all included in the price. Perfect really, just order then sit back and relax for 3 or 4 weeks until your new greenhouse arrives and is erected ready for you to use! You can also have your greenhouse factory painted in a number of attractive colours.

Large Greenhouses for bigger spaces

If you’ve a bit more space or even just want to grow a lot more plants and vegetables then an 8ft wide greenhouse is a very sensible choice. You get a lot more working space inside as well as more room for your plants. We sell 8ft wide greenhouses with single and double doors. Double doors are particularly useful for getting in and out of the greenhouse with wide trays, wheelbarrows and especially useful for wheelchair gardeners. This size of greenhouse is great for schools and education as you can fit quite a few little students into an 8ft wide greenhouse and it’s a lovely warm environment to learn about where food comes from, fantastic!

8ft Wide Greenhouses

Our Vitavia selection of 8ft wide greenhouses has 4 models which we’ll run through here. First of all we have the Vitavia Neptune greenhouse with a single door starting at 8ft x 8ft going up in 2ft increments to 8ft x 14ft in silver or green. The Neptune has 2 roof vents, integral gutters and sliding door with lever latch.

Next we have the superb 8ft wide Vitavia Jupiter with double doors and higher eaves and roof ridge than the Neptune making it ideal for serious growers and especially well suited to schools as it has so much usable space. The Jupiter has 2 or 4 roof vents depending on the size as well as extra bracing in the corners and roof of the greenhouse for extra strength.

Next we have the oh so pretty 8ft wide Vitavia Saturn with it’s lovely curved eaves. If ever a greenhouse was a bit different then this is it. The Saturns eaves gently curve joining the roof to the sides seamlessly. The curved part is actually made from tough u/v protected acrylic which ends where the gutters start. Yes gutters! You may not know but there are other greenhouses available out there with curved eaves but none of them have gutters apart from the Saturn! The gutters help you collect rainwater for your water butts but also keep muck and grime from ending up down the side of your greenhouse. The Saturn has double doors and between 1 and 4 roof vents depending on the size you order.

Last but not least we have the NEW FOR 2013 Vitavia Zeus 8ft wide greenhouse. This is described by the manufacturer as a semi-professional greenhouse and it’s easy to see why. Sizes start at 8x10 and go all the way up to 8x20 in this greenhouse that features an outward opening stable door, high 1.89m eaves and a low threshold height entry. The greenhouse has float glass sides and the roof and apex sections are made from 10mm twin wall polycarbonate for shading, safety and heat retention. Have a look at these superb greenhouses here on Greenhouse Stores.

If you fancy a large wooden greenhouse then look no further than the 8ft wide Swallow Raven Greenhouse. The Raven has inward opening double doors with mortise lock, slatted staging, automatic opening roof vents and toughened as standard. All Swallow greenhouses include a 10 Year Guarantee and Installation in your garden!


If you want something bigger still then the 13ft wide Swallow Falcon Greenhouse might be just the thing. Lovingly crafted from tanalized Redwood Pine, the Falcon has slatted staging on either side, double doors, automatic roof vents and toughened glass as standard. This spacious greenhouse is available in sizes from 13ft x 12ft all the way to the huge 13ft x 37ft. Don’t forget that every Swallow wooden greenhouse is installed in your garden for free.

Something a bit different?

Do you want something a bit different? A greenhouse that is functional but just as much a feature of your garden to catch the eye. Something attractive that will make the neighbours jealous!

Orangery Style Greenhouses

Orangery style greenhouses are as much about having a pleasant warm environment for relaxing in as they are a space in which to grow your plants and vegetables. They are generally a T-shaped structure with an entrance porch leading into the greenhouse itself. Orangeries offer a spacious and interesting place to enjoy working in your greenhouse whilst looking beautiful.

Vitavia Sirius Orangery Greenhouse

The Vitavia Sirius Orangery is a 12ft x 12ft greenhouse made from high quality aluminium available in anodized silver, green and now black. The greenhouse has double sliding doors, 4 roof vents and a galvanized steel base as well as Vitavia’s 10 year warranty.

Swallow Wooden T-Shaped Orangery Greenhouses

These wonderfully designed and crafted T-Shaped orangeries from Swallow are the stuff that gardeners dreams are made of! In fact the Swallow Cygnet model, the smallest in the T-Shaped range won the 2011 "Best of British" and "Best Product" Awards at the Birmingham GLEE exhibition.

The Swallow Orangeries feature toughened glass, tanalised Redwood Pine timber, automatic roof vents, guttering and slatted staging.

If you’re not sure Which Greenhouse you want after reading all this why not give us a call on 0800 098 8877 or have a look at our "Which Lean to Greenhouse" guide HERE